24. JuJu Smith-Schuster, WR, Kansas City Chiefs
2022 salary: $2.9 million
Age entering 2023 season: 26
Why he could get paid: Smith-Schuster is a physical player. He’s a slot target — with the ability to flex outside — who can work the dirty areas of field. And he’s more explosive than most believe, with a skill set to produce after the catch. Smith-Schuster has 46 catches for 615 yards and a pair of TD receptions this season and reached 900 receiving yards with seven or more touchdowns in all three seasons in which he played at least 15-plus games. — Bowen
Will he re-sign in Kansas City? Smith-Schuster can be productive, but with consistency concerns, an injury history and limited ability to separate downfield, I don’t believe Kansas City will re-sign him. — Tannenbaum
1 - Patrick Mahomes
Kansas City Chiefs · Year 6
2022 stats: 9 games | 66.9 pct | 2,936 pass yds | 8.0 ypa | 25 pass TD | 7 INT | 215 rush yds | 1 rush TD | 3 fumbles
Mahomes spun jazz against the Jaguars, throwing for 331 yards and four touchdowns in a squeaky-clean performance highlighted by a hoppity-hop waltz into the end zone by tantalizing new hire Kadarius Toney. In a year where premier quarterback play remains elusive, Mahomes continues to dial up glory. He’s burned bright on the ground over the past two weeks, too, putting up 100-plus yards on dashes through waves of defenders. His slump-proof play sets Mahomes apart from anyone else mentioned in this NFL.com paperless offering.
1 - Patrick Mahomes
KANSAS CITY CHIEFS QB
This kid (OK, he’s not a kid anymore) is just so automatic. No one even dares blink an eye when he casually throws four TDs (he’s quietly on pace for close to 50 this season). The ball security has been better than a year ago, and he’s still unmatched as an artist of situational production.
QB Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City Chiefs
Week 10 stats: 91.4 PFF grade | 0.62 EPA per play
Season to date: 90.8 PFF grade | 0.28 EPA per play
Mahomes is now the clear favorite, as he has individual stats and team success. He also has an easier schedule of remaining defenses than Josh Allen and Tua Tagovailoa. It doesn’t mean that he has already won it, but it’s definitely his award to lose right now.
Kansas City Chiefs (-6.5) at Los Angeles Chargers
Kansas City Chiefs -5.5
This is basically to decide the division for the Chiefs. Win it, and it’s theirs. Lose, and it’s a race. The Chiefs are riding high on offense right now and I think that will show up. Patrick Mahomes will get the best of it against Justin Herbert.
Pick: Chiefs 35, Chargers 27
Offensive lineman Laurent Duvernay-Tardif is working out for the New York Jets on Wednesday and could sign to the practice squad, NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported, per a source informed of the situation.
LDT paused his NFL career over the summer while beginning a medical residency program at a Montreal-area hospital. With the residency over, he’s now ready for a possible return.
Duvernay-Tardif was the first player to opt out of the 2020 season when he left the Kansas City Chiefs to help aid the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. The guard wouldn’t play another snap for the Chiefs and was traded to the Jets last fall.
Total yards allowed per game: 356.1 (20th)
Points allowed per game: 25.3 (29th)
Passing yards allowed per game: 209.3 (13th)
Rushing yards allowed per game: 146.8 (30th)
Tackles: S Derwin James - 85
Tackles for loss: EDGE Khalil Mack - Nine
Sacks: EDGE Khalil Mack - Seven
Passes Defended: CB Asante Samuel Jr. - Seven
Interceptions: CB Bryce Callahan - Two
Forced fumbles: EDGE Khalil Mack - Two
Fumble recoveries: EDGE Khalil Mack - Two
The Black College Football Hall of Fame, celebrating players and coaches attending Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), announced 25 finalists (21 players and 4 coaches) for the class of 2023 on Tuesday.
“A big thank you to the selection committee for their dedication and hard work in selecting this year’s finalists. The one common thread the committee found among this year’s finalists is football reveals character and the character of this year’s finalists is at the top of the list,” said Committee Chairman Charlie Neal in the BCHOF press release.
Albert Lewis is among the 21 former players announced as a finalist for the upcoming class. This is the fourth consecutive year that Lewis has been selected as a finalist for the Black College Football Hall of Fame.
Around the NFL
But in recent weeks, there’s been another quarterback who’s taken the league by storm with his legs, taking Jackson’s crown as the most electric runner in the NFL: Chicago’s Justin Fields.
Don’t get me wrong, Jackson is still 1B to Fields’ 1A, but right now, the Bears’ second-year passer is outdoing even Jackson in the ground game, running over opponents with ease on a weekly basis. Two weeks ago, Fields set an NFL record with 178 rush yards against the Dolphins, the most ever by an NFL quarterback in a regular-season game, and his 61-yard touchdown run was the longest TD run by a Bears quarterback in franchise history. His smirk in reply to Miami coach Mike McDaniel’s sideline plea to Fields to stop scrambling pretty much told the story.
Then last week, Fields gashed the Detroit Lions for 147 yards and two touchdowns, including a 67-yard TD run, which bested his record from the week prior. This season, Fields ranks sixth in the NFL with 749 rushing yards (most among QBs).
Washington coach Ron Rivera said while Wentz was cleared to start throwing, he has not yet been designated to return to practice. Because of that, Rivera said Heinicke will continue to start. Rivera hasn’t said who will start when Wentz is ready to practice and play.
Washington (5-5) has gone 3-1 with Heinicke starting at quarterback entering Sunday’s game at the Houston Texans.
“We have time,” Rivera said. “[Heinicke] has done some good things and we’ll see what happens this week. It’s not just about the individual as much as [how] it affects the team. Having this situation is a pretty good one; it’s a good problem to have.”
In case you missed it on Arrowhead Pride
Outside of the loyal fans that make up “Chiefs Kingdom,” this was not the expectation in the offseason — especially after the team traded away wide receiver Tyreek Hill. NFL fans and analysts believed it was a sign that the almighty Chiefs were fine with sacrificing short-term success for a longer-term plan.
Chiefs head coach Andy Reid never gave that consideration.
When the Hill trade went through, the expectations for the team remained the same — and Reid never felt the need to remind his players of the unconditionally-high expectations.
“I think the players know how we roll, and you don’t really have to say that,” Reid told reporters during his press conference on Wednesday. “I’m glad [Tyreek Hill is] having a good year, that’s great for the National Football League and it’s great for him and his family. I’m happy for him, and that’s the way we approach it. We also have good players, and Brett does it as well as anybody: finding people that he thinks will fit the offense, defense, or special teams. We have full trust in him as a coaching staff.”
A tweet to make you think
Mike Williams and Keenan Allen both back at practice working through individual drills pic.twitter.com/53SOwGBO9n— Bridget Condon (@BridgetCondon_) November 16, 2022