I wrote last night that the Chiefs might use the structure of the Mahomes deal to make it easier to pay Chris Jones, but as I think about things, I wonder if they’ll use the space to try and re-sign Travis Kelce before a George Kittle extension gets done.— Bill Barnwell (@billbarnwell) July 8, 2020
So we considered this question: What is more likely — a Chris Jones deal or a Travis Kelce extension?
The Kansas City Chiefs now have their highest priority in the rear-view mirror.; now they can turn to other matters. With Jones on the franchise tag, they have a week to come to an agreement; time is of the essence.
Recent reports indicate there is a large gap between the parties. There doesn’t appear to be much cause for optimism — but the structure of Mahomes’ contract does make it seem like it’s feasible they can fit Jones into their plans.
But Kelce seems like a very clear choice here — and an extension is deserved.
Beyond Mahomes, Kelce changes the game more than any other player on the offense; he is arguably the second-most valuable offensive player. While Tyreek Hill was out in the early part of the 2019 season, the Chiefs were still able to survive — and part of that was that teams were still focused on taking Kelce away.
Whether Hill is on the field or not, Kelce is crucial. He’s a tight end with the fluidity of a wide receiver — and a plus route runner, too. He is a unique, difficult matchup for defenses to handle. The way Andy Reid utilizes him — especially when he lines him up isolated on the back side of formations — creates additional problems for defenses.
Some teams have tried to match him up with a big cornerback (like the Houston Texans did with rookie Lonnie Johnson in the playoffs) and mix in some safeties, too. It turned out as badly for the Texans as it did for other teams.
When Hill is unavailable, the Chiefs can get more out of players like Sammy Watkins and Mecole Hardman. While using them isn’t the same as having Hill on the field — and perhaps isn’t sustainable long-term — the Chiefs are able to remain productive.
But it’s just not possible to replace Kelce with a player like Deon Yelder and expect anything close to the same kind of production. There are only a few tight ends like Kelce in the league — and when you consider his usage, his value is magnified.
It would be smart for the Chiefs to lock Kelce up for the remainder of his prime years — and I’m sure he wants to build his legacy with the opportunities Mahomes can provide. I would bet on a Kelce extension happening before Jones gets a deal in Kansas City.
Which is more likely to happen first?
This poll is closed
Chris Jones contract
Travis Kelce extension
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