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What we learned about the Chiefs this week

Taking a look at the week of March 28 on Arrowhead Pride...

Annual NFL League Meeting Photo by B51/Mark Brown/Getty Images

Report: Chiefs signing running back Ronald Jones to one-year deal

On Saturday, fans were buzzing after the Chiefs signed a running back who had visited the team last Wednesday.

The Kansas City Chiefs are signing free-agent running back Ronald Jones for a one-year contract worth up to $5 million, according to Tom Pelissero of NFL Network.

Jones, 24, first entered the league as a second-round pick made by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the 2018 NFL Draft. Jones played all four seasons of his career with the Buccaneers — including 2020, the year that led to Tampa Bay’s 21-9 Super Bowl LV win over the Chiefs. Jones had 12 carries for 61 yards in the title game.

After leading the Buccaneers in carries in 2019 (172) and 2020 (192), Jones took a backseat to Leonard Fournette in 2021, only posting 101 attempts for 428 yards and four touchdowns. Jones added 10 catches for 64 yards through the air.

4 high-upside injured players the Chiefs should consider drafting

On Monday, Jared Sapp considered some players that Kansas City — holding 12 picks in April’s draft — might consider on the basis of their future potential.

Michigan EDGE David Ojabo

Ojabo’s situation is most similar to that of Simmons in 2019. After a breakout, 11-sack season, Ojabo suffered a torn Achilles tendon while working out for scouts at Michigan’s pro day. Ojabo was expected to be a top-15 selection before the injury.

With a pair of selections at the end of the first round, the Chiefs would have to consider taking the EDGE rusher. At 6 foot 5 and 249 pounds, he ran a 4.55 40-yard dash at the combine. The Chiefs simply rarely are able to find an Ojabo-caliber athlete at their normal draft position.

Recent advancements in medical procedures have seen Los Angeles Rams running back Cam Akers and former Chiefs tackle Eric Fisher return to action mere months after Achilles surgery. Ojabo’s recovery is unlikely to be as aggressive.

Andy Reid: ‘There was no rift’ with Tyreek Hill

On Sunday, the NFL’s annual meetings had begun in Palm Beach, Florida. At the coaches’ breakfast on Monday, Kansas City head coach Andy Reid was asked about the team trading wide receiver Tyreek Hill to the Miami Dolphins.

“I love Tyreek,” said Reid. There was no [rift] with me and Tyreek. We tried to sign Tyreek at a certain cost.”

Reid said that while it wasn’t the only way the team could have handled the situation, it was the way that made the most sense.

“You can handle it any way you want to handle it. We handled it the way we did there,” said Reid, per Pro Football Talk. “We felt like Tyreek deserved an opportunity. We came in aggressive — and then after we got to a point, we just said, ‘Hey, listen, in this day and age, you have issues that you have to deal with with the cap,’ so we felt like it was better to allow him to go ahead and be traded. You can go different routes. You can play hardball with a player and do that — or you can kind of go about the way I did. Or we did.”

Report: Chiefs are calling around about ‘top wide receivers,’ per ESPN

On Tuesday, ESPN’s Diana Russini reported that Kansas City was still looking to make a deal for a free-agent wideout.

Appearing on the network’s morning show, “Get Up,” Russini suggested Chiefs general manager Brett Veach has been working the phone lines this week, doing his due diligence on potential trade candidates.

“You hear the word replenish, and that’s essentially what they’re trying to do. The Chiefs, from what I can understand, in terms of replenish, is, they are calling teams to see if perhaps teams that we haven’t heard about are interested in perhaps trading one of their top receivers to Kansas City. To me, that tells me, Kansas City is looking at the entire market. They’re looking at free agency — who’s still on the street right now. We know Odell Beckham Jr., Jarvis Landry is still available. We know they’ve done their work there. But they’re thinking, ‘Perhaps we can do better. We can come close to replacing a player like Tyreek Hill by going after a team that has a top receiver that maybe would be open to some dealings.’ Because we know, the Chiefs — they’ve got the money. They’ve got the draft picks, and this could be their answer. Of course, if they don’t get their answer there, we have the draft coming up in just a few weeks.”

3 years too late, the NFL changes overtime rules

Tuesday also brought the biggest news from the 2022 league meetings: owners voted to approve a rule change the Chiefs had wanted following their overtime loss in the 2018 AFC Championship.

Under the previously existing version of Rule 16, the first team to receive a kickoff in overtime (determined by a coin flip) could end the game simply by scoring a touchdown — or by being scored upon during that possession.

