9. Tyrann Mathieu
Kansas City Chiefs · FS
Passer rating allowed: 57.6. Catch rate allowed below expectation: -7.5. Tight window pct: 17.1. Target rate: 14. Average separation yards: 3.4.
Mathieu might have landed a bit higher on this list if his catch rate allowed was a little better, but his average separation helps explain why it wasn’t quite as impressive as some others featured in this post. Look to Mathieu’s ballhawk rate of 17.1 percent for an indication of his effectiveness beyond his passer rating allowed and his four interceptions. As a roving safety, Mathieu made a difference and did so without some traditional circumstances (alignment, for example) helping boost his numbers. Ask any Chief from the 2019 season, and I’m sure he’ll rave about Mathieu’s contributions to their Super Bowl run. He helped lift Kansas City to the throne.
7. Mitchell Schwartz, offensive line
Is it wrong to put an active player on an all-time list, especially one like this where the final word has yet to be written on how that player is perceived? It’s actually our hope that Mitchell Schwartz’s inclusion here will somehow help along, even in some minor way, the greater spotlight he deserves.
Ever since Schwartz signed with the Chiefs in free agency back in 2016, he’s installed himself as an immovable force on the right side. He’s made the All-Pro team four times, once as a first-teamer, and was named to the NFL’s All-Rookie team in 2012. Last season he allowed a single pressure in the entire postseason on his way to his first Super Bowl win. Yet Schwartz can’t even garner a single Pro Bowl nod.
For a player who is respected enough to be listed as a near-perennial All-Pro, one who played an incredible 7,894 consecutive snaps until the 2019 season, it’s ludicrous that he’s yet to make his Pro Bowl debut. Anyone who watches Schwartz week after week is seeing Hall of Fame caliber consistency at the right tackle spot, which makes him underrated at an all-time level.
4. And in between virtual meetings, Schwartz – an avid cook - has been sharing some of his favorite recipes on social media. He talked more about his culinary exploits on the call.
“It’s been awesome…[originally], I just made some dishes and shared some pictures on Instagram and people really liked it, so I did it again the next day and it’s grown from there,” Schwartz said. “I think the thing that people are struggling with is not seeing co-workers and friends – missing that interaction – so, they’re relying more on social media and for me to be able to do this has been a lot of fun. I actually have time to post stuff, respond to people and react. Typically, in a normal environment, I’d be on the go and would just post something, leave it and check back later to see how it did, but now, you can see the people commenting. Some people have particularly strong opinions on what you’re making, but for the most part, it’s been [positive]. People will say, ‘Hey that’s awesome, I like to do this,’ or, ‘Have you tried this?’ I’m always looking for a better spice or recipe, so it’s definitely been fun and rewarding.”
21. Kansas City Chiefs
Starter: Patrick Mahomes | Signed through: 2021
Tier: On the verge of commitment | Ranking in tier: No. 1
Contract: Four-year, $16.426 million fully guaranteed contract signed in July 2017. Earlier this month, the team exercised a $24.837 million option for 2021.
Per the fifth-year option rules for all draft classes 2017 and earlier, Mahomes’ fifth-year option is only guaranteed against injury at the moment. It becomes fully guaranteed on the first day of the 2021 league year. So that this point, the Chiefs aren’t technically contractually married to Mahomes beyond 2020.
Of course, there is no danger of the Chiefs backing out of it, and the far more likely outcome is a record-breaking contract extension for the 24-year-old superstar who was MVP of the league in 2018 and the Super Bowl this past season.
“I had a year left on my contract that I had signed,” Colquitt said. “So that was kind of one of those things that I didn’t understand. They’re going to try to go younger here. It’s kind of a strange time to do that when you can’t practice and get ready for a season.”
But Colquitt said he understands the business side of it.
“I’ve seen tons of people that I’ve loved get cut and move to other cities and do other things. So when it happens to you and you have a lot of your eggs in one basket here and in a community and a church and your wife’s teaching at a local school, it’s just one of those things where you’d love for it to be here,” he said. “But sometimes God has bigger plans.”
The rookie running back also revealed Friday that he currently enjoys a close relationship with Sproles. The two even have each other’s personal cell numbers.
“As soon as I was drafted, I got a text from him,” Edwards-Helaire said. “He was like, ‘My hometown, be ready,’ and if I need anything, just let him know.”
Although different in scope, a similar situation exists with the Houston Texans, who are working on awarding DeShaun Watson a mega-payday. If Watson lands first, Mahomes and Prescott will use his market-setting contract as a talking point. If Prescott sings first, Watson and Mahomes will... well... you get the picture. The market — especially when you’re a top 10 quarterback— always wins.
