Giants considered pursuing Chiefs’ elite $31.75M DT in free agency

NFL: Super Bowl LVIII-San Francisco 49ers at Kansas City Chiefs
Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

If money grew on trees, the New York Giants would have likely picked every dollar from the greenery around them in order to make a play for a Super Bowl-winning defensive tackle they felt could have revolutionized their team this offseason.

Emmy Award-winning sports producer for KSHB41, Nick Jacobs shared this clip from Hard Knocks on X, which shows Giants general manager Joe Schoen and his team contemplating the ramifications, both good and bad, for pursuing Kansas City Chiefs standout DT Chris Jones (h/t Gridiron Heroics’ Glenn Kaplan):

“You know, future Hall-of-Fame player. Still a game-wrecking talent. Makes football look easy at times. When he’s dialed in playing within the scheme, and he’s unlockable, it’s hard not to imagine the good things that would come with him and Dex[ter Lawrence] together in the middle. They’re the two best defensive tackles in football,” Giants personnel said before dealing with the harsh reality of the team’s financials.

“Financially it’s impossible where we’re at. You know, we’re looking at a $35 million cap hit next year.”

Giants: DT Chris Jones would have been a dream addition

Chris Jones, Giants, Chiefs
Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

Jones was outstanding in 2023. He put up 10.5 sacks and four defended passes as he spearheaded the Chiefs’ defense to a third Super Bowl win in the seven-year Patrick Mahomes era that has directly overlapped with his eight-year tenure in Kansas City. The Mississippi native earned an 84.1 player grade from Pro Football Focus for his work on the previous campaign.

Of a truth, he and Lawrence would’ve been a dynamic duo on the Giants front line that could have taken New York’s pass rush to heights it hasn’t seen in years. The cost for the Giants to be the boss would have broken their bank, though.

Jones’ price tag would have cratered the Giants into a major salary cap hole

Nov 1, 2021; Kansas City, Missouri, USA; Kansas City Chiefs defensive end Chris Jones (95) celebrates with fans in the stands after defeating the New York Giants at GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

Jones wound up signing a five-year, $158.75 million deal to return to the Chiefs with $101 million guaranteed, as Ian Rapoport reported back when the deal was signed in March, per’s Grant Gordon. Prior to, the 30-year-old was on a four-year, $80 million deal from 2020-23. Even on his previous $20 million annual salary, which was almost $12 million less than what he is getting now, he would have been the Giants’ second-highest-paid player heading into next year. That current figure would have trumped Daniel Jones’s $35.5 million earnings for the upcoming campaign.

While the Giants’ coaching and front office heads may have wanted Chris Jones last winter, they were able to fortify their linebacker unit with the addition of Brian Burns, whose eight sacks in 2023 did not fall short of the Chiefs superstar’s output. Nevertheless, the Giants will roll into 2024 with an upgraded defensive unit. Lawrence will do the heavy lifting at tackle, but the Giants have ample weapons that will help their defensive front play up to standard next season.

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