As the Chiefs and Patriots demonstrated in the 2018 AFC Championship (and the Chiefs and Buffalo Bills showed in the 2021 postseason), the existing rule made it possible for a playoff game (even a Super Bowl) to be decided by an overtime period in which one team never touched the ball.

Now, a playoff game will never again end that way. The newest modification to Rule 16 will allow both teams to receive a kickoff before a postseason game can be decided; once both teams have completed a possession, the game is over whenever the tie is broken.

The change proposed by the Colts and Eagles was intended to apply to all overtime games. But the owners decided to leave Rule 16 unchanged for regular-season games; the new modification will apply only to postseason matchups.

Marquez Valdes-Scantling’s contract turns out to be a great deal for Chiefs

When Kansas City’s newest wide receiver signed a three-year, $30 million contract, it didn’t look like a very good deal. But when contract details became available on Tuesday, it looked much better.

Valdes-Scantling was paid a $6 million signing bonus. In 2022, he will earn a base salary of $2.65 million, be eligible for a $100,000 workout bonus and be paid a $20,000 roster bonus for each game he is active.

That will make his Valdes-Scantling’s cap hit just $4.9 million this season.

But what about the original report that the wide receiver was being paid $18 million over the first two years of his contract, which was another troubling aspect of the deal? That report was accurate. But it’s another case where the details tell a different story.

They show that in addition to his $6 million signing bonus, Valdes-Scantling’s 2022 salary was guaranteed at signing. That makes his total cash for this season $9 million. His 2023 cash earnings will also be $9 million — that same $100,000 workout bonus and $20,000 gameday active bonus, plus a base salary of $8.56 million.

But here’s the catch: $6.44 million of his 2023 base salary will become guaranteed on the third day of the league year next March. If the Chiefs choose to release him before that happens, he will have just $4 million in dead money in 2023 — which could be spread between 2023 and 2024 with a post-June 1 designation.

Patrick Mahomes talks Tom Brady, how long he wants to play and his 2022 focus point

Thursday brought a new interview with Kansas City’s superstar quarterback.

Just as he has in previous offseasons, Mahomes said he is concentrating on his game within the pocket as he prepares for the 2022 campaign.

“I feel like I’ve always been able to make plays happen outside of the pocket, but defenses know that — they’ve had a lot of tape on me just like I’ve watched tape on them — and they’re trying to do stuff to put me in bad situations and not let me get outside the pocket and make things happen.

“I have to be able to continue to get better from within the pocket, getting the ball out of my hands, taking what’s there when defense is playing these real deep coverages against me, and hopefully make positive plays happen that will help our team win football games.”

Alex Smith on Chiefs without Tyreek Hill: ‘They will not be as explosive... period’

Then Kansas City’s former quarterback weighed in on how his old team would be different without their speedy wide receiver.

Drawing from his experience of five years with the Chiefs, including two with Hill, Smith tried to forecast the club’s future in 2022 and beyond.

“Flat out, you’re not going to replace him,” said Smith. “There’s literally only one Tyreek Hill in the whole NFL — he is that kind of difference-maker. I was fortunate enough to play my last two years there in Kansas City with him.”

Hill accumulated 2,102 scrimmage yards and a combined 16 touchdowns while playing with Smith from 2016-17.

“When [Hill’s] on the field, defense plays differently,” Smith added. “He opens up so many other players around him because everybody’s so fearful. There’s a lot of fast guys in the league that are very — in the end — they’re kind of one-dimensional. Tyreek is not that. We saw it throughout the playoffs: catch-and-run, catching the deep ball, put him back there for punt/kickoff return, hand him the ball in the backfield. I mean, he’s an incredible weapon, incredibly unique — and you’re just not going to fill those shoes.”

Patrick Mahomes shares initial thoughts about Tyreek Hill trade

On Friday, we covered another interview with the quaterback — this one with Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer.

“It more surprised me whenever it got to the point where we were really considering trading him,” Mahomes told Breer. “They kept me updated the entire time; I knew the extension talks were going on. And then I knew when he got the permission to seek to get traded. But I mean, still, I played my entire career with Tyreek, so definitely, there was a little bit of shock when he got traded.

“At the same time, they kept me involved the entire process, and I know that we made a tremendous effort to try to keep him in Kansas City. Tyreek, he’s such a tremendous player, he got what he deserved. I’m happy for him. And he’s at a place where he has a home and he’s closer to family and stuff. So I’m very happy for him. We had to move forward.”