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Arrowheadlines: Bengals cornerback says a Chiefs ‘tell’ gave them away

Chiefs headlines for Thursday, February 10

AFC Championship - Cincinnati Bengals v Kansas City Chiefs Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images

The latest

Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy’s contract expiring | NFL.com

Longtime Kansas City Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy was unable to land a head coaching job this cycle, but that doesn’t necessarily mean he’ll be back in K.C. for the 2022 NFL season.

Bieniemy’s contract with the Chiefs is expiring, NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero reported Monday. Bieniemy could return to the Chiefs for a fifth season or he could become a “hot free-agent OC,” Pelissero added.

Bieniemy, 52, most recently interviewed with the New Orleans Saints for their vacant head coaching job, but the team’s defensive coordinator Dennis Allen is being hired in NOLA and the Houston Texans have reached a deal with their defensive coordinator, Lovie Smith, to be their new head coach. Thusly, Bieniemy has been passed over for a head coaching opportunity once again.

Nick Jacobs: Chiefs free agents to re-sign, move on from in 2022 | KSHB 41 News

The Kansas City Chiefs enter the offseason with 24 unrestricted free agents, one restricted free agent and three exclusive-rights free agents.

Overall, the Chiefs have 39 players under contract but must make a decision about those other 28 players to before they hit the open market when the new NFL league year begins in March.

Here are my thoughts on what the Chiefs should do with those free agents:

2022 Chiefs free-agent projections

Retain these free agents (7) ...

DE Melvin Ingram

This one may take a bit to resolve because there is a chance that Ingram may have enjoyed letting his body rest during OTAs and minicamp last offseason. He might want to sit out that portion of the offseason again before enduring the grind of training camp. Ingram still has pass-rushing production left in a rotational basis.

LT Orlando Brown Jr.

Brown will be one of the top three tackles on a weak tackle market and will likely command $20 million per year. He would find a new team within the first couple of days in free agency, so the Chiefs would be wise to at least place a franchise tag on him and buy time to negotiate a long-term deal or weigh a possible trade offer they couldn’t refuse.

Study reveals that the Kansas City Chiefs have a strong following in Iceland | Kansas City Star

If you had to pick one European nation that has the strongest support for the Chiefs, would Iceland have even made your top five? Or top 10?

But according to a study, the “land of fire and ice” supports the Chiefs over any other NFL team.

Time2play says it analyzed search-engine information for 33 European nations over the past year from a company called Ahrefs. That search information was used to determine which NFL teams garner the most and second-most interest in each European country.

In addition to being big in Iceland, the Chiefs were second to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in France, Switzerland and Finland.

Are the Kansas City Chiefs the team to beat in the AFC next season? | Fox Sports

While it might be hard to envision the Chiefs in a positive light following their stunning loss to the Bengals in the AFC Championship — a game in which they led 21-3 going into halftime — there is reason to still have faith in them in 2022, starting with Mahomes.

Over the past four seasons, Mahomes leads the NFL in passing yards (18,707) and passing touchdowns (151), all while guiding the Chiefs to 49 wins as the starter and also hosting four straight AFC Championship Games.

Mahomes will also have his two favorite pass-catchers under contract for next season, Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce.

During the Chiefs’ magical four-year run in the AFC, Hill and Kelce have been among the most dominant offensive weapons in the NFL.

Kelce is third in receptions since 2018 (397), while Hill is seventh (343). Hill is also fourth in receiving yards (4,854) and second in receiving touchdowns (43), while Kelce is second (5,106) and sixth (35) in both respective categories.

Bengals’ Apple: Chiefs had a ‘tell,’ so Cincy knew what was coming in the second half | Kansas City Star

Bengals cornerback Eli Apple said in an interview on GoLongTD.com that the Chiefs were pressing after not scoring on the final possession of the first half. And in the second half, they had a “tell” that let the Bengals know before the snap how they would be attacked.

When the Chiefs had to punt for the first time on their opening possession of the third quarter, Apple said he could feel momentum shifting.

“I was like, All right now, they’re going to feel like, ‘Oh (shoot). We made a mistake.’ And they’d start pressing. And they did,” Apple told Tyler Dunne.

