Editor’s note: This morning, we welcome a new editor to Arrowhead Pride: Tom Childs. Tom lives in the United Kingdom. He will be collecting and publishing Arrowheadlines each day — at 11:30 am his time. We’re very pleased to have him!
2. Patrick Mahomes, QB, Chiefs
It’s not every year that a quarterback who throws for 5,097 yards and 50 touchdowns doesn’t even get to check in at No. 1. That’s the reality of this league right now, but Mahomes did finish just two points behind the No. 1 guy in our voting (996 to 994) and was the unanimous No. 1 quarterback in the league among our panel. With Andy Reid on his side, a plethora of weapons, a strong offensive line, the best arm in the league and a brilliant ability to improvise and make things happen at any time, Mahomes is just getting started.
Mathieu acknowledged things won’t be easy for the revamped defense, which includes new players in defensive ends Frank Clark and Alex Okafor, linebackers Darron Lee and Damien Wilson and cornerback Bashaud Breeland. This will be defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo’s first year in KC, too.
“I think we’ve got a great challenge ahead,” Mathieu said. “I told our group, ‘This is going to be a tough hill to climb, especially where those guys were last year.’ They brought myself and Frank Clark in, and I think anytime you can bring two guys in that really have a chip on their shoulders, an edge, a certain personality, you can rub off on a lot of guys in a positive way. I think that’s why they brought me in, Kansas City, for one was to really kind of raise the tide of everybody around me, and so it’s going to be a fun season.
Sammy Watkins, Mecole Hardman and Carlos Hyde, Kansas City Chiefs:
The Chiefs lost a total of 113 of their 2018 targets, primarily in the form of Chris Conley, Kareem Hunt and Spencer Ware, and they didn’t add much in the way of offseason thump to absorb that workload. That’s before addressing the possibility that No. 1 wide receiver Tyreek Hill misses any time due to suspension, another factor that could open up a slew of opportunities for other receivers. Watkins might be the most logical benefactor, but he has struggled with both injuries and inconsistency during a five-year NFL career. Rookie Hardman might be more of a factor than expected, and Hyde did have 85 targets out of the backfield as recently as 2017. Considering these guys have cannon-armed Patrick Mahomes throwing them the football, each is well worth the extra buck at your draft table recognizing their potentially increased opportunities.
The Hill situation is among the more difficult personal conduct policy decisions for Goodell, whose choices on conduct matters have often generated controversy and occasionally spawned federal lawsuits. With Hill, an incomplete set of facts coupled with ambiguous family circumstances are beyond the capacity of Goodell to clarify. If Goodell offers factual conclusions about how Hill’s son was injured, Goodell would be vulnerable to criticism that he overreached and possibly interfered in an on-going legal matter.
The commissioner will likely tread carefully. As detailed below, he has much to consider in judging Hill, whom the Chiefs have separated from team activities pending Goodell’s decision. The Chiefs expect a decision by the start of training camp on July 23
Bill Belichick was as prepared for Patrick Mahomes’ cannon arm as he is for literally everything else.
In fact, the Patriots coach knew K.C.’s QB had an arm that could skip stadiums back in October.
There’s a reason football pundits tout this man’s genius. Mahomes upper-decked an Arrowhead Stadium throw late last week just like Belichick predicted.
Patrick Mahomes will be the first $40 million-a-year quarterback
I don’t think Mahomes gets his deal next offseason when first eligible, because (a) why would he be in a hurry? and (b) why would the Chiefs be in a hurry when his fifth-year option season isn’t until 2021? But with Russell Wilson already having pushed the bar up to $35 million a year this offseason, it’s not a big leap to expect quarterback contract extensions to be tickling $40 million a year by the time Mahomes signs on the dotted line.
According to a spokesperson for Kelce, “Walk the Walk is a fashion benefit created by Travis Kelce to raise funds and awareness to give back to the city that raised him - Cleveland Heights.”
”We’re thrilled to be chosen to partner with Travis Kelce’s Eighty-Seven and Running Foundation. As locals know, Kelce never misses the chance to remind a national audience where he’s from and his pride in being a member of “Tiger Nation” as a 2008 graduate of Cleveland Heights High School and a member of the Distinguished Alumni Hall of Fame,” said Julianna Johnston Senturia, executive director, Heights Schools Foundation.
The impressive finish capped a strong overall year for Bulaga, who has been a starter for the Packers offensive line since his rookie year in 2010.
His pass-blocking grade during the 2018 season was the sixth-highest ever recorded by PFF, which has graded every game and season since 2006. He allowed only five sacks and 22 total pressures over 14 games and 559 pass-blocking snaps. His 84.1 pass-blocking grade trailed only Mitchell Schwartz among right tackles last season.
