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Arrowheadlines: Alex Smith recalls the time when he realized Patrick Mahomes was ‘different’

Chiefs headlines for Thursday, February 18

NFL: Oakland Raiders at Kansas City Chiefs Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

The latest

Alex Smith recalls the time he knew Patrick Mahomes was different | The Ringer

The biggest offseason question for every NFL team | YardBarker

Kansas City: Was the Super Bowl a blip, or a sign of a deeper issue?

Patrick Mahomes’ worst game came behind an offensive line missing both starting tackles, against a defense peaking at the right time. Kansas City will presumably have Eric Fisher and Mitchell Schwartz back and fully healthy for 2021, but will the Chiefs go for some extra offensive line depth, anyway? If they don’t, and instead try to grab another wide receiver, it might be a sign that the Super Bowl was a perfect storm, where everything that could go wrong did. If for some reason the offensive line issues are more than just a byproduct of injuries, Kansas City must address them in the draft.

Chiefs Named ‘Dream Landing Spot’ for Elite Free Agent WR | Heavy.com

“Obviously, it’s against the grain because I think this team needs offensive line help, they need some help on defense, etc,” Eager explained to co-host George Chahrouri on Sunday. “But we really saw in the Super Bowl without a third option, they had a difficult time going up against elite caliber defenses. In the previous Super Bowl, they emerged victorious against a great defense with a third option. There’s tons of them available here. I think coming off of an injury, I think being a contested-catch guy, being a red zone guy — somewhere the Chiefs have really struggled — Kenny Golladay [in] Kansas City.”

NFL free agents, 2021 cap space, cut candidates and franchise tags for all 32 teams: Guide to offseason | ESPN

Prominent free agents: WR Sammy Watkins, CB Bashaud Breeland, S Daniel Sorensen, C Austin Reiter, WR Demarcus Robinson, DL Mike Pennel, DE Tanoh Kpassagnon, G Kelechi Osemele, RB Le’Veon Bell

Potential cut candidates: LB Anthony Hitchens (saves $2.2 million), OT Eric Fisher (saves $12 million), OT Mitchell Schwartz (saves $6.1 million)

What you need to know: The Chiefs worked a bunch of salary-cap magic last offseason to keep their Super Bowl champion team together, and they might well do similar work this offseason to try to run it back with a group that got within one game of a repeat. Won’t be easy. Even if they don’t want to cut the aforementioned tackles, theirs are among the contracts that will need to be restructured in order to create cap room.

2021 NFL Mock Draft: Dolphins get Tua Tagovailoa a major weapon, Jets secure a QB and RB in Round 1 | CBS Sports

Gregory Rousseau EDGE

Kansas City

They didn’t get enough edge pressure all season long. Frank Clark was a disappointment and that unit needs help. Playing with leads means you need guys like Rousseau to influence the quarterback.

NFL mock draft: Five QBs in the first round, including for Jets, Saints and Washington | Washington Post

31. Kansas City Chiefs: Alex Leatherwood, OL, Alabama

The Chiefs couldn’t block Tampa Bay in their Super Bowl defeat. Even though starting tackles Eric Fisher and Mitchell Schwartz will be back next season, this unit needs better depth.

Around the NFL

Jacksonville Jaguars announce primary uniform switch from black to teal | NFL.com

The Jaguars have heard their fans and are pivoting back to their proper look as they turn the page to a new era in Duval.

Jacksonville is switching its primary home uniform color from black to teal, the team announced Wednesday.

Alex Smith feels he has ‘a lot of room for growth’ on field after 2020 comeback | NFL.com

“I had no idea how my leg and body would respond to the combination of being out for two years and the injury and the limb salvage and all that stuff; I’ve got to wear a brace to do anything,” Smith explained during an appearance on 10 Questions with Kyle Brandt. “I had no idea how I would respond to that. It’s one thing to go out one day and roll, but could I do it over the course of the season?

Allen Robinson, Bears haven’t had contract talks since September as tag deadline approaches | NFL.com

Last week in an interview with SiriusXM NFL Radio, the Bears receiver said there was an “open line of communication” with the club but noted that sides hadn’t spoken for “some time.”

That some time is apparently months.

NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero reported Tuesday on NFL NOW that no talks on a long-term contract extension between the Bears and Robinson have taken place since September.

“That would certainly seem to bring the (franchise) tag into play,” Pelissero noted. “Whether it is the Bears to try to do an extension, whether it is setting up Robinson to play on the tag, or maybe even a tag-and-trade scenario.”

In case you missed it on Arrowhead Pride

Moves the Chiefs could make to close 2021’s salary-cap gap

Tyrann Mathieu

It’s likely that Kansas City will want to extend its star safety — one of the team’s most significant defensive players — before he enters the final season of his current contract. Mathieu carries a cap hit of $19.7 million this year, including a base salary of $14.5 million and a workout bonus of $250,000 — so any extension will have to pay him at least that much in 2021.

The Chiefs might not want to sign Mathieu — who will be 29 this season — to an extension of more than three years, so a deal that paid him a signing bonus of $14 million on top of a $1 million base salary would give him a cap hit of $9.5 million this season. (Mathieu already carries a $4.9 million bonus charge from his original three-year contract).

So the total cap savings for this year would be somewhere around $10 million.

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