Kansas City Chiefs defensive tackle Chris Jones continued his holdout Sunday, making it all but certain that he will miss Thursday night’s season opener against the Detroit Lions.
Coach Andy Reid didn’t confirm Sunday that Jones would be out for sure during his scheduled news conference, but he reiterated a recent message that the team was moving forward without him.
“I can’t tell you (if he absolutely won’t play Thursday). I don’t know. I don’t know what his agenda is or when he’s coming or not coming,” Reid said. “But we’re rolling right now. I haven’t put much thought into that part.”
Jones continues to remain away while looking to secure a long-term contract. He’s currently in the final year of an extension with the Chiefs set to pay him a $19.5 million base salary.
Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes, who said two weeks ago that he didn’t necessarily believe Jones’ holdout would result in the defensive tackle missing regular-season games, was asked about Jones’ situation on Sunday.
“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 and stuff handle that,” Mahomes said. “But we’ve got a tough test with the Detroit Lions, and we’re gonna try to focus on how we can win with the guys that are here.”
Jones has accrued roughly $2 million in fines by sitting out both mandatory minicamp and training camp. He also risks forfeiting about $1.1 million for each regular-season game he misses.
Reid, who declined to talk about any recent interactions he’d had with Jones, said the important part was that general manager Brett Veach and Jones’ agents remained in contact.
The coach said he didn’t know earlier in the offseason if the matter might potentially drag on to this point.
“You deal with too many people on this type of thing. So these things can go either direction,” Reid said. “I don’t spend a lot of time on it. I had 90 guys in the offseason. We need to make sure we’re going in the right direction. And then now we’re getting ready to play a game. So you’re either here or not here. That’s how I go about it.”
Mahomes spoke openly in May about not being overly concerned with having the NFL’s top quarterback salary. He said then he was more worried about “legacy and winning rings” than making money, while also saying he wanted to be sure to leave some funds available so great teammates could surround him.
On Sunday, Mahomes was asked whether he expected other teammates to potentially take less money to stay a part of the Chiefs organization in an attempt to win more Super Bowl titles.
“I know how special it is here. And I know how special of a thing we got going,” Mahomes said. “I stay out of contract stuff. But I know I’ve been lucky to be in this place, and I want to go out there and win as many championships as I can.”
Jones isn’t the only expected absence on the Chiefs’ defensive line. KC will also be without defensive end Charles Omenihu, who was suspended six games for violating the NFL’s personal conduct policy.
Reid said he wasn’t concerned with how his players would navigate distractions with Jones being gone.
“The guys know — they know how the business side works,” Reid said. “And the guys that have a chance to play are excited to do that.”