Patrick Mahomes to Washington Commanders
In turn, the Chiefs made Mahomes the highest-paid player in NFL history when the quarterback signed a 10-year, $450 million contract extension last offseason. Surprisingly, the Chiefs could theoretically move Mahomes by trading him after June 1 and only endure a $6.3 million salary-cap hit this coming season (with the same number over the next two years and $4.3 million in 2025).
To go big here would require so much from Washington. Mahomes is worth 10 first-round picks, but the Commanders can only trade their next four on draft night (draft picks past 2025 can’t be dealt this offseason). So Washington would have to find a way to acquire six more first-round picks over the next four drafts with the intention to trade those to Kansas City.
Is he worth all that? And more.
Anthony Hitchens, LB, Kansas City Chiefs
Kansas City Chiefs inside linebacker Anthony Hitchens is still quite capable of playing at a high level. He started 15 games in 2021 and finished with 80 total tackles, two passes defended, an interception and four quarterback pressures.
Hitchens was also targeted 33 times in coverage and allowed an opposing quarterback rating of only 83.4.
However, Hitchens will turn 30 this offseason and is entering the final year of a five-year, $45 million deal. He’s set to carry a cap hit of $12.7 million, $8.4 million of which Kansas City could save by parting with him.
The Chiefs, meanwhile, are projected to have just $3.8 million in cap space.
If Hitchens hits the open market, he would become a great pickup for a team seeking a versatile second-level defender. His vast amount of playoff and Super Bowl experience would be a bonus for teams also seeking defensive leadership.
Several solid linebackers—Dont’a Hightower, Anthony Walker Jr. and Jayon Brown among others—are scheduled to be available. However, Hitchens might be the ideal choice for playoff-caliber teams with Super Bowl aspirations.
6 - Joe Thuney
Kansas City Chiefs · LG
The veteran sparked the Chiefs’ O-line makeover with his rock-solid play in the trenches. Thuney’s physicality and nastiness not only set the tone for the unit, but his knock-back power enabled Kansas City to morph into a smashmouth football team at times. With the sixth-year pro also skilled at stymying interior pass rushers, the Chiefs’ O-line improvement started with No. 62’s arrival.
10 - Tyrann Mathieu
KANSAS CITY CHIEFS FS
Mathieu is a versatile weapon that the Chiefs have used splendidly in their secondary over the last few years. While Patrick Mahomes is the face of the K.C. offense, there’s a case to be made that Mathieu has been that type of figure on the defensive side of the ball as the Chiefs have contended for Super Bowls. The 29-year-old can play more traditionally in the back end of the secondary, line up in the slot or situate himself in the box and still find success, which will make him an appealing target. The “Honey Badger” has also been a durable piece to the Chiefs’ secondary over the last three seasons, playing no fewer than 94% of the defensive snaps in a season.
While Taylor has the most high-profile and perhaps most substantial argument among former Chiefs, he’s not alone when it comes to terrific players of yesteryear whose Hall of Fame prospects Chiefs’ followers have asked about since I was privileged to join the 49-person PFHOF selection committee last August.
What about guard Ed Budde, who retired in 1976 after being a crucial force in franchise history who was selected to the all-time all-AFL team? Or tackle Jim Tyrer, who was absolutely dominant?
(While Hall of Fame bylaws state that off-field matters aren’t to be considered, and while we can understand now that CTE may have been a contributing factor, any discussion of Tyrer’s case can’t ignore his shocking murder of his wife and subsequent suicide.)
More recently, there’s safety Deron Cherry, a superb player who had 50 career interceptions and was voted to the 1980s all-decade second team by the PFHOF.
Each of the aforementioned four are in the Professional Football Researchers Association’s “Hall of Very Good,” which since 2002 has sought to “honor outstanding players who are not in the Hall of Fame” while also hoping to bolster some of the cases. Indeed, a number of them later were inducted in Canton.
Round 1 - Pick 30
Daxton Hill S
MICHIGAN • JR • 6’0” / 192 LBS
Hill can help basically anywhere in the secondary, which is significant considering the Chiefs defense could lose Tyrann Mathieu and Charvarius Ward in free agency.
Dan Graziano, national NFL writer: Chiefs over Rams. The AFC is tough to pick because there are so many good teams. The NFC is tough to pick because there appear to be so few. Without knowing who’s going to be the quarterback in places such as Green Bay, Seattle, Tampa Bay, Pittsburgh, Indianapolis, etc., it’s way too early to assess who the true contenders will be. But as of now I’ll bet on Patrick Mahomes & Co. bouncing back, because that feels like as safe a February bet as any.
Dolphins signed former Packers’ FB John Lovett to a one-year deal.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) February 18, 2022
Around the NFL
The New York Giants have hired Angela Baker as a minority coaching fellow and offensive quality control coach, a source told ESPN on Friday.
Baker previously spent time with the Cleveland Browns as part of the Bill Walsh Diversity Coaching Fellowship and becomes the second woman hired to the coaching staff by Brian Daboll.
Laura Young was hired last month as the team’s director of coaching operations after a stint with the Buffalo Bills as player services coordinator. She is believed to be the Giants’ first known hire of a woman on the coaching side.
In 2020, the Giants hired Hannah Burnett as their first full-time female scout. Burnett is currently a college scout covering the Midlands.
Despite going 3-13-1 in 2021, the Lions garnered appreciation for the fortitude displayed throughout all the struggles and having the wherewithal to finish 3-3 after going winless in their initial 11 games. Lynn, who served as the team’s offensive coordinator in 2021, credited and commended Campbell’s leadership as to why the Detroit players kept going strong despite their dismal record.
“Great leadership. I can tell you that,” Lynn said, via Woodward Sports. “Dan Campbell did a hell of a job creating a culture. I know the record didn’t show it, but the foundation is being laid for future success right in Detroit.
“It was outstanding leadership. Those young men showed up every single day to work and get better. But I feel like they got better as the year went on. We had a long ways to go but I feel like we made some improvements.”
In case you missed it on Arrowhead Pride
2. Ahmad ‘Sauce’ Gardner | Cincinnati | 6 feet 2 | 188 pounds
Length, length and length. Gardner has the frame of a player who can be a lockdown man-coverage corner in the NFL — or at least the closest thing to a lockdown corner we are likely to see in today’s game. He plays with a supreme amount of confidence. Gardner is at his best in press coverage, where he uses his long arms to win with physicality — and despite his slender build, he’s capable of delivering significant blows as a tackler. According to Pro Football Focus (PFF), Sauce gave up zero touchdowns in his career at Cincinnati — and in 2021, just 9.36 yards receiving per game.
3. Roger McCreary | Auburn | 5 feet 11 | 189 pounds
As listeners of the AP Draft Room might know by now, the alignment-versatile McCreary is one of my favorite player fits for the Chiefs in this draft class; he looks like a perfect match for the scheme defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo implements. McCreary lacks some arm length — but he makes up for it with his fearlessness and playing strength, which he uses to disrupt receivers throughout their routes. In the past few seasons, he’s played against many of the best receivers in college football — and always looked like he belonged. In a defense that allows him to be physically disruptive — exactly the way Kansas City would use him — McCreary can immediately become a really good starting cornerback.
A tweet to make you think
The #Chiefs have a lot of positions to fill heading into next season, and adding another wide receiver should be at the top of the list. #APDraftTalk@Ron_Kopp | @RockyMagana pic.twitter.com/ilOzMxnd6B— Arrowhead Pride (@ArrowheadPride) February 18, 2022