Duke Johnson switching agents to Drew Rosenhaus is a positive move by Johnson that could thaw relations with the Browns during an upcoming critical period. Rosenhaus and GM John Dorsey have a good relationship, evidenced by Dorsey’s willingness to undo a free-agent deal with Rosenhaus-client Breshad Perriman after the shocking trade for Odell Beckham Jr. in March. “At the end of the day, they were unselfish. They did what was best for Breshad,” Rosenhaus said to ESPN Cleveland at NFL owners meetings in March. Further, Dorsey accommodated another Rosenhaus client, Emmanuel Ogbah, by trading him to the Chiefs after acquiring pass rusher Olivier Vernon.
Williams isn’t the only Lifetime Longhorn to take up for Ehlinger in the wake of Bradshaw’s comments. At a football camp in Pflugerville hosted by Alex Okafor, Okafor, Kenny Vaccaro, Hassan Ridgeway, and Earl Thomas voiced support for Ehlinger with Vaccaro hoping the Longhorns take it out on Bradshaw’s alma mater when Texas hosts Louisiana Tech in the season opener on Aug. 31
Plenty of NFL players will take issue with their Madden ratings. Chiefs safety Tyrann Mathieu is taking issue with someone else’s.
Mathieu has taken up for former teammate Deshaun Watson. The Texans quarterback somehow has emerged from the Madden laboratory with an 82.
“Ain’t no way Deshaun Watson a 82,” Mathieu tweeted. “No wonder kids are playing [Fortnite] now.”
The NFL’s senior vice president of officiating cited two plays that he would have overturned on replay: A non-call on Patriots cornerback Stephon Gilmore for pass interference on Rams receiver Brandin Cooks in Super Bowl LIII and a non-call on Chargers receiver Mike Williams for pushing off on Chiefs cornerback Kendall Fuller, who was called for defensive pass interference on the play.
Around the league
Smith’s wife, Elizabeth, posted a picture on Instagram of the milestone.
“The last 8 months have been nothing short of crazy,” she wrote. “Although it’s not over, today is a big milestone. We are shedding the weight Alex has been carrying (literally and figuratively). It’s one step closer to the goal. The resilience, determination and mental fortitude of this man is unmatched.”
The four-year pact is worth $19 million, with the first two years fully guaranteed, NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported, per a source informed of the deal. The $4.75 million per year average makes him the second-highest-paid kicker in the NFL -- behind only Ravens’ Justin Tucker.
Chances are now that Clowney will hold out for most of training camp. After missing training camp last year, he was a ghost the first quarter of the season. For the rest of the season, however, he was a monster, helping lead the Texans’ defense to one of the best Rushing DVOA’s of all-time.
Clowney is also only one of two legitimate pass rushers on the defense, so there is yet another huge hole to fill during the 2020 off-season.
Kingsbury has been facing questions about his offense from the moment he was hired. His critics don’t think a college-style Air Raid offense can work. But Kingsbury hasn’t revealed a lot about how he’ll run his offense in the pros. He gave a hint -- or at least planted the seeds of deception -- last week when he said it’s not going to be wide open on every single snap.
Regardless of how Kingsbury runs the offense, Davis said weekly game planning can be easier than in college. In the NFL, he said, each team runs a variation of what everyone else runs, making it less of a challenge to prepare in just a few days. In college, Davis pointed out, each week can offer a totally different style of football, from the wishbone to no-huddle to 3-yards-and-a-cloud-of-dust.
In case you missed it at Arrowhead Pride
Mahomes — following his 50-touchdown, 5,000 yard NFL MVP season — was given a Madden rating of 97, which was just ahead of New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady. The Patriots legend got a 96, followed by Los Angeles Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers (94), Indianapolis Colts signal caller Andrew Luck (92) and New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees (92).
But it is Jarrett’s contract that raised eyebrows among Kansas City Chiefs fans.
Could Jarrett’s deal alter the market in such a way that the Chiefs could get some additional leverage over defensive tackle Chris Jones, with whom the Chiefs are engaged in contract negotiations? The Chiefs and Jones have been thought to be talking about a contract in the range of five years and $100 million. Could Jarrett’s deal give the Chiefs an opportunity to lock in Jones for less?
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Given that this is my first post here at Arrowhead Pride, I just wanted to introduce myself to you all. My name is Tom Childs, a Chiefs fan from the other side of the pond. Some of you may know me thanks to Arrowheads Abroad, a British-based international Chiefs supporters club.
Since 2013 the team at Arrowheads Abroad has been working extremely hard to enhance the fandom experience for Chiefs fans abroad, something I personally feel we have succeeded in.
I want to say thank you to Pete and the team for this opportunity and the warm welcome. I’m really excited about the future not only for me at Arrowhead Pride but for all of the Chiefs Kingdom. Our Super Bowl window has only just started opening; This and the few seasons afterwards promises to be a lot of fun.
That being said I am particularly looking forward to gathering all of the headlines for the morning of February 3, 2020.
Before you leave me, I want to send you on your way with some Tuesday Trivia...
Pre-Andy Reid, how many division titles have the Chiefs/Texans won?
Answers in the comments, please.