“I’m at the stage of my life now to where, at first I was like ‘Man, I want to get paid big money again,” Watkins said. “But then I realized, how much money do I need? My family’s taken care of well. Do I want I go to a team and lose, and get 1,000 yards or go to a team that’s sorry, whatever the case may be. Or do I want to come back with one of the best coaches, the best quarterbacks, the best organizations, the best team, the best wideout group — arguably — and come try to fight for another championship?
1. Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City Chiefs
Age: 24 | Highest ranking: 1 | Lowest ranking: 4
Nearly 30 voters were polled, and all but one picked Mahomes first overall.
“Everything else is a grab bag,” one AFC exec said. “He’s the face of the league.” That was evident by the Chiefs’ signing Mahomes to a record 10-year, $450 million extension Monday, with a total package that can push the 12-year pact (he had two years left on his rookie deal) up to $503 million.
Not having Jones for any length of time is certainly a scenario the Chiefs must consider. Do they enough depth to make up for the potential loss of a Pro Bowl defensive tackle?
Here’s a look at their interior defensive line behind Jones:
Derrick Nnadi: Enters his third season and has 27 starts over the past two seasons, including 16 in 2019. Nnadi totaled 48 tackles, a sack and an interception last season.
Khalen Saunders: In his 2019 rookie campaign, Saunders appeared in 12 games with four starts as a member of the Chiefs’ defensive line rotation. He totaled 22 tackles, a sack and two quarterback hits.
Mike Pennel: Arguably one of the Chiefs’ best midseason signings of 2019, Pennel found a niche as a rotational player in the second half of the season. He proved stout against the run and appeared in eight games, totaling 24 tackles, a sack and a two quarterback hits. The Chiefs re-signed Pennel to a one-year deal in March.
2) Clyde Edwards-Helaire, RB, Kansas City Chiefs
We know the Chiefs are going to score points with Patrick Mahomes running the attack. However, the selection of Edwards-Helaire with the final pick in Round 1 of the 2020 NFL Draft shows how serious the Chiefs are about improving their running game. Kansas City’s run blocking might not be as good as it was in 2017, when then-rookie Kareem Hunt rushed for a league-high 1,327 yards, but Edwards-Helaire appears to be just as talented as Hunt both on the ground and as a pass catcher. While Damien Williams is still very much in the mix for his share of playing time at running back, CEH should step into a starter’s role with loads of touches headed his way.
Something I always look at it with players who are or would have been legitimate franchise tag candidates is how their actual deals compare to playing the franchise tag game. If Mahomes had played out his rookie contract, he would have made $27,631,905 in 2020 and 2021. The Chiefs would have put an exclusive franchise tag on Mahomes in 2022 absent a long-term deal. The 2022 quarterback exclusive franchise number, which would be the average of the top five 2022 quarterback salaries (usually salary cap numbers) at the end of that year’s restricted free agent signing period, currently projects to $39.403 million. This number is subject to change depending on new quarterback deals, contract restructures, pay cuts and/or releases over the next two years.
Brett Favre (Packers)
Contract: 10-year, $100 million extension signed in March 2001
After watching Favre win three straight MVP awards in the late 1990s, the Packers finally decided to reward him with a monstrous 10-year deal in 2001. The contract was meant to make Favre a “Packer for life,” but as we all know, that’s not what happened. After watching Favre annually contemplate retirement, the Packers finally decided it was time to move on, and in 2008, that’s what they did when they traded their star quarterback to the Jets, which kicked off the Aaron Rodgers era in Green Bay. Favre played out seven of the 10 years in his contract before the Packers dealt him away.
When coupled with the final two years of his current contract, it means the 24-year-old could earn a whopping $503-million, including incentives, through the 2031 NFL season.
The 117-page mega-contract includes a $10-million signing bonus, a $49.4-million bonus due in 2026 and $25-million in incentives should he win the National Football League‘s MVP Award and reach the Super Bowl.
If we averaged out the $503-million over 12 years, Mahomes would make nearly $42-million a season and about $2.6-million per game.
Based on his statistics from the 2019 season, he would earn, on average, more than $86-thousand per pass attempt, $131-thousand per completion and $1.6-million per touchdown pass.
Around the NFL
The NFL is selling sponsorships for lower seat sections? Would they sell jersey sponsorships?
Empty seat sponsorships are an obvious target, and there will be more innovative revenue-producing initiatives in this unique season, limited only by our imaginations. And the NFLPA should want this as well, hopefully making their inevitable discussions about next year’s salary cap (and this year’s cap) less painful.
As to jersey patch sponsorships—as the NBA now allows—well, baby steps. Although the NFL has allowed sponsorships on training camp practice jerseys, there is still an old guard of ownership that, as I heard in one owners meeting years ago, doesn’t want NFL players “looking like NASCAR drivers.” Game jersey sponsorship will eventually come, but it is a few years away.
According to the new contract that Chiefs Patrick Mahomes signed earlier this week, Matt Ryan has already outplayed his current deal. Mahomes singing a half-billion-dollar extension opened up the flood gates for a lot of players to cash in.
Matt Ryan should be able to as well. But he won’t, that is not who he is.
People around Atlanta and in the media like Bomani Jones love to bemoan Matt Ryan and love to downplay his accomplishments. The best phrase used to describe Matt is “stat stuffer” which completely ignores everything that he has accomplished.
“I’ve been on the NFLPA calls the last couple times we’ve had them,” Watt said on a conference call when asked whether he’s made a decision on whether to play. “I don’t think we’re anywhere ... I don’t think we’re at a point yet where people are making that decision because we don’t have enough information yet to be making decisions like that. So I think that it’s a very fluid process, and I think it keeps coming up. Obviously ... the report date gets closer and closer. But as of right now, we really don’t have enough information to make a decision like that, I would say.”
Brett Tessler, Mostert’s agent, disclosed his client’s request in a tweet, stating, “After months of unproductive talks with the 49ers about fairly adjusting Mostert’s contract (which paid him for special teams) we have requested a trade. Disappointing that it would come to this for a guy for a guy who led all NFL RBs in YAC and helped lead them to a Super Bowl.”
QB Ben Roethlisberger, Steelers
With Roethlisberger now fully healthy―at least according to JuJu Smith-Schuster, who told NFL.com that Big Ben “is back”―Pittsburgh looks primed to get back to its high-flying ways on offense. Roethlisberger, who led the NFL in attempts (675), completions (452), and passing yards (5,129) in 2018 while throwing 34 touchdowns (fifth most), should benefit from playing behind a strong offensive line and he will have a talented group of young pass catchers to throw to downfield. Smith-Schuster is a strong bounce-back candidate, and will be joined by second-year receiver Diontae Johnson, James Washington, rookie Chase Claypool, and free-agent addition Eric Ebron.
The Washington team owned by Dan Snyder announced last week it plans to do a thorough review of the term “Redskins,” and ESPN’s Adam Schefter believes the team name will be changed before the 2020 campaign.
That report from Schefter may just come true. According to the Washington Post’s Les Carpenter, the new name “could be revealed within the next two weeks.”
In case you missed it at Arrowhead Pride
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
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