Kansas City Chiefs to apply franchise tag on DT Chris Jones, per reports

The Kansas City Chiefs won't let their top defender hit the market.

The team will place the franchise tag on defensive tackle Chris Jones, according to multiple reports Thursday. 

Jones, 25, earned his first Pro Bowl berth last season and was a key piece in the Chiefs' run to their first Super Bowl title in 50 years. The four-year veteran recorded 24 1/2 sacks in the last two years, and he further disrupted opposing offenses with his penchant for batting down passes, including two deflections in the Super Bowl victory over the San Francisco 49ers.

“It’s certainly a priority for us,” Chiefs general manager Brett Veach said Tuesday at the NFL scouting combine of re-signing Jones. “I think the tandem of Chris Jones and Frank Clark is something any team would want. We’re going to work hard to see if we can get that done.”

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Jones had ranked No. 3 in USA TODAY Sports' early ranking of the top potential free agents, trailing only Seattle Seahawks defensive end Jadeveon Clowney among defensive players.

Thursday marks the first day that teams can apply the franchise tag to players, with March 12 serving as the end of the window.

Players who receive the franchise tag have until July 15 to sign a multi-year contract.

Follow Michael Middlehurst-Schwartz on Twitter @MikeMSchwartz.

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