2 Kansas City Chiefs
It’s Patrick Mahomes’ world and we are all just living in it. The reigning Super Bowl MVP (and 2018 league MVP) is clearly the best player in the NFL and the driving force on this unstoppable offense. He just inked a deal for half a billion dollars — and he’s worth every penny. Still just 24 years old, Mahomes has plenty of room to grow, which is a terrifying thought for the rest of the NFL. Can you imagine how dominant this guy will be when his experience catches up with his transcendent skill set?
Of course, it doesn’t hurt Mahomes’ cause that Kansas City has assembled a pass-catching track team that’s dangerous and diverse. Tyreek Hill is the biggest home-run hitter in the game today. His unparalleled speed keeps defensive coordinators up at night. Sammy Watkins is a threat to take over any game he plays in. The former No. 4 overall pick opened last season with a 198-yard, three-touchdown master class and closed it with a prolific playoff run. Mecole Hardman flies and scores (six touchdowns on 26 catches as a rookie), while Demarcus Robinson had a 172-yard game last season. Oh, yeah — and how about Travis Kelce? You know, the best tight end this side of George Kittle? And I cannot wait to see first-round pick Clyde Edwards-Helaire in this offense. He’s an ideal modern running back as a playmaker in the ground game and aerial attack.
And who’s in charge of this spicy collection of supreme talent? Ingenious offensive guru (and future Hall of Famer) Andy Reid. Start warming up those fingers, scoreboard operators.
Kansas City Chiefs
The Super Bowl champs don’t need any help, but canceling those games against the NFC South sure would be nice. They are set to face that division all in the second half of the season. Including road games at the two Super Bowl contenders from that division New Orleans and Tampa Bay. They are already set to finish with consecutive home games and lessening that December load just a little would go even further to buoy their repeat chances.
3 Kansas City Chiefs
Offense: QB Patrick Mahomes · Defense: S Tyrann Mathieu
What Mahomes has done the past two seasons — winning the NFL MVP award in his first season as a starter and being named MVP of Super Bowl LIV in his second, then securing the largest contract of any athlete in U.S. sports history — speaks for itself. Mathieu, meanwhile, proved himself to be the missing ingredient in the Chiefs’ championship-winning mix. The veteran safety logged four picks, 12 passes defensed, two sacks and 75 tackles in his first year in Kansas City, earning first-team All-Pro honors and helping a pass defense that ranked 31st in 2018 jump into the top 10 in 2019.
Kansas City Chiefs: Sammy Watkins, WR
Watkins was a playoff hero for the Chiefs after a very inconsistent regular season. He had only 673 yards receiving in 14 games and remains far from the 1,000 yard we saw early in his career with Buffalo. It’s possible he could see less attention this season with the emergence of Mecole Hardman.
Around the NFL
The Buffalo Bills have signed head coach Sean McDermott to a multi-year contract extension, the team has announced. McDermott was entering year four of the five-year deal he agreed to when he joined the Bills in 2017, and that meant expectations of an extension were swirling.
The decision was clear-cut, and McDermott was the first name on our list of predicted contract extensions published earlier today. With a 25-23 record and two playoff appearances in his three years as a head coach, McDermott has been the most successful Bills coach since Wade Phillips’s tenure 20 years ago. He rebuilt the culture of a team in the middle of its worst-ever playoff drought, oversaw a dramatic roster overhaul, and led the team from those doldrums to playoff contention. He also oversaw a defense that ranked top-3 in yards allowed over the past two seasons.
The Ravens can’t touch edge rusher Matthew Judon’s contract until early next January since he is playing under a $16.808 million franchise tag this season. Judon will be assured of free agency in 2021 if the Ravens don’t extend tackle Ronnie Stanley’s contract, as Stanley will be franchised.
The Texans didn’t do the Ravens any favors with Laremy Tunsil’s $22 million per year extension, which contains an offensive lineman record of $40 million fully guaranteed at signing. Tunsil having a higher-than-expected average yearly salary on a shorter-than-anticipated term likely complicates Stanley’s negotiations.
Stanley, who is scheduled to make $12.866 million this season on a fifth-year option, was selected at sixth overall in the 2016 NFL Draft, seven picks before Tunsil. Both were named to the Pro Bowl for the first time last season, with Stanley also earning first-team All-Pro honors.
Outside of cornerback Marcus Peters, the Ravens aren’t accustomed to doing high-end deals where players only give up three new years on extensions signed in the final year of rookie contracts or at their expiration. Unlike Tunsil, Peters had to sacrifice his average yearly salary to get the shorter term. It will be interesting to see how Stanley reaps the benefit of Tunsil dramatically resetting the offensive tackle market.
“This has been the best I’ve felt and I’m ready to show it,” he said Wednesday in a videoconference with reporters. “I’m ready to show this is the best Le’Veon Bell that has ever played in the NFL.”
Bell, whose listed playing weight is 222, said he’s in the 210-215 range. He thought he was in good shape last year, too, but admitted retrospectively he “wasn’t even close” to where he needed to be. On May 30, he decided to intensify his offseason training.
“One thing that is very clear from talking to several NFL officials and high-ranking members of different teams, the NFL is going to do what it can to accommodate college football and basically help guide them through this and help adjust their own schedule to make sure it works for all sides,” Rapoport said during an appearance on Good Morning Football ahead of the Big 12’s Wednesday announcement. “For instance, if there are things in the NFL calendar that need to be moved or shifted around to help college football play in the spring, if that’s what they decide to do. Surely that is something that the NFL is more than willing to do. They know pretty well how big of a part of them college football is.”
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And since Brady had come up, Bayless asked Mahomes if he could visualize himself playing at Brady’s age of 43.
“That’s the goal,” said the 24-year-old, who has already signed a contract to remain with the Chiefs through the 2031 season. “I’ve talked to a couple of my teammates that have younger kids. I always joke with them and say, ‘I’m going to be playing with your kids whenever you’re watching from home.’ To play until 43, you’ve got to have that mentality that Tom’s had — to not only be great on the football field but to be great off of it; to be able to go out there every single day and take care of your body. I’ve put a good plan together with my trainer every single year so far, and I’m going to try to do that and get as healthy as I possibly can — so that I can be playing at that age.”
A tweet to make you think
Nice being back out there! Always great work when you’re going against the @ Arrowhead Stadium https://t.co/2PaM6UzUNK— Mitchell Schwartz (@MitchSchwartz71) August 12, 2020
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