Hype in the NFL is a strange phenomenon. It is easy to predict how the bulk of an NFL season will go: This year, Andy Reid and Patrick Mahomes will maul most of the teams they play, and Sean Payton and Drew Brees will help guide a stacked roster to NFC contention. That’s not hype. Hype is the guessing part, and we’re all pretty bad at that. The reason we usually hype the wrong teams is because we’re looking in the wrong places. There are obvious reasons we overhype teams: Quite often, things that win football games can be boring. I remember talking to someone at the Eagles after their Super Bowl run about how they did it. I had named all sorts of reasons they were good—their depth, their nearly flawless salary cap management, their general plan and use of analytics. The person stopped me and acknowledged that all of those things contributed to the Super Bowl, but the key to that whole team was building through the offensive and defensive lines. He was right, of course, but it’s hard to put Jason Kelce and Brandon Brooks on a magazine cover, even if we should. So here we are. Hype is mostly a victimless crime—although there’s evidence that expectations might cost GMs and coaches jobs when it goes south, as it may have with Kitchens and Dorsey.
It’s about the QB and the coach, but it’s also about the money. Patrick Mahomes set a tone with his 10-year contract extension earlier this summer: What was important to him, in his own words, was “chasing a dynasty.” That approach allowed the Chiefs, who one Monday in March had as little as $177 in salary-cap space, to sign Mahomes, Chris Jones and Travis Kelce to contract extensions in recent weeks. NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo, a friend of The MMQB, reported that those three contract extensions added only $8 million to the team’s payroll in 2020. Of course, team-friendly contracts, specifically Brady’s willingness to take them, were one factor in New England’s dynastic team-building. Mahomes has taken a similar tack. He committed himself to K.C. through 2031 rather than insisting on a shorter-term deal that would allow him to cash in again at whatever the new top of the market spikes to a few years from now, after the influx of money from new TV deals and legalized gambling. There are many factors that go into any negotiation, and it’s clear that one big factor for Mahomes was to keep the kind of supporting cast that will allow him to add more rings.
13 Chad Henne
Kansas City Chiefs · 13th year
Andy Reid named Henne the backup quarterback early in camp, designating Matt Moore the No. 3 option. He’s thrown five passes in the last five seasons, but the Reid seal of approval carries weight in these parts.
Clyde Edwards-Helaire, RB, Kansas City Chiefs
Drafted: Round 1, No. 32 overall, out of LSU.
Best-case scenario: He fills the role that Brian Westbrook played in Andy Reid’s offense back in their days with the Eagles. Edwards-Helaire not only has an impact running the football but collects a lot of easy receptions, too, on an offense with so much speed.
Worst-case scenario: With Patrick Mahomes continuing to improve — a scary thought, I know — the prospect of running the football might not be very enticing. Keep in mind that Kansas City didn’t have anyone rush for over 500 yards last season. If this scenario plays out, Edwards-Helaire should still see plenty of opportunities to make plays in the passing game.
Projected stats: 800 rushing yards, 5 rushing TDs; 50 catches, 600 yards, 5 receiving TDs.
Around the NFL
Rivera, 58, will continue coaching this season, per Garafolo. In a statement released by the team, Rivera’s cancer is in an early stage and is considered very treatable and curable, which provides a good prognosis for the coach. The team also announced a “Plan B” is in place if it is determined that Rivera should take some time off.
Bryant arrived in Baltimore on Monday and underwent two days of coronavirus testing before his tryout. Wide receiver Dwayne Harris, a Pro Bowl special-teams player in 2016, also had a tryout with Baltimore on Thursday.
Harris also did not sign with the Ravens on Thursday, a source told ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler.
The Ravens attempted to sign Bryant in April 2018. However, he turned down a multiyear offer from the team then because he wanted a one-year deal and a chance to prove himself, in hopes of getting a bigger long-term deal in 2019, according to ESPN’s Ed Werder.
1. Alex Smith, Washington
Odds to win CPOY: +450
I’m personally surprised that Alex Smith isn’t the betting favorite to win this award at the moment. The storyline is unfolding perfectly for the Washington quarterback and if the season ended today, he’d be a lock for the accolade. He was just recently cleared for football activities, 21 months after suffering a compound leg fracture that nearly cost him his life. Smith is taking part in training camp and looks to be a factor in the quarterback room in 2020, which already makes this a fantastic story of mental and physical fortitude regardless if he wins the award or not.
Of course, what may keep him from winning could simply come down to playing time. Second-year quarterback Dwayne Haskins will be the starter as Washington begins the 2020 season and if other players around the league have more on-field production, it could take Smith out of the running. That said, if the players on this list have seasons that don’t necessarily jump off the page and Smith somehow finds himself playing at any point (Week 17?), you can just give him the award on the spot.
In case you missed it at Arrowhead Pride
The team also announced that it will engage in a “thorough review process” of the Chop:
• We are engaged in a thorough review process of the Arrowhead Chop and plan to have additional discussions in the future.
• We are exploring all options for a modified engagement moment from the Drum Deck that maintains a unifying effect between our fans and our players but better represents the spiritual significance of the drum in American Indian cultures.
• This includes discussions around how to shift the focus of the drum to something that symbolizes the heartbeat of the stadium.
• As allowed by NFL guidelines and the City of Kansas City Health Department for the coronavirus-impacted 2020 season, we will continue with many of the traditions that we have introduced over the past six years, including the Blessing of the Four Directions, the Blessing of the Drum, as well as inviting members of tribes with a historic connection to our region to participate in our American Indian Heritage Month Game.
A tweet to make you think
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