Chiefs GM prioritizing re-signing Chris Jones, L’Jarius Sneed – ESPN

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  • Adam Teicher, ESPN Staff WriterFeb 8, 2024, 03:29 PM ETClose
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HENDERSON, Nev. — Kansas City Chiefs general manager Brett Veach said he is aware of the challenge the organization faces in re-signing both defensive tackle Chris Jones and cornerback L’Jarius Sneed but said it would be an offseason priority to get both players under new contracts.

“Sometimes I look at our situation and I’m like, ‘I don’t know how we’re going to do this,’ but we usually work through things systematically and have a list of the priorities,” Veach said as the Chiefs continued preparations for Super Bowl LVIII against the San Francisco 49ers. “Certainly, Chris and LJ are at the top of the list.

“It’s extremely hard because you have two keystone players there.”

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Jones, 29, has been one of the NFL’s top pass-rushers for years. He had 10.5 sacks this season to tie for the team lead after missing training camp and the first regular-season game while holding out for a new contract.

He didn’t get the extension he was looking for, but the Chiefs sweetened the final season of his existing contract.

“It was important for us to mend the fences with Chris because we love him and he’s an iconic player here, not just here, but I mean of all time,” Veach said. “That was important for us, and we’ll continue to work hard and see if we can get something done, but it will be a priority for us.”

The Chiefs used Sneed, 27, this season to defend against the opponent’s top receiver much of the time, and none had big games against him.

Jones and Sneed are key players for an improved Chiefs defense that allowed fewer points than all but one other team during the regular season and held the Miami Dolphins, Buffalo Bills and Baltimore Ravens to 41 total points in the playoffs.

The Chiefs had defenses that were at times competitive since Patrick Mahomes became their starting quarterback in 2018, but rarely were they consistently so. Veach and the Chiefs found the task of building a top defense difficult because the past few seasons they were carrying Mahomes’ massive contract.

“I still remember in ’17 and ’18 just saying if we can just get them to punt just once we’ve got a shot,” Veach said. “Now all of a sudden it’s like all we’ve got to do is just score once and we’re good.

“Going from where we were in ’17 and ’18 to having one of the best defenses, knowing the constraints we had of just paying [Mahomes] and probably drafting later [in rounds], I don’t think I ever envisioned having a top one or two defense.”

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