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The $1.25 million sack: Chiefs' Chris Jones gets his bonus in Week 18

Patrick Mahomes and Travis Kelce may not have played in the Kansas City Chiefs' regular-season finale on Sunday, but the Week 18 matchup against the Los Angeles Chargers still had plenty of meaning for one of the team's defensive anchors.

Star defensive tackle Chris Jones needed one sack to clinch a $1.25 million bonus, and he got it in the third quarter at SoFi Stadium. The sack, Jones' 10th of the season, was important for his bank account as well as for the Kansas City defense -- it forced a Chargers field goal attempt when a touchdown would have given Los Angeles the lead. The Chiefs eventually held on for a 13-12 win.

Travis Kelce hilariously trolls teammate Isiah Pacheco's running style

Why did Jones get a bonus?

Let's rewind to the preseason, when Jones and the Chiefs were hard at work renegotiating the All-Pro's contract. Jones, eligible for free agency following the 2023 season, wanted to maximize his earnings while Kansas City was hoping to open up some salary cap space. The two sides didn't reach an agreement before the regular season began, so Jones sat out in Week 1 before returning for Week 2.

Jones agreed to an incentive-laden deal that ensured he would earn top dollar, while maintaining the flexibility to reach free agency if he so desired. One of those incentives? Reaching 10 sacks for the season.

Wild celebrations ensued when Jones brought down Los Angeles quarterback Easton Stick in the third quarter. Every Chiefs player knew what the sack meant, and many gathered around Jones on the sideline once the defense headed off the field for a Chargers field goal attempt.

Andy Reid leans on his defense

Prior to Sunday's game, Chiefs coach Andy Reid made it clear that Mahomes would be rested in preparation for the playoffs. What fans and media members did not know until Sunday was that Kelce would join his quarterback on the inactive list, with Reid prioritizing health as Kansas City aims to defend its Super Bowl title.

Kelce was 16 receiving yards away from 1,000 for the season, and it would have been his eighth consecutive campaign reaching that milestone, but Reid chose the prudent path forward for the AFC's #3 seed. The two-time Super Bowl-winning coach chose to rely on his top-three scoring defense in the regular season finale, knowing that the Chargers were starting backup quarterback Stick instead of injured star Justin Herbert.

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