None of this is to suggest Prescott is equal to Mahomes in the realm of achievements, but then again neither is Watson, and yet all three are inexplicably tied together as they negotiate their deals; as Julio Jones and Michael Thomas were a year ago, which then led to Amari Cooper negotiating a deal that averages $20 million per year when no one thought he could (ahem, I’m on record saying he would succeed in that mission, because the market... always... wins).
Around the NFL
2. Baltimore Ravens defensive line: After receiving a beatdown at the hands of the rugged Tennessee Titans in the Divisional Round of the playoffs, the Ravens upgraded their defensive line with the additions of Calais Campbell, Derek Wolfe and third-round pick Justin Madubuike. The additional beef along the line will help the Ravens slow down punishing rushing attacks while adding more pop to the pass rush. Campbell, in particular, gives the unit an interior pass-rushing presence that should enable Matt Judon to get more one-on-one opportunities to hunt the quarterback on obvious passing downs.
CB Logan Ryan
Proposed team: Minnesota Vikings
Projected contract: 1 year, $10 million
Rick Spielman just got done shedding all kinds of cornerback salary by dumping Xavier Rhodes and replacing Trae Waynes and Mackensie Alexander with rookies, but the closer we get to the season, the more Mike Zimmer’s going to realize his defense is relying an awful lot on the instant development of some mid-round prospects. Jeff Gladney is a nice fit in the slot, but Ryan is the kind of proven starter who could fill an outside role opposite Mike Hughes. He’s had success on two different contenders, and the Vikings could offer just a little bit more money than their rival Chicago Bears, who also make a lot of sense as a plug-and-play destination.
9. Bradley Chubb
Denver Broncos · OLB
The performance of fellow edge rusher Von Miller and the entire Broncos’ defense took a hit last year when Chubb suffered a season-ending knee injury in Week 4. Without another pass-rushing force to draw attention from opposing offenses, Miller finished with his lowest sack total (8) since 2013, when he only played in nine games. A strong Year 3 from Chubb could provide a major boost to a Broncos team on the verge of potentially turning things around in 2020 — and if he proves better than Miller, he could even allow the Broncos to move on from the decorated but pricy veteran next offseason.
While quarterback Sam Darnold is the most important player to New York’s present and future, Adams is the team’s best defender. He is one of the most respected players in the locker room, one of the most beloved players by Jets fans, and one of the most charismatic players in the entire NFL. He was named a first-team All-Pro by the Associated Press last year, while Pro Football Focus graded him as the league’s fourth-best safety. He ranked second on the team in sacks last year with 6.5, tied the team lead in quarterback hits, ranked second in tackles, and tied the team lead with two forced fumbles. He led all NFL safeties in sacks and his 25 quarterback pressures were more than double what all but two safeties had in 2019. Adams also graded as PFF’s seventh-best safety in pass coverage last year. Adams has the speed to cover receivers on the outside, agility to cover them in the slot, size to cover tight ends, strength to stop the run, and wits to rush the passer. Not only does he do all of those things, but he does them at a high level. He also brings a competitive attitude and devotion to winning that is key to turning around a wayward franchise.
Doug Marrone, Jaguars
The problems Marrone must navigate are in place because of decisions made at a higher organizational level. Khan fired executive VP Tom Coughlin in December, after the old-school coach-turned-executive alienated players. But he opted to give Marrone and GM Dave Caldwell a shot sans Coughlin. The problem with this philosophy: Caldwell’s four years before Coughlin’s return to Jacksonville. Hired in 2013, Caldwell is 36-76 as a GM. The Jags were worse during Caldwell Solo (15-49) from 2013-16 than they were during the Coughlin-Caldwell front office partnership of the past three seasons. Franchises risk damaging their future when they allow embattled GMs to hang on too long. Now in his eighth year, Caldwell being allowed to pilot another rebuild is borderline stunning considering his track record.
In case you missed it at Arrowhead Pride
Rapoport — one of the more-reliable sources of behind-the-scenes NFL information — is pulling no punches. He is maintaining that Jones and the Chiefs aren’t talking at all — and that they haven’t been talking since March 16, when the Chiefs officially placed the franchise tag on Jones.
In addition, Rapoport says that Jones has not been participating in any part of the offseason program. This part rings true, because Jones has not yet signed the franchise tag. Until he does, he is under no contractual obligation to participate in any team activities.
But considering that in this particular offseason, the program consists of staying at home and taking part in virtual meetings — instead of showing up at the team facility and risking injury by participating in workouts — it would have been a welcome sign to learn that Jones was doing at least that much.
But according to Rapoport, he isn’t.
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