2024 Bears Free Agent Target: Chris Jones
Lucas Peltier - USA Today Sports

2024 Bears Free Agent Target: Chris Jones

by - Correspondent -

The salary cap creates a lot of problems for NFL teams, leading them to get rid of elite players and giving teams with cap space the opportunity to pick those players up. Given the Kansas City Chiefs’ salary cap situation going into 2024, it does not seem like defensive tackle Chris Jones is going to get an extended contract. Perhaps, then, the Bears will pursue him.

He is probably one of the best prospects in all of free agency having been named an All-Pro the last two seasons and going to the Pro Bowl the last five seasons; he has also been a second-team All-Pro three times. Jones has been in his prime the last two seasons, with 27 sacks over the last two years.

Another benefit for Jones is that he has not missed much time due to injury, which was a significant problem for the Bears’ defense near the beginning of the season.

For Chicago, they could use another star on the defensive line alongside edge rusher Montez Sweat. While there are certainly more expensive options out there, Jones clearly has the most talent among any available players. Furthermore, he is another veteran presence, which would help the younger players. But, perhaps most importantly, he has plentiful playoff experience and multiple Super Bowl appearances.

That kind of championship mentality is something that Chicago desperately needs in their locker room, as they do not have anyone currently on their roster that has won the Super Bowl.

As Jones proved at the beginning of the season by holding out and refusing to play in the season opener against the Detroit Lions, which potentially cost Kansas City the game, he cares greatly about the kind of money he is making. Any player in their prime is going to be expensive as it took a $19.5 million contract to get him to return for the rest of this season.

According to Spotrac, his market value is about $28.4 million a year. That is quite the hefty amount for Chicago to pay him and have against their salary cap going into 2024 as they have slightly less than $50 million in cap space; Jones would take over half of it. However, one thing that general manager Ryan Poles has consistently been able to do well during his time with Chicago is negotiate cap-friendly contracts without hurting the team in the long run.

His last contract was for four years. This seems like a reasonable time period for the contract. Therefore, it would be reasonable to anticipate that the Bears could negotiate a four year, $115 million contract for Jones. They could spread the cap hit out so that he had less of a cap hit this year and then a larger cap hit in 2025 where, particularly if Chicago moves on from Justin Fields, they will have a lot more room on the salary cap because their quarterback will be on a rookie deal.

It is about time for Chicago to return to the Monsters of the Midway they once were. Getting back there revolves around having a strong defense. The defense certainly showed signs of being formidable and being ball-hawks. However, they seemed like they were one elite talent away from being the defense that everyone in the league feared. Sure, they could take a shot on a rookie in the draft.

But, why take a shot on a rookie when you could acquire one of the best, if not the best, defensive linemen in the league right now? It may be expensive, but sometimes the high price is worth it.

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