The headline-snaring contract numbers handed out by the Kansas City Chiefs are these: $503 million over 12 years for quarterback Patrick Mahomes and as much as $85 million over four years for defensive tackle Chris Jones.
But the more important numbers for the Chiefs are these: 24 and 26. Those are the ages for Mahomes and Jones, respectively, when they put ink to paper — meaning both will play the primes of their careers in Kansas City.
Jones and Mahomes are just the latest important, young players in whom the Chiefs have invested heavily. The Super Bowl champions have all of their core players now signed through at least 2021 while playing in the primes of their careers, setting up a possible dynasty run. Receiver Tyreek Hill is 26, defensive end Frank Clark 27, safety Tyrann Mathieu 28.
Throw in other good, young players such as receiver Mecole Hardman (22) and safety Juan Thornhill (25) and it’s reasonable to conclude the Chiefs will be on the top of their game not just again in 2020, but for years to come.
It’s why the Chiefs’ unofficial mantra this offseason has been “run it back.”
— Chris Jones (@StoneColdJones) July 14, 2020
Many of the Chiefs’ other top players also have at least one more seasons in Kansas City. Players such as receiver Sammy Watkins (27), running back Damien Williams (28) and cornerbacks Charvarius Ward (24) and Bashaud Breeland (28) are in the final years of their deals. But the Chiefs have already prepared for their possible departures. Hardman could eventually replace Watkins. First-round pick Clyde Edwards-Helaire could replace Williams. The Chiefs took two cornerbacks in the lower rounds of the 2020 NFL draft, but they believe they got bargains in L’Jarius Sneed and BoPete Keyes.
As for Jones, the Chiefs had to keep him off the free-agent market by naming him as their franchise player, iron out a deal with Mahomes and beat the Wednesday deadline before reaching a long-term deal. But they eventually felt comfortable making him their third player behind Clark and Mahomes to get a contract with at least $60 million guaranteed. The Chiefs are the only team with three such contracts.
They gave Jones one of those contracts because they allowed six more points per game without an injured Jones last season than when he was in the lineup. They did it because opposing quarterbacks had a 32 QBR against the Chiefs when Jones was in the game and a 59 QBR when he wasn’t. They did it because he led them in sacks in each of the past two seasons.
But they paid Jones as they did mostly because he’s only 26 and he should continue as one of the NFL’s best defensive players for the life of this deal.