5 Most Important Patriots Free Agent Targets in 2024

Dec 23, 2023; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA;  Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Tee Higgins (5) at
Dec 23, 2023; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA; Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Tee Higgins (5) at / Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
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2. Chris Jones, DT, Kansas City Chiefs

Chris Jones is in line for a huge payday as one of the league's premier defensive players. The 29-year-old is a two-time first-team All-Pro and three-time second-team All-Pro, in addition to earning five Pro Bowl nods. Last season, Jones finished third in Defensive Player of the Year voting. He also holds the NFL record for most consecutive games with a sack, taking down the quarterback in 11-straight games during the 2018 season.

CBS Sports has Jones ranked as the best free agent available, and estimates his contract will total a whopping $84.5 million over three seasons (at an average annual value of $28.1 million).

Jones held out of training camp this preseason in an effort to receive a contract extension past this season, but he and the Chiefs ultimately only agreed to a new one-year deal for this season at $19.5 million. With friction already persisting between the two sides, perhaps Jones already has one foot out of the door.

In 2023, Jones recorded 10.5 sacks with 30 tackles and 13 tackles for loss. In 113 career NFL games, the Mississippi State draft pick has 75.5 sacks and 273 tackles.

Jones is eligible to be franchise tagged, but it wouldn't be financially prudent on Kansas City's part. If they did franchise tag Jones, the Chiefs would have to pay him an exorbitant $32.2 million. Kansas City has already previously franchise tagged him, in 2020.

Defensive tackle isn't a dire need for New England after Christian Barmore's breakout season. Barmore led the Patriots with 8.5 sacks and added 13 tackles for loss in his age 24 season, but Jones is simply one of the best defensive players in all of football and those guys don't hit the market every day.