Chris Jones may not play for the Kansas City Chiefs in 2020, which is really promising for the LA Chargers.
The LA Chargers have been dominated by the Kansas City Chiefs, owning a 1-11 record in the last 12 matchups between the two teams. There is no getting around it or no pretending like it has been a level playing field in recent years.
The Chiefs are the defending Super Bowl Champions and have just as good of a chance to repeat as champions in 2020. They have the best quarterback in football, who has legitimate all-time potential, in Patrick Mahomes along with a dangerous support cast.
It can feel like the Chargers are never going to return to being the team to beat in the AFC West. Mahomes is only entering his third season as a starter and they are just getting started. Just watch out until he gets to his prime.
However, ironically, Mahomes is going to be the reason why the Chiefs eventually level out. While they will always be a contending team as long as Mahomes is slinging the ball around, their run as this dominant force is not permanent. We are starting to see that unfold now.
LA Chargers: The Chris Jones situation is a preview of more to come for the Kansas City Chiefs
In case you haven’t heard, star Pro Bowl defensive tackle Chris Jones was franchise tagged by the Chiefs for the 2020 season. Jones has since come out and stated that he will not play under the franchise tag, quoting Le’Veon Bell as an example that he is willing to hold out.
Jones is looking for a contract extension and while I am sure the Chiefs want Jones to stick around, they simply cannot afford to sign him to a long-term contract for the salary that he is likely asking for.
First of all, we have no idea what the cap is going to look like next season. It was projected to have a significant spike until the COVID-19 pandemic, which is going to impact league revenue and likely won’t lead to as big of a spike.
Right now, the Chiefs already have $175 million on the books for the 2021 season.
The big problem lies in paying Patrick Mahomes, though. Mahomes is the best quarterback in the league and absolutely deserves a contract unlike any contract we have seen before. While you could definitely make the case that Mahomes could take a pay cut to keep his team competitive, the dollar sign never lies.
Luckily for the Chiefs, they have certain weapons such as Tyreek Hill and Mecole Hardman locked up long term, but there are a lot of question marks elsewhere. Damien Williams, Sammy Watkins, Austin Reiter and Laurent Duvernay-Tardif are all free agents after the 2020 season.
After the 2021 season, Travis Kelce, Eric Fisher, Mitchell Schwartz and Tyrann Mathieu are all free agents. Naturally, that is going to open up space to re-sign these guys, but with Mahomes’ projected massive contract it is not going to be as easy.
Four-fifths of the starting offensive line for the Chiefs last season is going to be a free agent in the next two years.
As previously stated, the Chiefs are still going to be in playoff contention with Patrick Mahomes. However, their total dominance over the division is not going to last forever and we are starting to see the cracks in that foundation with this Chris Jones situation.
This is great news for the LA Chargers. All they have to do is make sure they re-sign their key free agents after this season and hope Justin Herbert balls out during his rookie contract.