The Kansas City Chiefs hoisted the Lombardi Trophy fewer than three weeks ago. In the fast-paced NFL world, there isn’t much time to savor the moment.
General manager Brett Veach and his staff are already pivoting to the future, attempting to win back-to-back titles — something no club has done since New England in 2004-2005.
To continue upgrading the roster and keep key players like left tackle Orlando Brown in town, Veach will need to address the contracts of defensive linemen Chris Jones and Frank Clark. Both have one year left on their deals, but with cap-hits north of $28 million and no guaranteed dollars left, they’re candidates to have their contracts re-done to remain in K.C.
“The good thing for us is that we have these strong connections with these players that have played here a long time,” Veach said earlier this week at the 2023 NFL Scouting Combine, via Nate Taylor of The Athletic. “They love being here. That’s a good starting point for us. The bonds that we have with these players, and the fact that we have a long track record with them, helps us buy more time.”
Last year, Clark took a pay cut to remain in K.C. after a down season. He responded with a better 2022 en route to the Super Bowl victory. Clark is a potential candidate for an extension that could lower his cap hit in 2023 — the other option would be cutting the pass rusher to save $21 million on the cap.
“We’ll probably, to a certain extent, need some cap space, but we have a long history with (Clark) and his agent (Erik Burkhardt), too,” Veach said. “He’ll be one of the many conversations we have this week and look forward to getting with him and seeing if we can work something out that makes sense for both parties.”
An extension for Jones, one of the NFL’s most dominant defensive linemen, could also be in the cards for K.C.
“We’ll certainly have conversations with Chris and his agents (Jason Katz and Michael Katz),” Veach said. “Doing something with Chris would make sense for us, and I think Chris will want to stay here and retire a Chief.”
Needing to get under the cap before March 15, and have room for Brown’s potential franchise tag (tag deadline is March 7), if the Chiefs are going to extend the contracts of Jones and Clark, it could happen in the coming weeks. But as Veach noted, things can change quickly, as they did with Tyreek Hill last offseason before a blockbuster trade went down.
“I left here last year thinking we were going to get Tyreek’s (deal) redone,” Veach said. “Things change quickly. The market usually dictates these things.”