“They got cocky. They wanted to pass. They wanted Mahomes to have the ball in his hands to get rid of us. We knew the concepts that were coming at us. Before the snap, we had a tell of what they were going to do, and then it was about beating their guys to that spot and competing for the ball. And our D-Line played really great in making sure he wasn’t comfortable in the pocket when he was trying to scramble and stuff. They’re one of those teams that knows what they want to do. Especially when they’re in dropback mode. There’s only so many things they can do with different sets. It’s just about their athletes being fast and our athletes being fast, too. Who can keep up with who?”

Randy Moss Puts Chiefs WR Tyreek Hill on Blast for on Camera Incident | Heavy

Tyreek Hill losing the “Fastest Man” skills challenge for the 2022 Pro Bowl irked those watching, especially after he tried to explain away why he lost the race intentionally. That’s why Hall of Fame wide receiver Randy Moss put the Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver on blast for his antics.

During his segment “C’Mon, Man!” on ESPN, Moss called out Hill, making fun of him for dumping beer all over himself on camera at the NHL All-Star game.

“I love you, Tyreek Hill, but are you really faster than the whole National Football League? I don’t even think you’re faster than me, my man,” Moss said.

“In my prime, I would have lit Tyreek up,” Moss then claimed in response to Booger McFarland questioning Moss’ statement.

Around the NFL

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell says league, not Commanders, will conduct investigation into new allegations | NFL.com

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said at his Wednesday news conference ahead of Super Bowl LVI that the league will conduct an independent investigation into new workplace misconduct allegations made last week against Washington Commanders owner Dan Snyder by Tiffani Johnston, a former team employee.

“I think we treat that very seriously, and we need to look into that,” Goodell said. “We’ll obviously do an investigation. We’ve said that from Day 1, that we will look into this and do an investigation. We need to understand what really, truly happened in those circumstances, and treat that in the best and most serious way we can to make sure we preserve the type of culture we want in the NFL.”

Earlier Wednesday, the Commanders said in a statement that they had appointed an investigative group to look into the allegations made by Johnston. However, shortly after the announcement, the NFL said the “league, not the team, will conduct an independent investigation and will be retaining an investigator to determine the facts shortly.”

Goodell reiterated the NFL’s stance during his news conference, saying he doesn’t “see any way that the team can do its own investigation of itself.”

‘It’s just uncanny’: How the Bengals’ Joe Burrow and Ja’Marr Chase formed their unstoppable connection | ESPN

CINCINNATI — During one practice this season, something didn’t feel right between Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow and wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase.

A couple of passes missed the mark. So, the two stayed after for four or five extra throws. Chase instructed Burrow where to put the ball, and Burrow, the most accurate passer in the NFL this season, obliged. The next ball hit Chase right in the hands.

“That’s the throw,” Chase said. “That’s the one.”

The connection between Burrow and Chase, which goes back to their days at LSU, has been the backbone to Cincinnati’s run to Super Bowl LVI. The pairing has lifted the Bengals to their best season in 33 years. Years of work have formed one of the most unique quarterback-receiver partnerships in NFL history.

In two seasons at LSU and one in Cincinnati, Burrow and Chase have combined for 206 catches for 3,801 yards and 37 touchdowns. The combination has already led to one championship: LSU’s 2019 national title.

On Sunday against the Los Angeles Rams (6:30 p.m. ET, NBC), the two will have a chance to win another.

“Everything’s an opportunity,” Chase said after the Bengals secured their first Super Bowl appearance since 1989. “We keep having opportunities in front of us and we keep taking advantage of them. We have one more chance.”

Commissioner Roger Goodell: NFL to re-examine everything related to diversity, hiring of minority head coaches | NFL.com

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said Wednesday that the league plans to reevaluate everything it is doing as it pertains to diversity and the hiring of minority head coaches, including re-examining the Rooney Rule.

