On Wednesday, NFL.com’s Judy Battista departed what she said has been a staple of her column during this spring.
We’ve spent a lot of time this offseason contemplating the unhappiness of quarterbacks. From Matthew Stafford and Carson Wentz (traded and traded) to Deshaun Watson (trade demanded and subsequent serious legal issues) and Aaron Rodgers (discontent and subsequent stalemate), their dismay at the direction of their teams has shaped the NFL conversation for nearly six months.
So Battista sought to find the NFL quarterbacks whose teams have made them the happiest since the 2020 season ended — the teams that “did right by their quarterbacks.” And why shouldn’t Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes top her list of eight?
1. Kansas City Chiefs
The entire world saw how poorly the Chiefs protected Patrick Mahomes in the Super Bowl, but it’s hard to imagine another performance like that happening. They signed guard Joe Thuney to a massive contract, drew guard Kyle Long from retirement, made a blockbuster trade for Orlando Brown to protect Mahomes’ blindside, and then drafted two linemen, including Creed Humphrey in the second round. All are projected to start, along with Mike Remmers, who returns to play right tackle. It’s impossible to overstate Mahomes’ brilliance. And also how well the Chiefs are run.
Battista picked the Los Angeles Chargers, New York Giants and Miami Dolphins after Kansas City.
There’s a school of thought that a man who signed a $500 million contract to play football might always be the happiest player in the league. But even then, pride counts for a lot. It’s undoubtedly true that Mahomes — and the Chiefs — felt embarrassed by what happened after their fourth starting offensive lineman was lost during the AFC championship game. And Battista is right: taking the team’s offseason moves at face value, the performance the world watched in Super Bowl LV is unlikely to happen again.
Battista is figuring that Long will return to his All-Pro form and take the starting job away from Laurent Duvernary-Tardif — and also that Remmers will start over rookie Lucas Niang. Whether that’s what will actually happen is open to question — but there can be little doubt that from the top to the bottom of the team’s offensive line group, there should be a substantial improvement over 2020.
And that certainly will make Mahomes happy. He sure talked like it on Thursday.
“You just want to be able to build depth,” he told reporters. “I think that’s the biggest thing: they got a lot of good guys — and brought back a lot of good guys — to put in that O-Line room. The competition is high every single day. I feel like we had guys that were good guys in that room last year — but to continue to add and add more and more talented guys? That brings out the best. And I think that’s what you want in any team: a winning culture that you have to win your spot every single day — and come in with that mindset of, ‘I have to get better,’ because that’s what brings out the best in everybody.”