Kansas City is a giddy city these days, and it revolves around Mahomes and the Chiefs. The valet-parking guy at my hotel here saw me and raved about Mahomes. “He’s almost too good. What a kid,” he said. At a Royals game, a fan said to me, “I’ve never seen this place so fired up about the Chiefs. It’s Mahomes.” You just feel it.
Talk to those around the Chiefs, and they’ll tell you that Mahomes the leader, the team-influencer, has been nearly as impressive as Mahomes the player. In the long run, that stuff matters—not nearly as much as the magical stuff and pure production that Mahomes has brought to the Chiefs. But it’s important to the ethos of a championship team. It’s just another reason I’m picking the Chiefs to win their first Super Bowl in 50 years.
The prime example of Mahomes the leader came the day after the Hunt news broke. The Chiefs fired Hunt when they discovered he’d been untruthful with them about an incident when he was found to have abused a woman in Cleveland in the offseason. The next day, a Saturday, the Chiefs had to leave for a game in Oakland. Before they did, coach Andy Reid was going to address the team about the Hunt situation. That morning, before the meeting, Mahomes asked Reid if he could talk to the players. Alone. Just the players. Reid weighed it; he’d thought he’d talk to the team and that would be it.
“I thought about it,” Reid told me during camp. “This was coming from him. I could tell it was something he really wanted to do. It’s different coming from a player, and what I’ve found from Patrick is what he thinks usually is coming from the right place. I thought it’d be good.”
2. Kansas City Chiefs
Yes, the Chiefs signed McCoy. They also traded running back Carlos Hyde to Houston. These moves in and of themselves do not make Kansas City a title contender. They are, however, a sign of the embarrassment of riches the Chiefs have on offense.
McCoy is 31 and isn’t a player most teams would be willing to take a chance on. The Chiefs can afford to, though, because he’s purely icing on the proverbial backfield cake. With McCoy, Damien Williams, Darrel Williams and Darwin Thompson on the roster, Kansas City should be able to keep a fresh back on the field at all times.
This is a scary thought considering the Chiefs also have Tyreek Hill, Travis Kelce, Sammy Watkins and, of course, quarterback Patrick Mahomes. This offense has the potential to be even more dangerous than it was a year ago.
Should the Chiefs get anything close to a functional defense this season, they should remain in the hunt until the end.
MVP: Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City Chiefs: No second-year QB since Dan Marino took the NFL by storm like Mahomes, who joined Tom Brady and Peyton Manning as the only players to have passed for 50-plus touchdowns and 5,000-plus yards in a single season. Even with uncertainty in the running game, there’s scant reason to believe Mahomes’ third go-round will be any less impressive considering two elite targets (wide receiver Tyreek Hill and tight end Travis Kelce) are returning with the addition of explosive rookie WR Mecole Hardman (second round/ UGA) and optimism that a healthy Sammy Watkins can be a consistent threat after a 10-catch, 176 yard effort in two postseason games.
NFL MVP: Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City Chiefs
Here at Pro Football Network, we believe he can. While the league now has game film to review on the King of Kansas City, it might not be enough to slow him down. Mahomes looks like a generational talent who can do it all. Making plays inside the pocket or scrambling when the play is broken up seem effortless for the second-year starter. If what we saw last year was just a prequel of what is to come, ”Showtime Mahomes” could just be the first player to three-peat. Let’s revisit this a year from now.
Patrick Mahomes further establishes himself as the league’s best player, while Damien Williams finishes as a top-10 back despite LeSean McCoy’s addition ... Sammy Watkins’ ADP continues to perplex, and it’s going to be interesting to see if Kansas City’s revamped defense can close the gap on its offense (and special teams) … The Chiefs play overtime in the AFC Championship for the second straight season, only this time they win the coin toss and beat the Browns to advance to the Super Bowl.
The Chiefs placed backup quarterback Chad Henne on injured reserve Sunday, the team announced. Henne will undergo surgery on his fractured ankle Tuesday.
The Chiefs signed Matt Moore last week to backup Patrick Mahomes.
Kansas City also announced it re-signed offensive guard Jeff Allen. The team released him Saturday.
He signed with the Chiefs on Aug. 19, which marked his third stint with the team. The Chiefs drafted him in the second round in 2012.
Allen left for the Texans in free agency in 2016 before returning at midseason in 2018.
He has 66 career starts, including four last season.
The Chiefs cut linebacker Jeremiah Attaochu in a corresponding move.
Kansas City also announced several practice squad signings: Receiver Jody Fortson, tight end Nick Keizer, running back Marcus Marshall, center James Murray, quarterback Kyle Shurmur and receiver Cody Thompson.
Around the league
Fifth-round draft pick Ryquell Armstead and two players the Jaguars were awarded off waivers on Sunday -- three-year vet Tyler Ervin and rookie Devine Ozigbo -- are the only other running backs currently on the 53-man roster. That’s a bit of a gamble considering Fournette has missed 11 games in his first two seasons, nine because of injury and two because of suspensions.
Blue suffered a left ankle injury during the second preseason game and has not practiced since. He is not eligible to return from IR until Week 9 but can begin practicing two weeks earlier. That would mean the first game that Blue could play in would be the Jaguars’ home game against Houston in London.
Melvin Gordon will not receive a new contract any time soon.
Los Angeles Chargers general manager Tom Telesco told reporters on a conference call Sunday that contract talks with Gordon will be suspended until the conclusion of the 2019 season.
The development comes one day after the Chargers granted Gordon’s reps permission to seek a trade, per NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport.
Gordon will play this season -- if and when he reports -- on the fifth-year option unless the running back can find a trade partner. He’s set to make $5.6 million this season.
The fifth-year back has been away from the Chargers as he seeks a new contract worth more than $10 million per year, which is what the Chargers reportedly offered initially.
Quarterback DeShone Kizer has been claimed by the Oakland Raiders, per NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport. Kizer was waived by the Packers Saturday. The addition temporarily gives the Raiders three backup options for Derek Carr: Kizer, Mike Glennon and Nathan Peterman, which should make for an interesting new few days.
In case you missed it at Arrowhead Pride
2:47 p.m. Arrowhead Time: Former Chiefs OL Kahlil McKenzie has been signed to the Seattle Seahawks practice squad, per Curtis Crabtree of Sports Radio KJR. These were Chiefs GM Brett Veach’s comments on McKenzie during Saturday afternoon’s conference call: “He made really good improvements and strides from year one to year two. I think he’s still on the upswing. You never know how these things work, maybe a team claims him or there’s practice squad. There’s still time to develop these guys... Nothing but positive on Kahlil, he’s done a great job and continues to get better. We will see how this goes and maybe he will be back here.”
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