The 53-man roster deadline has come and gone, and as it stands now, Kansas City Chiefs star defensive lineman Chris Jones is not a part of that roster. Jones was placed on the Reserve/Did Not Report list Tuesday, which is another indication he's taking his holdout very seriously. And things have remained at a standstill with Jones not present for the team's Sunday practice leading into the regular season opener against Detroit on Thursday, according to NFL Media. The two sides remain apart on a deal, which puts his availability for Week 1 in doubt.
Jones' absence from Sunday's practice -- considered a Wednesday practice of a typical game week -- comes on the heels of Chiefs general manager Brett Veach remaining optimistic about having him for the Thursday opener. In speaking with reporters last week, Veach said he's "certainly hopeful" Jones' contract situation will be settled soon, and that he will be in the lineup when Kansas City hosts the Lions, via NFL Media. Veach noted that there has been more communication between the two sides over the last few days. While that was an encouraging development from Veach last week, Jones remaining away from the team doesn't exactly instill much faith that this will be resolved in time for him to play Week 1.
"I can't tell you (if he absolutely won't play Thursday)," head coach Andy Reid told reporters Sunday, via NFL.com. "I don't know. I don't know what his agenda is or when he's coming or not coming. But we're rolling right now. I haven't put much thought into that part."
The 29-year-old also posted a cryptic note on social media, saying that he is "more motivated than ever!"
I'm more motivated than ever!— Chris Jones (@StoneColdJones) September 3, 2023
"At this point, you kind of just prepare to play the game with the guys that are in the building and let the front office handle that," Patrick Mahomes said of Jones' situation on Sunday. "We've got a tough test with the Detroit Lions, and we're going to focus on how we can win with the guys that are here."
Jones has been holding out in hopes of landing a new contract. The All-Pro is entering the final year of his deal, and is due $20 million in cash in 2023, per Spotrac. The Athletic previously reported that Jones is looking for a new deal that will pay him $30 million annually. Veach admitted earlier this month that Jones is deserving of a pay raise.
According to ProFootballTalk, however, the gap between Kansas City's offer and what Jones is seeking is smaller than that. Per PFT, Kansas City has offered Jones a three-year, $74 million contract, of which $70 million would be guaranteed for injury, while Jones is seeking something more like three years and $84.5 million -- a figure that would split the difference between the contract signed by Aaron Donald and those signed by other star defensive tackles this offseason.
"He's a great player, and he wants a big contract," Veach said previously, via the Kansas City Star. "He deserves a big contract, and I don't think there's any surprises in that regard. But there's just some hurdles we have to work through in regards to how we can keep this thing going for the short and long term. But we've never wavered on, 'This is a guy that we want to exhaust all of our efforts to get done,' because that's how much we think of him."
Jones has recorded the fourth-most sacks in the NFL over the past five seasons (56.5). He is a four-time All-Pro and four-time Pro Bowler. Just 29, Jones is a vital part of the Chiefs defense and team as a whole.