After Patrick Mahomes’ deal, could Chiefs trade Chris Jones to Seahawks?
The sports world received quite a shock on Monday with the news that Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes signed a 10-year contract extension that could make him the highest-paid athlete in North American sports history if he reaches all the incentives and stays healthy. Could that move in a way actually benefit the Seahawks?
Mahomes’ new contract in itself doesn’t directly impact Seattle, but it could as it makes it less likely that Kansas City re-signs star defensive tackle Chris Jones, who is seeking a long-term deal.
Jones, 26, received the franchise tag earlier this offseason and has been an emerging force for the Chiefs since entering the league in 2016. In 2018, Jones recorded 15.5 sacks and 19 tackles for loss playing mostly defensive end in a 3-4 defensive scheme. Last season, with more help on the defensive line and with the move to a 4-3 defense, Jones had 9 sacks and 8 tackles for loss. In the Super Bowl, Jones’ skills were on full display as he deflected three passes at the line of scrimmage.
While the Seahawks and plenty of other teams would love to add a player of Jones’ caliber, would acquiring him be realistic? Stacy Rost of 710 ESPN Seattle’s Tom, Jake and Stacy broke it down Monday afternoon.
“One thing we have to stress is Jones has been franchise tagged, so he couldn’t just become a free agent unless the Chiefs were absolutely insane and released him or something,” she said. “… So the Seahawks or any other team would first have to trade to acquire him.”
Jones’ age and skill would make him a tough player to acquire. After the Los Angeles Rams’ Aaron Donald, you could make a case that Jones is the best defensive tackle in the NFL. While interior defensive linemen almost always aren’t as valuable as defensive ends, ones who can stuff the run and rush the passer at Jones’ level are rare.
If a trade of Jones to the Seahawks or another team were to happen, there’s a strong chance it could be very soon.
“Usually, the deadline to sign a contract extension when you’ve been franchise tagged falls in mid-July (July 15 this year) … so you’re going to be hearing increased talks about the two sides and their negotiations,” Rost said. “I’d have to think after (Mahomes’) deal, Jones’ chances of getting a big deal probably fall.”
According to OverTheCap, the Chiefs have just over $6 million in cap space for 2020. Mahomes’ new deal doesn’t really kick in until the 2022 season, and after that, he’ll be making north of $40 million for a decade. Jones is set to be making just over $16 million in 2020 with his franchise tag, so any deal that he’s looking for figures to be making more than that number annually.
With the Chiefs tied to Mahomes for 12 more years at such high cap numbers and other players like tight end Travis Kelce and defensive end Frank Clark earning top dollar, there’s less room to give Jones what he wants. That’s where another team like the Seahawks could swoop in. But even if the Seahawks have the draft picks and/or players to trade for him, Rost doesn’t think Seattle would be able to give Jones what he wants financially.
“Maybe he doesn’t sign (a new deal) and he’s playing for one year under that franchise tag and then he goes to another team (in free agency after 2020),” Rost said, “or maybe another team comes in and offers the Chiefs a deal they can’t refuse, brings in Jones, and then presumably signs him to a long-term contract extension. It’ll be a big number, and that’s the second part of this, and why I don’t think that team will be the Seahawks.”
Currently, the Seahawks sit at roughly $14 million in cap space, per OverTheCap. To trade for Jones and pay him just what he’s owed on the franchise tag, Seattle would have to cut at least one veteran player to clear up some cap space. The Seahawks have been quiet since the draft, and it seems like they may be done with moves this offseason.
“They barely have the cap space to try and make a move for (free-agent defensive end) Jadeveon Clowney,” Rost said. “I think Jones could command an even bigger contract and I don’t see the Seahawks being part of this. I’d be surprised – pleasantly surprised, but surprised.”
You can listen to the second hour of Monday’s Tom, Jake and Stacy at this link or in the player below.