Tue Jun 11 4:36pm ET
By DAVE SKRETTA
AP Sports Writer
Kansas City Chiefs defensive end Chris Jones (95) reacts during the first half of the AFC Championship NFL football game against the New England Patriots, Sunday, Jan. 20, 2019, in Kansas City, Mo. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) Defensive tackle Chris Jones chose to skip the beginning of the Kansas City Chiefs' mandatory three-day minicamp Tuesday, the latest step in the growing discord over his looming contract situation.
Jones is hoping to parlay the finest season of his career into a massive payday as he enters the final year of his rookie contract. But with negotiations seemingly going nowhere, the affable 24-year-old defensive tackle opted against participating in the Chiefs' voluntary workouts.
Now that they are mandatory, Jones is risking a fine for being absent this week.
Chiefs coach Andy Reid is only planning to speak with reporters on Thursday, when the minicamp wraps up. But his viewpoint is unlikely to have changed from a couple weeks ago, when he said: ''We just go. If you're here, you get better. If you're not, you don't.''
It's hard to imagine Jones being a whole lot better than last season.
He appeared in all 16 games and had career highs in just about every meaningful category: 40 total tackles, 29 quarterback hits, 19 tackles for loss and a whopping 15 1/2 sacks.
That last number was the most important for a team that desperately needed any pressure it could generate on the quarterback. The Chiefs had arguably the league's best offense, anchored by quarterback Patrick Mahomes, but they also had perhaps the league's worst defense.
It was that unit that failed so miserably in the playoffs, when the Chiefs were unable to stop Tom Brady and the New England Patriots in their overtime loss in the AFC championship game.
The Chiefs made major moves to address the defense this offseason, firing coordinator Bob Sutton and hiring Steve Spagnuolo as his replacement. They also jettisoned longtime stalwarts such as Eric Berry and Justin Houston, brought in big names Frank Clark and Tyrann Mathieu, and began the difficult task of changing from a 3-4 system to a 4-3 defensive set.
And while Jones' unique set of abilities should allow him to flourish no matter the system, there is still a learning curve that takes place, and participating in the offseason would be helpful.
''We don't really talk about it,'' said Chiefs cornerback Kendall Fuller, when asked about Jones' absence. ''We just focus on our position groups. We mow our own lawn.''
To be sure, the guys who showed up at minicamp Tuesday have enough to mow.
The Chiefs have a handful of newcomers on offense, including wide receiver Mecole Hardman, their top draft pick. They also are working around missing wide receiver Tyreek Hill, suspended from all team activities while the NFL investigates his domestic violence situation.
It is likely that Hill will miss at least part of the upcoming season.
But the bulk of the pressure facing the Chiefs is centered on the defense. Clark and Mathieu are among a dozen newcomers who will be counted on to shore up the sieve-like unit this season, and minicamp is the last chance to work together before training camp in late July.
''It's a long process,'' Spagnuolo said. ''What I look for right now is building a foundation. I've talked extensively with the guys about that. It's been all about building a foundation of fundamentals.
''That goes to communication and to believing in the system,'' he added. ''I've talked extensively about mastering the things that take very little talent. It doesn't take a lot of talent to communicate or to call out an under route or get aligned. Those little things we need to get taken care of, otherwise it creates holes and then we have problems. So I'm more focused on that.''
The rest of the guys? Forgive them for letting their focus wander just a bit, especially given how close the Chiefs came to returning to the Super Bowl for the first time in nearly five decades.
''We can be really good. If you're talking about No. 1 in the league across all of the boards, I feel like that's the potential we have,'' Clark said. ''This is a hard league, every game is hard. You think we are going to have the same things happen as last year? No, it's going to be a little different. You want more success than just runner-up, but you just have to work. It's a work atmosphere here. I'm just thankful to be a part of it.''
Updating a previous report, the Detroit Lions traded TE Michael Roberts to the New England Patriots in exchange for a conditional seventh-round pick in 2020.
Buffalo Bills WR Andre Roberts may see work in the passing game as the No. 5 receiver in addition to playing on special teams, according to Jay Skurski of The Buffalo News.
Buffalo Bills QB Matt Barkley has the 'safest' role on the roster as QB Josh Allen's backup, in the opinion of Jay Skurski of The Buffalo News.
New Orleans Saints WR Cameron Meredith (knee) said sitting out OTAs and minicamp is 'mostly a matter of being smart' in order to ensure a healthy training camp.
Green Bay Packers WR Geronimo Allison is 'likely slated as the slot man' in three-receiver sets, according to Rob Demovsky of ESPN.com.
Fantasy Spin: Allison had a productive start to last season before suffering an injury, and while Marquez Valdes-Scantling may have the inside track on the No. 2 receiver job, the Green Bay passing attack could support three viable fantasy options. Consider Allison a WR4 with upside.
