A Goal.com report issued late last night claimed that Jermaine Jones had rebuffed the Fire's contract offer of $6 million over the next 2.5 years. Per the report, Jones is now pursuing other options beyond MLS. While those numbers are consistent with what Fire Confidential has heard in terms of dollars, it is short of the $3 million per year offer mentioned by ESPN's Alexi Lalas on Wednesday night.
Jones apparently has opted to weigh options in Qatar according to the Daily Herald and is using those options as negotiating leverage towards a higher offer. As a player, Jones is well within his rights to decline the offer and pursue the best possible option in terms of overall contract value. Considering that this is likely to be his final big contract opportunity one can't blame him for attempting to seize this chance in order to maximize his earnings. With that being said, it's unlikely that he will receive a better offer within MLS than the one currently on the table.
Jones responded to the reports via his twitter account this morning writing, "The offer of chicago fire honors me! There are rumours in the news. But all the figures mentioned are not the truth."
It also should be noted that since Jones' contract is not currently held by any club he is eligible to sign on a free transfer with MLS after the closing of the secondary transfer window on August 6. The opportunity to revisit the Fire's offer is still on the table if he can't find a higher taker in Qatar or elsewhere.
Jones is represented in negotiations with MLS by agent Richard Motzkin and Wasserman Media Group.
The Daily Herald piece also mentioned the Fire's pursuit of "a forward from Argentina who has been playing in France." The Argentine would also be a Designated Player. Should Jones come back into the picture, Chicago would need to complete other moves in order to clear cap/budget space to facilitate adding two DP's this summer.
The MLS roster freeze deadline is September 15. Teams have until that date to add players via "free agency" or trade.