“What we’re going to do is step back and look at everything we’re doing today, reevaluate that, everything from looking at the Rooney Rule and what changes should be made with that, or should it be removed, as some people have suggested,” Goodell said during his news conference outside SoFi Stadium ahead of Super Bowl LVI. “All of those things are part of that. We’re going to talk to other people, have independent people come in and look and help us evaluate, because it’s sometimes hard to evaluate your own policies and procedures and make sure that we’re doing everything we possibly can to create that opportunity for everybody, and make sure we are an inclusive league and make sure we get the outcomes we want, and that our policies truly are effective with outcomes.”

Agent’s Take: Super Bowl 2022 participants with expiring contracts who could cash in during free agency | CBS Sports

Fortunes can be made because of performance in a contract year. It is especially the case when a stellar postseason validates performance in the regular season. The Super Bowl is an opportunity to make a strong closing statement.

Offensive tackle Trent Brown can attest to it. Who would protect quarterback Tom Brady’s blind side was a big concern for the Patriots during the 2018 offseason after left tackle Nate Solder briefly became the NFL’s highest-paid offensive lineman with the Giants in free agency. Brown was acquired from the 49ers for what was essentially a mid-fourth-round pick during the 2018 NFL Draft and Isaiah Wynn was selected 23rd overall to fill the void. Wynn tearing his Achilles in the preseason left the job to Brown, who primarily played right tackle with the 49ers.

Brown was up to the task of replacing Solder. After a solid 2018 regular season, he kept Pro Bowlers Melvin Ingram and Dee Ford in check during that postseason.

Brown left the Patriots in 2019 free agency to become the NFL’s top-paid offensive lineman. He received a four-year, $66 million deal with $36.25 million fully guaranteed from the Raiders, which averaged $16.5 million per year.

Here are several Super Bowl participants with expiring contracts who could reap the benefit financially when free agency begins March 16.

ESPN reaches deal to extend ‘ManningCast’ through 2024 season, expand to other sports | Yahoo! Sports

Peyton and Eli Manning will continue hanging out on camera during “Monday Night Football.”

The two former quarterbacks and Peyton’s Omaha Productions company reached an extension with ESPN on Wednesday, the network announced. The deal is for a 10-game annual slate of their alternate broadcast through the 2024 season.

The network also plans to expand the popular format to other sports — including UFC, college football and golf — across ESPN in the years to come.

“I’ve always loved talking football with my brother, and it was even more fun to do it while watching ESPN’s ‘Monday Night Football,’” Peyton said in a statement. “Eli and I are excited to sign on for another season, and the entire Omaha team is looking forward to producing MegaCasts that celebrate other sports.”

“Monday Night Football with Peyton and Eli” shined during the football season last fall. The nine episodes averaged 1.6 million viewers. The easy format, which featured both quarterbacks sitting at home talking with each other and celebrity guests, was frequently more entertaining than ESPN’s traditional broadcast.

In case you missed it on Arrowhead Pride

Why Frank Clark might take a pay cut — just like Sammy Watkins did

The six-year veteran may be motivated to avoid free agency. After the season ended, he confirmed that he wanted to stay in Kansas City, where he has purchased a home. In 2019, he missed time with a recurring illness — and in 2021, he missed more games after suffering multiple hamstring injuries. When paired with disappointing production, that’s hardly an ideal background for entering free agency. Clark also faces legal troubles in California stemming from a pair of firearms arrests. Thus far, he has avoided league discipline — but as his case advances through the court system, a suspension is still possible.

These issues could frustrate Clark’s efforts to find a satisfactory contract — especially since there is a deep group of edge rushers available in both free agency and the draft.

But just as they did with Watkins, the Chiefs could offer Clark ways to earn back portions of any salary he might agree to give up — such as tying money to high sack totals or playing every game of the season. Under salary-cap rules, such incentives would be classified as not likely to be earned — which means that if they are earned, their impacts would be counted against the 2023 cap.

However, there are signs that this situation is likely to end with a divorce between player and team.

Clark’s 2022 base salary is $19 million. For the Chiefs to get cap savings, he would have to agree to reduce that figure. It would be unrealistic to ask him to eat the entire amount the Chiefs could save by cutting him — but it’s likely he would have to agree to a more significant pay cut than Watkins took in 2020. Rarely does a soon-to-be-released player, their agent and team agree on that player’s fair-market value.

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