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Chris Jones in contract extension talks with Kansas City

Chris Jones

The Kansas City Chiefs’ defense will almost be unrecognizable to longtime fans next season. Franchise icon Eric Berry, stalwart outside linebacker Justin Houston, and star pass-rusher Dee Ford will all play elsewhere in 2019 as the team revamps a unit under new defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo that ranked second-to-last in yards allowed last season.

One incumbent impact defender almost sure to remain in Kansas City for the foreseeable future, though? Rising star defensive tackle Chris Jones, who general manager Brett Veach says is currently in the midst of extension negotiations with the Chiefs.

“There’s a lot of time to go before the season starts, and he’s certainly a guy that we’ve targeted and would love to get done,” Veach told Brooke Pryor of The Kansas City Star. “The conversations have started.

“I wouldn’t say they are heating up at a rapid pace, but you’ve got to start somewhere. We’ve had two to three of these conversations and they’re getting better.”

A second-round pick in 2016, Jones has been a fixture along Kansas City’s defensive front since his rookie season, but only began consistently living up to his rare physical gifts on a game-by-game basis in 2018. He had a career-high 15 and-a-half sacks last season, third in the league overall and second among interior lineman behind Defensive Player of the Year Aaron Donald.

At 24, Jones is still years away from his prime, making him poised to become one of the highest-paid defensive players in all of football. He’ll be a free agent next offseason should the Chiefs fail to sign him to an extension.