Free Agent Chose to Sign With Cardinals Despite ‘Mutual Interest’ With Chiefs

One day after visiting with the Kansas City Chiefs, free agent wide receiver Zay Jones signed a one-year deal worth up to $4.25 million with the Arizona Cardinals, according to Bleacher Report’s Jordan Schultz on May 10.

ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler revealed that, after Jones visited with the two-time defending Super Bowl champions on May 9, the two sides had “mutual interest,” but Arizona “put it over the top.”

Zay Jones a Decorated Collegiate Athlete With a Rocky NFL Career

Jones, 29, played his college ball at East Carolina and is the all-time receptions leader in FBS history (399). He was selected in the second round — 37th overall —  by the Buffalo Bills in the 2017 NFL Draft.

Standing at 6-foot-2 and weighing 200 pounds, Jones, played two seasons for the Bills before being traded to the then-Oakland Raiders in October 2019 in exchange for a 2021 fifth-round pick. He played with the Raiders through the 2021 season before he entered free agency for the first time in 2022 and signed a three-year, $24 million contract with the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Jones’s most productive season in the NFL was during the 2022 season while with the Jaguars. During that season, he set career-highs in targets (121), catches (82), and receiving yards (823), according to Pro Football Reference.

Unfortunately, knee and hamstring injuries during the 2023 season caused Jones to miss eight regular season games. In the nine games he was active, Jones accumulated 34 receptions on 64 targets for 321 yards and 2 touchdowns.

Jones was released by Jacksonville on April 30, which was just five days after the team drafted LSU wideout Brian Thomas Jr. with the 23rd overall pick in the 2024 NFL Draft. Releasing Jones saved the Jaguars $4.1 million against the cap, according to Spotrac.

Chiefs Still Need a Bit of Physicality Along the Boundary

Though the two-time defending Super Bowl champions selected Texas wide receiver Xavier Worthy 28th overall in April’s Draft, the team is still seeking receiver help, specifically along the boundary. That’s why they had an interest in signing Jones.

The Chiefs have a lot of speed on offense with the addition of Worthy as well as Marquise “Hollywood” Brown during free agency. But the receiver room is still lacking size.

The only receiver currently on Kansas City’s roster who is taller than Jones is third-year wideout Justyn Ross (6-foot-4). But Ross hasn’t proven enough to carve out a role for himself on offense, so his size has yet to be tapped into.

Jones, though he is also capable of playing the slot, is primarily a boundary receiver and succeeds in contested catch situations. So, it made sense that the Chiefs brought him in for a visit.

Twitter/X Reacts to Chiefs Losing Out on Zay Jones

Users on X, formerly Twitter, reacted to Jones choosing the Cardinals over the Chiefs.

The Chiefs don’t need any receivers. Anyone signed is a luxury,” one user wrote. “Brown, Worthy, (Kadarius) Toney, (Travis) Kelce, and the next guy who feels like gettin a rep or 2. (Rashee) Rice will be back sooner than later.”

“I love how these guys say they want to play for a team who has a chance to win a Super Bowl, and then sign with a team who has hardly no chance. Lol,” another user wrote.

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