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Chris Jones is skipping Kansas City’s OTAs

The Kansas City Chiefs will be almost unrecognizable on defense in 2019. That’s not a bad thing, either, after Andy Reid’s team finished last in a host of all-encompassing defensive statistics last season, and its defense was unable to get off the field in both the late fourth quarter and overtime of a heartbreaking loss to the New England Patriots in the AFC Championship Game.

There is one incumbent defender, though, who Kansas City is counting on to replicate if not build on his dominant performance last season – defensive tackle Chris Jones, who finished second in the NFL with 15 and-a-half sacks. But as offseason team activities begin, the rising fourth-year star is nowhere to be found, skipping the Chiefs’ first official on-field work as he hopes to garner a contract extension, per Terez Paylor Yahoo Sports.

As Paylor notes, this isn’t at all surprising. Jones has been absent for all of Kansas City’s voluntary workouts this offseason while he and his representation discuss an extension with team management.

In late March, general manager Brett Veach told the Kansas City Star’s Brooke Pryor that early negotiations were steadily moving in the right direction.

“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,” he said. “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.”

Just 24-years-old, Jones figures to be among the league’s highest-paid defenders for kickoff of this season should he and the Chiefs reach an agreement on a contract extension.