Patrick Mahomes, QB, Kansas City Chiefs
Mahomes threw 50 touchdown passes last year. Won the MVP award. And he became the face of the NFL. Like the league’s version of Steph Curry. When young NFL fans ask their parents to purchase them a jersey, it’s going to be a Mahomes jersey. It’s come to the point where I’ve banned Chiefs games from my house, because I don’t want my kids getting any ideas. (Besides, I already purchased my brood matching Jay Cutler jerseys last Christmas.) There is no reasonable offer you could deliver to the Chiefsthat would get them to even think about moving Mahomes. So don’t try.
There are plenty of reasons to remember Berry in a positive way despite the fact he’s given the Chiefs very little from a tangible standpoint since that 2017 opener against the Patriots. In fact, the six-year, $78 million contract Berry signed two years ago turned into one of the worst in team history.
Justin Houston, 30
The obvious name that tops the list is former Kansas City Chief, Justin Houston. At one time Houston was the games most feared pass rusher. Houston is coming off back-to-back seasons with at least 9.0 sacks but it wasn’t enough for the Chiefs who released him.
If the Raiders were to sign Houston he would bring a legitimate threat from the outside who would demand the attention of opposing offenses. The Raiders could really stick it to the Chiefs by keeping him in division and forcing them to face their old teammate twice a year.
Houston’s familiarity with the division is also a reason why it makes sense for the Raiders. At the moment the Raiders have not been linked to Houston.
The Chiefs’ roster embraced some significant changes over the past 48 hours.
Their Super Bowl odds did not.
Despite moving on from veteran defensive leaders Justin Houston, Dee Ford and Eric Berry earlier this week, the Chiefs remain a favorite to win next year’s NFL championship game.
Roby said he’s accustomed to matchups with fast wide receivers, including Kansas City Chiefs standout Tyreek Hill. Hill was limited to four catches for 23 yards on eight targets last season.
”I can guard anybody,” Roby said Thursday during a conference call. “That’s another reason why Houston wanted me here, to guard guys like T.Y. and Tyreek Hill.”
Ford might call his role simple, but it’s one that 49ers fans aren’t about to take for granted. San Francisco hasn’t had an edge rusher post double digit sacks since Aldon Smith in 2012. Ford has two such seasons to his name, including 13 sacks in 2018 and 10 in 2016. Ford (6-foot-2, 252 pounds) is the prototype for what San Francisco was seeking in a top-tier pass rusher.
There were plenty of notable receivers who changed team last offseason, from top options to bounceback candidates. How did it fare?
Brandin Cooks’ fantasy stock wasn’t as high as some other team-changers because he was joining an offense that already had Robert Woods and Cooper Kupp, and Sammy Watkins hadn’t been special with the team in 2017, but he paid off like gangbusters. Jarvis Landry, Jordy Nelson, and John Brown more or less met expectations, which means no curse for them. The rest of the list? It ain’t great.
Winner’s curse tally: 4/8
Around the league
“I don’t regret anything that happened,” Bell said. “Obviously, everything happened for a reason. Who can say if I played last year if I do go out there and play on a one-year (deal) or franchise tag that I do get hurt, do I end up sitting here today being with the New York Jets? On the other side of it, if I go out there and do play on the franchise tag and I get another 400 carries, who’s to say that a team would pay me after 400 carries?”
Despite giving Jordy Nelson a $3.6 million roster bonus in December and coach Jon Gruden saying the veteran receiver would return to the Oakland Raiders in 2019, the team released Nelson on Thursday, the team announced.
The Raiders also created cap room by releasing quarterback AJ McCarron.
Ha Ha Clinton-Dix is returning to the NFC North.
After spending most of his career with the Green Bay Packers in addition to a brief stint with the Washington Redskins, the 26-year-old safety has reportedly agreed to a one-year deal with the Chicago Bears. The deal was first reported by NFL Network.
Tate’s agents at CAA Football announced the deal but did not provide terms. It’s a four-year, $37.5 million contract that includes $23 million fully guaranteed, a source told ESPN’s Adam Schefter.
The New Orleans Saints are signing Bridgewater, who has been at the team’s facility in Metairie the entire day finalizing a one-year deal worth $7.25 million fully guaranteed, NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported, via a source informed of the situation. Rapoport adds the deal has a maximum value of $12.5 million.
NFL Network’s Jane Slater reported Tuesday that the Saints were expected to sign Bridgewater, who then elected to visit the Miami Dolphins on Wednesday night. He left Miami without a contract, though, opening the door to return to the Big Easy.
While many NFL players are making noise in free agency, New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady is doing his talking in the comments section. Brady was overjoyed by the Patriots’ decision to sign running back Brandon Bolden, who spent last season in Miami but the other six seasons of his NFL career in New England.
“F--k yeah!!!!!!!!!!!” the 41-year-old future Hall of Famer commented. Bolden replied that he had missed Brady.
After spending the 2018 season on injured reserve with a knee injury, left tackle Matt Kalil will need to prove he’s healthy with another team. The Carolina Panthers on Thursday released Kalil, the team announced. NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport first reported the transaction. Kalil, who joined the Panthers in 2017 on a five-year, $55 million contract, was set to make a base salary of $7 million in 2019.
Despite rushing for 1,037 yards and scoring 10 touchdowns on an undrafted rookie minimum contract, Lindsay surprisingly didn’t crack the top 25 of the league’s performance-based bonus program this week. When the checks were cut, Lindsay received an extra $201,519 on top of his league-minimum base pay of $473,112.
It was certainly a nice bump, leaving Lindsay as one of the NFL’s biggest bargains in 2018. Not only did he average 5.4 yards per carry (best of all the 1,000-yard rushers), Lindsay was the only undrafted rookie to score a Pro Bowl nod, finishing ninth overall in rushing despite missing one game last season.
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According to Paylor, the contract is for $18 million over three years, with incentives that could bring it up to as much as $24 million.
Mathieu’s versatility and flexibility will help Spagnuolo implement various pattern-match coverage shells to stop the spread offense. His ability to line up everywhere and do everything will be key to disguising tendencies — something the New England Patriots were able to exploit against former defensive coordinator Bob Sutton. Mathieu is truly the key component of a versatile defensive scheme.
However — that’s not the only essential ingredient in this signing. Veach stated just how vital Mathieu will be not only on the field, but off it as well (emphasis mine):
VEACH: “You can acquire as many great players or talented players as you like, but until you have the catalyst to make it go, things will never work out the way you want them. This was the catalyst that we had to have.”
1. This is Patrick Mahomes’ team
The exit of key leaders in the locker room like Houston and Berry signify that this is unquestionably the reigning MVP’s team (as if it weren’t to some degree already). There are no older established voices with the credibility that Berry or Houston had in that locker room. There are veterans like Travis Kelce and Chris Jones, yes, but the prevailing voice is now Mahomes. And that’s how it should be. He has earned the opportunity to be the guy in the building. The exit of veterans makes that a smoother transition.
So while this week’s changes have been painful, they were necessary. Sooner or later, somebody was going to have to rip off the Band-Aid — and now Veach has done so. Such a move doesn’t come without cost.
Since three of the players who have hit the road since Sunday were starters in 2018, the changes could result in a dropoff in defensive production in the coming season. Those Chiefs fans who routinely state that the Chiefs had the second-worst defense in the NFL last season will scoff at that, saying the defense couldn’t possibly get worse.
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