Due $14.55 million in base salary this upcoming season, Mathieu is entering the last year of his contract. The 29-year-old Mathieu is currently the fifth-highest-paid safety in terms of total value at $42 million and sixth in average per year at $14 million. While still playing at a high level, it’s questionable that the perennial Super Bowl contenders would present Mathieu with another lucrative deal.
The franchise’s face is certainly stumping for him, though.
“He’s such a great leader on this team and obviously a special football player,” Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes said Thursday. “You want him to be here for the long run and you can tell that Chiefs Kingdom is really behind him as the leader of that defense and a leader on this team. Definitely want him to be here as long as he can and as long as I’m here.”
This will mark the second year of the contest after a wildly popular inaugural season in 2020 that awarded 32 fans – one from every team – with various opportunities of a lifetime. That will once again be the case this time around, too, as each team’s nominee will enjoy a variety of prizes, including exclusive interactions with former players and a chance to attend Super Bowl LVI. It all builds up to the ultimate winner being crowned the league’s “Fan of the Year” during the NFL Honors ceremony in February.
Just last year, the Chiefs recognized Roger McCush - a cancer survivor who now spends his retirement teaching special needs youth – as their nominee for the national contest, ultimately providing him with the opportunity to announce the team’s fifth-round draft pick in Cleveland.
It’s simply a chance to show the rest of the league just how special Chiefs Kingdom really is. To enter or to nominate an individual who you believe deserves to be the Chiefs’ representative for the NFL “Fan of the Year” contest, visit NFL.com/FanoftheYear between now and Sept. 20.
Kansas City Chiefs: Edge Joshua Kaindoh
The Kansas City Chiefs could miss departed edge defender Tanoh Kpassagnon, who was an underrated presence on defense the last couple of seasons in Kansas City. But while they don’t likely expect rookie fourth-round pick Joshua Kaindoh to immediately provide an upgrade over Kpassagnon, he possesses the ability to do it.
“He is a talented, long, strong and bursty defensive end prospect who did not meet his potential at the college level after playing for three coaching staffs and suffering injuries,” Bleacher Report NFL Scout Justis Mosqueda wrote of Kaindoh this offseason. “From a traits perspective, he has upside at a position where pass-rushing upside is almost the only factor, which is why he’ll be given the opportunity to be a better professional player than a college player.”
When Mahomes made his 20-0 comment at the start of June, he clarified it a couple of days later but didn’t walk it back.
Since then, his teammates have bought in, and the mentality of shooting for perfection was running through the squad as minicamps came to a close and players returned home before full training camp begins next month.
“We got to look forward to the future, and the future is what Patrick Mahomes said,” Hill told the media. “20-0 — that’s what we are aiming for.”
“We are going to try to win every single game, and with that mentality, the sky is the limit,” Kelce added.
Aiming for 20-0 and having the swagger to talk about it isn’t something that needs to be apologized for. Indeed, it’s an appropriate goal for a team that was imperious a year ago, right up until the time when it mattered most.
Around the NFL
“Hi, I’m Cole Beasley, and I’m not vaccinated!” wrote the veteran wideout, who earned second-team All-Pro honors in 2020. “I will be outside doing what I do. I’ll be out in the public. If (you’re) scared of me, then steer clear, or get vaccinated. Point. Blank. Period. I may die of COVID, but I’d rather die actually living ... I don’t play for the money anymore. Fine me if you want. My way of living and my values are more important to me than a dollar.
“I love my teammates and enjoy playing ball because all the outside BS goes out the window in these moments,” he continued. “I just want to win the Super Bowl and enjoy these relationships that will be created along the way. I’m not going to take meds for a leg that isn’t broken. I’d rather take my chances with COVID and build up my immunity that way ... That is my choice based on my experiences and what I think is best. I’ll play for free this year to live life the way I’ve lived it from Day 1. If I’m forced into retirement, so be it. I’ve enjoyed the times I’ve had ... So either way, it’s a win-win.”
Second-year guard Kevin Dotson, a 2020 fourth-round pick, is currently penciled in as the Steelers starting left guard, with three-time All-Pro David DeCastro locked into the right guard spot. Turner, 28, represents potential competition on the inside, though it’s unclear if a contract with Pittsburgh is imminent.
A third-round pick of the Panthers in 2014, Turner was traded from Carolina to the Chargers in a straight-up swap for left tackle Russell Okung last offseason. Injuries limited him to nine starts with Los Angeles in 2020, and he hasn’t played a full season in five years. But he also boasts one of the more accomplished resumes of any lineman still on the market. Considered one of the game’s top run blockers at his peak, Turner made five consecutive Pro Bowls from 2015-2019 in Carolina, earning a five-year, $45 million extension with the Panthers.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers general manager Jason Licht has said he’d let the ageless champion play until he’s 50.
Even for the all-time great, that might be stretching it a bit, however. Brady has two seasons left on his recently signed extension with the Buccaneers and intends to make a decision on what’s to become of the most successful career in NFL history after that.
“50? That’s a long time. Even for me, that’s a long time,” Brady told USA Today recently, via Jori Epstein. “I’ve always said 45 was the age that I wanted to reach and that was my goal. This year I’ll be 44, so next year I’ll be 45. I got a two-year contract.
“I’m going to be able to obviously play this year and God forbid anything happens, but play next year and then see what happens after that. If I still want to keep playing, I might be able to do that. And if that’s enough, then that would be enough.”
In case you missed it at Arrowhead Pride
1. There’s no doubt that the Chiefs have elite No. 1 and No. 2 receiving targets in Kelce and Hill.
2. Sammy Watkins wasn’t some super-reliable and productive “running mate opposite Hill” that can’t be replaced.
3. The Chiefs and Patrick Mahomes will spread the targets around among several receivers, so they really didn’t need Watkins to be too much more than what he was.
4. It also shows that Robinson and Hardman are likely to continue to be substantial parts of the wide receiver group. They both have an argument to make that they — not Watkins — were the third receiving target after Hill and Kelce.
5. Everyone else is a wide receiver-by-committee. There could be three or four guys who share the roughly 170 available targets, which means each could have 400-600 yards and three touchdowns.
6. So, there is no No. 2 wide receiver, and maybe there never was.
A tweet to make you think
UDFA Safety Devon Key continues to get hype from plugged-in #Chiefs sources . He was one of the few UDFAs I couldn’t find a lot of film or video of, but I’m tempted go back and watch some Western Kentucky games now— Ron Kopp Jr. (@Ron_Kopp) June 17, 2021
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