To honor the Independence Day holiday, our Matt Stagner began the week with some Kansas City Chiefs declarations.
2. We hold this truth to be self-evident: that not all quarterbacks are created equal. Patrick Mahomes was endowed by his Creator with certain God-given talents that could make him the greatest of all time. To secure his rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of Lombardi trophies, the Chiefs have continued to build around Mahomes, providing new Guards for his future security. The Chiefs know their championship window is open with Mahomes, Kelce, Hill, Clyde and others, and they appear determined not to waste it.
Tuesday brought news that a New England Patriots receiver wants out of Boston.
Harry — who is 6 feet 4 and 225 pounds — certainly fits the physical mold Kansas City has sought in a wide receiver after Sammy Watkins departed in free agency. As a former first-round pick who hasn’t stuck with his first team — over two seasons in New England, he’s had just 45 receptions for 414 yards and four touchdowns (one of them against the Chiefs) — his circumstances are also similar to other players Kansas City general manager Brett Veach has pursued.
But would the Chiefs be willing to pay what the Patriots might want in exchange for Harry, whose contract will leave $4.1 million in dead money for them to absorb? That remains to be seen.
As always, much will depend on an unknown factor: how did Veach evaluate Harry before the 2019 draft — in which the Chiefs had no first-round pick and then selected wide receiver Mecole Hardman in the second round?
If Harry were a player Veach would have loved to get, the odds are pretty good that Kansas City’s GM has already been on the phone.
Then after a batch of NFL insiders voted Kansas City defensive tackle Chris Jones among the league’s ten best interior defenders, John Dixon noticed some other things.
But what I found most interesting about this top 10 list is one of the players who isn’t on it: new Chiefs defensive tackle Jarran Reed, whom Kansas City signed from the Seattle Seahawks last season. Fowler noted that Reed was among the interior defensive linemen who also received votes for the top 10.
That’s intriguing because on Monday — when Fowler released his NFL insiders ranking for the top 10 edge rushers — another Chiefs defender was just outside that group.
This tells us that outside of Kansas City — where Clark’s big contract doesn’t receive as much attention as it does among Chiefs fans who believe he is overpaid — he is still seen as an effective defensive end. Among the very best? No. But he is still someone for whom opposing offenses must account.
And now we know that other teams see Reed the same way: not among the very best players at his position, but someone to whom they must pay attention.
On Wednesday, John turned his attention to the first anniversary of the Kansas City quarterback’s 10-year contract extension.
Maybe it was just blind luck that brought this young man to the Chiefs. Or maybe the football gods decided that after so many years of angst about their team’s most important player, Chiefs fans were finally entitled to some measure of peace.
But peace is exactly what they have.
Imagine how a 31-9 Super Bowl loss would have felt with any other quarterback under center. It wasn’t very many years ago that Kansas City fans would have demanded that multiple heads should roll. But since February, the reaction has been more like, “Ehhh. We’ll get ‘em next year.”
If history has taught us anything, it’s that the coming years won’t be perfect. There will be years when Mahomes is hurt — or doesn’t play up to his usual standard. Supporting casts and coaches will change. But we’re finally at a place where we can say, “Ehhh. We’ll get ‘em next year.” And mean it.
On Thursday morning, we got an advance look about a Mahomes interview that would appear on “NFL Total Access” that night.
Mahomes told Claybon that despite the injury, his offseason approach has differed little from what he’s done for previous seasons.
“It’s different in the sense that you don’t have the parades and all that different type of stuff,” he said. “But I think the beautiful thing about the NFL is every single year, you start from scratch. You have to come in, you have to put in the work to try to get to the big game and try to win it. And so for us, win or lose that Super Bowl the last two years, we still have that same mentality: we’re going to start from scratch and build and try to find a way to get back to that game.”
Then Ron Kopp highlighted one of the conversations he and Matt Stagner had during this week’s Arrowhead Pride “Out of Structure” podcast.
There’s a lot of value in getting the three young players this early starting experience. It allows them to learn from their rookie mistakes and be more capable during their second or third seasons. This also accelerates the team’s process to determine if they’ll be worth extending at the end of their rookie contracts.
Besides that, the talent of the three veterans isn’t incredibly superior to the talent of the three rookies. Are the Chiefs gaining that much of a short-term advantage by starting the veterans? They may be more comfortable taking on NFL defensive linemen or playing in Andy Reid’s complex system — but we still aren’t talking about a vast difference in talent.
Matt and I agreed that this season, we’d rather see the rookies get their shot — and live with the ups and downs that come with it.
Thursday also brought us a look at the Kansas City tight end’s exploits as a quarterback in high school and college.
It is relatively well known among the team’s fans that Kansas City Chiefs All-Pro tight end Travis Kelce began his football career as a quarterback at Cleveland Heights High School. He was a three-year letterman at the position, with a combined 2,539 yards from scrimmage as a senior.
Those numbers make plenty of sense when you go to the tape:
Kelce tallied 1,016 yards rushing, 1,523 passing yards and 31 total touchdowns. He went on to play college football at Cincinnati, where he was used as a quarterback in Wildcat formations during his redshirt freshman season before he was transitioned to a full-time tight end.
Kelce had one pass at Cincinnati over the three seasons he played (2009, 2011-12), a 39-yard trick-play touchdown to quarterback Brendon Kay in 2012.
I know there’s no surprise here: the MVP, the Super Bowl LIV MVP, the quarterback that threw for 5,000 yards and 50 touchdowns in his first season as a starter. Mahomes would hold the top spot on an all-time list of Chiefs players — and he’s still only 25 years old.
We all know the abysmal play in Super Bowl LV wasn’t Mahomes’ fault. He actually played well, considering the pressure he had to face and his receivers failing him in a few different ways. It doesn’t matter, though: Mahomes is taking that 22-point loss personally, and it’s going to be a problem for the rest of the league in 2021.
Not much else to say besides some advice: Get to the nearest sportsbook and bet on Mahomes to win MVP in 2021. I believe we’re about to witness the best season of his young career.
The week concluded with not-so-good news about Clark.
Kansas City Chiefs defensive end Frank Clark has been charged with felony possession of an assault weapon stemming from his March arrest — not his June arrest — according to the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office. Clark’s arraignment is set for Wednesday, July 14.
The story of Clark’s charge was first reported by TMZ Sports but incorrectly stated it stemmed from the June 20 arrest.
As first noted by Sam McDowell of The Kansas City Star, Clark was arrested in March on a gun charge during a traffic stop. He was then arrested again in mid-June for illegal firearm possession.