Green Bay Packers WR Marquez Valdes-Scantling has been lining up across from WR Davante Adams in all packages during minicamp.
Fantasy Spin: It sounds like Valdes-Scantling has the inside track to the No. 2 receiver job. It remains to be seen if he will take the role and run with it, but the upside that comes with being one of Aaron Rodgers' top targets makes him a WR4 candidate.
New York Jets WR Robby Anderson (undisclosed) did not practice Thursday, June 13, because of an undisclosed injury.
Fantasy Spin: The nature of Anderson's injury remains unclear, but unless it lingers into training camp, fantasy owners shouldn't be too concerned. Anderson started to connect with Sam Darnold on some big plays late last season, and he's a WR3 candidate in 2019 as the top option in the passing attack.
Jacksonville Jaguars RB Leonard Fournette will be a big part of the passing game with QB Nick Foles in 2019, according to ESPN's Michael DiRocco.
Fantasy Spin: Fournette has just 48 career catches for 487 yards and two touchdowns over the first two seasons of his career. Foles most memorably hooked up with RB Corey Clement four times for 100 yards and a touchdown in Super Bowl LII. Fournette could be a huge steal if he continues to go in the third round of PPR drafts.
Indianapolis Colts RB Marlon Mack is being viewed by head coach Frank Reich as the team's workhorse in the backfield, according to Joel A. Erickson of the Indianapolis Star.
Fantasy Spin: Mack rushed for 908 yards and nine touchdowns last season while adding 103 yards and one touchdown as a receiver. Nyheim Hines should handle the majority of third-down duties in 2019, but Mack could still return plenty of value as a high-end RB2.
Buffalo Bills RB LeSean McCoy expects to maintain a large role in the offense in his age-31 season in 2019. 'I'm a type of guy, I thrive off of having a big name. So when guys come to my team, they're curious to see, 'How is LeSean McCoy? Is he still a good player?' I mean, I'm a dominant player. I think that speaks for itself. But I'll be in the same role as last year. And I look forward to putting some numbers up and bouncing back from that last season,' McCoy said Tuesday, June 12.
Fantasy Spin: McCoy totaled just 752 yards from scrimmage and three touchdowns last season. Both numbers were career worsts as he played in 14 games but made just 13 starts. He remains No. 1 on the Bills' depth chart, but he'll be competing against veteran RB Frank Gore and third-round rookie Devin Singletary. He's fallen into RB4 territory but could prove to be a steal at a mid-round price.
Detroit Lions CB Darius Slay hasn't committed to reporting to next month's training camp without a new contract. 'Will I be there?' Slay said in an episode of The Pride Podcast released Thursday, June 13. 'We'll see. Time will tell.' Slay is set to carry a cap hit of $12.55 million in 2019 on the second-to-last year of a four-year, $48-million deal signed in 2016.
Philadelphia Eagles TE Dallas Goedert has looked ready to make a second-year leap into stardom in 2019, according to Jeff McLane of the Philadelphia Inquirer.
Fantasy Spin: Goedert, who caught 33 passes for 334 yards and four touchdowns as a rookie after being chosen 49th overall in the 2018 NFL Draft, will remain behind Zach Ertz on the Eagles' depth chart as a sophomore. He could prove to be a viable TE2 in deeper leagues and would be an instant must-add should Ertz miss any time.
Seattle Seahawks WR David Moore has made a huge leap this offseason in his knowledge of the position and in his ability to play multiple spots, according to head coach Pete Carroll on Thursday, June 13.
Fantasy Spin: Moore caught just 26 of 53 targets last season but turned those into 445 yards and five touchdowns. He projects behind Tyler Lockett and rookie D.K. Metcalf on the depth chart, but he's worth a late-round pick as a WR5 as the Seahawks begin life without Doug Baldwin.
Detroit Lions RB Theo Riddick is not guaranteed to make the team out of training camp, in the opinion of the Detroit Free Press' Dave Birkett.
Detroit Lions RB Kerryon Johnson finished with 32 catches in 10 games as a rookie in 2018, and the Detroit Free Press' Dave Birkett could see him doubling that production in 2019 if the team decides they don't need to take Johnson off the field on third down.
Dallas Cowboys CB Byron Jones (hip) and DE DeMarcus Lawrence (shoulder) are expected to begin training camp on the Physically Unable to Perform list.
Philadelphia Eagles WR DeSean Jackson has reportedly built a strong connection and sense of timing with QB Carson Wentz throughout the spring, according to Mike Kaye of NJ.com.
Baltimore Ravens QB Lamar Jackson indicated he may work with noted 'quarterback guru' Tom House over the summer and confirmed he will throw to his teammates in either Baltimore or somewhere in Florida in July.
New Orleans Saints WR Travin Dural was waived Thursday, June 13.
Seattle Seahawks RB C.J. Prosise (hamstring) reportedly left practice with a tight hamstring Thursday, June 13, according to head coach Pete Carroll.