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Chiefs use non-exclusive franchise tag on DT Chris Jones

DE Chris Jones aims to take leadership role for Chiefs' defense
Posted at 11:29 AM, Mar 16, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-16 12:29:39-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — As expected, the Kansas City Chiefs placed the franchise tag on defensive tackle Chris Jones.

The announcement was made on the team’s Twitter account.

The Chiefs elected to use the non-exclusive franchise tag, which will guarantee Jones a salary of $16.126 million for next season if he plays under the tag.

Jones, who would have become a free agent had Kansas City not used its tag, and his representatives are free to negotiate with other NFL teams. He also may continue to work on a long-term deal with the Chiefs, if the two sides desire.

However, if a team reaches a deal with Jones, the Chiefs have the right to match the offer or receive two future first-round draft picks from the team that signs him.

Jones, 25, was a second-round pick, No. 37 overall, in 2016 out of Mississippi State. The Houston native has led the Chiefs in sacks each of the last two seasons.

After totaling 8.5 sacks in his first two seasons, Jones enjoyed a breakout season in 2018 with 15.5 sacks, which ranked third in the NFL that season and is tied for third-most in a single season in Chiefs history.

Despite missing three games last season, Jones finished with nine sacks in 2019, playing a key role as the Chiefs ended a 50-year Super Bowl championship drought.

The Chiefs also announced Monday that running back Damien Williams and linebacker Damien Wilson will return in 2020 after the club exercised contract options.

Williams, 27, will count more than $2.8 million against the Chiefs' salary cap in 2020.

Despite missing five games with a bruised knee and later a rib injury, Williams led Kansas City in rushing last season with 498 yards and five touchdowns.

Williams also caught 30 passes for 213 yards and two touchdowns before emerging as a force in the playoffs.

He set the tone with some powerful runs in Super Bowl LIV against the San Francisco 49ers, finishing with 104 yards rushing, 29 yards receiving and two critical fourth-quarter touchdowns.

Williams totaled six postseason touchdowns in wins against Houston, Tennessee and San Francisco.

Wilson, 27, will count $5.375 million against the Chiefs' salary cap next season, including a $3.2 million base salary.

A 2015 fourth-round pick from the University of Minnesota, Wilson finished second on the Chiefs with 81 tackles last season