7) Kansas City Chiefs
Patrick Mahomes’ meteoric ascent shows no signs of slowing entering his second year as the Chiefs’ starting quarterback. The question of whether receiver Tyreek Hill will face discipline from the NFL stemming from a child-abuse investigation is still unanswered (though a criminal investigation is no longer active). Even setting Hill aside for the moment, however, Mahomes’ supporting cast includes tight end Travis Kelce (who has made four straight Pro Bowls) and receivers Sammy Watkins (a former first-round pick) and Mecole Hardman (a promising rookie). New defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo was given pieces to work with that will fit his 4-3 system, including pass rusher Frank Clark, defensive end Alex Okafor, cornerback Bashaud Breeland and safeties Tyrann Mathieu and rookie Juan Thornhill. Kansas City must resolve the contract-related standoff with defensive tackle Chris Jones, who is seeking a new deal following a monster 2018 campaign (15.5 sacks).
18. Kansas City Chiefs
Starter: Patrick Mahomes
Backups: Chad Henne, Chase Litton, Kyle Shurmur
As the clear-cut top backup for the Kansas City Chiefs, Henne is a well-established incumbent. But he turns 34 this offseason, and he’s thrown just five passes the last three years.
The Chiefs smartly have added two other arms to the fray via the UDFA pool the last couple years. And while Litton and Shurmur are long shots to supplant Henne, there’s plenty of young talent there for Kansas City to find a potential successor for Henne.
This backup group has a nice mix of experience and youth but lacks overall talent. It’s as “middle-of-the-pack” as they come.
Does the fact that he sought a trade from a then-flailing Chiefs organization to a competitive team with the clock turning towards the twilight of his career make him a traitor, as some gripe?
Or just somebody who wanted … to play … in a Super Bowl?
Favorite under: Raiders (6 wins)
Yes, the Raiders offense is improved this year. Adding Antonio Brown and Tyrell Williams will help Derek Carr and Jon Gruden in a big way, but I’m still down on the Raiders for two reasons this year.
Their defense and their schedule.
After the Raiders season opener against the Broncos, they play the Chiefs, the Vikings, the Bears in London, and the Colts before their bye. Then they head to Green Bay and Houston in Weeks 7 and 8. To close the season, they travel to Kansas City, play the Titans and Jaguars at home, and then play the Chargers in Week 16.
The National Weather Service in Kansas City was baffled.
On Twitter, people cracked jokes about aliens who had heard about Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes, the NFL’s Most Valuable Player.
Around the league
“Aaron will be fine,” Favre told reporters at the American Family Insurance Championship on Saturday, per the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. “I think that the thing is he needs to remain the same. And I don’t have to give him any advice. You know, he’ll handle it well.
“I just felt with the Giants I was just stuck at a place that wasn’t working for me anymore,” Beckham said. “I felt like I wasn’t going to be able to reach my full potential there. Mentally, physically, spiritually, everything I felt capable of doing, I just couldn’t see it happening there. So I think allowing me to be in an environment where I can be myself and give it a different approach, I feel like my football will benefit. I’m just excited about being able to play football again and not have to deal with all the other stuff and politics that came with my previous role.”
According to John Ourand and Ben Fischer of Sports Business Journal, the NFL must decide whether to opt out of the Sunday Ticket deal early by early September. If the NFL doesn’t exercise its right to end the arrangement earlier before the regular season begins on September 5, the contract between the league and DirecTV will continue through 2022.
“It’s hard to replace a guy like me,” McCoy told reporters Saturday, per PennLive. “I’m a good player and I feel like now, this year, they put a lot of guys around me. The front office got me some big hogs up front. And we’ll see what happens this year. I feel good and hopefully this year will speak for itself.”
We asked our staff members to pick which athlete from another sport they’d pick to put on an NFL field:
In case you missed it at Arrowhead Pride
Former Kansas City Chiefs and current Washington Redskins quarterback and ultimate good guy Alex Smith has the desire to play football again, even while acknowledging the long road it will take to get there.
We have five weeks to training camp. Here’s how Pete Sweeney believes the 53-man roster shakes out.
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