Justin Houston and the Chiefs
At 33, Houston is no longer a top-tier starter off the edge — a far cry from the 22-sack machine that once dominated from K.C.’s front. But he’s still a savvy plug-and-play rotational rusher, which is precisely what the Chiefs could use at defensive end. First-round pick George Karlaftis should start from Day One opposite Frank Clark, but this is a title contender we’re talking about; the deeper the pass-rushing stable, the better. Houston has shown recently, with the Colts and Ravens, he can offer something.
Kansas City Chiefs and Patrick Mahomes
Buffalo Bills and Josh Allen
Kansas City and Patrick Mahomes are still the league’s dream couple. The Chiefs gave Mahomes one hell of a ring (almost as big as the one Mahomes got his wife) in the form of a $450 million extension. Unfortunately, that contract was so big that the Chiefs ended up trading receiver Tyreek Hill rather than giving him a new deal, which is like spending so much on the ring you ended up missing a house payment.
The Bills and Josh Allen are also a dream couple, and they might be even more inspiring. They’re the two people everyone made fun of in high school, but then they got ridiculously hot after graduation and now everyone pretends they’ve always loved these two together.
“I feel like me and Pat (Patrick Mahomes) got a great relationship off the field,” Hill said. “I can always look at him as a brother. No matter what, I know I can always call him and count on him for anything.”
Hill also referred to Mahomes as being from the south, explaining that he possesses a team-first personality influencing his unselfish behavior on the field.
“Whoever Pat (Mahomes) wants to get the ball to, I’m down for it,” Hill said. “I’m just here for the team.”
Hill would credit his former coaching staff for their game plan to help get him open during games. With the constant double teams and safety help in 2021, Hill admitted it was a challenge.
“It’s like frustrating sometimes, because when you’re going against your guy, you got a safety over the top, and you got the linebacker on the inside. It’s like, ‘Man, how are we gonna scheme me open?’ Andy Reid, Eric Bienemy, those guys are so great,” Hill said. “You know, they spend countless hours drawing up plays for myself, you know, being able to get the ball.”
Kansas City Chiefs
ERIC BIENIEMY · OFFENSIVE COORDINATOR
It’s amazing he remains as positive as he does after being passed over for head-coaching opportunities the past few years despite having a résumé that’s more accomplished than most of those who were hired.
Tristan H. Cockcroft, fantasy football writer: Kansas City Chiefs. I’m tempted to say the Jets’ first four picks give them the edge. But I’ll go with the Chiefs, who also picked up four prospective starters: CB Trent McDuffie, DE George Karlaftis, WR Skyy Moore and OT Darian Kinnard. Moore and Kinnard were pretty solid values for where they went, and the team added valuable depth with its other six selections.
Around the NFL
The game will pit Los Angeles against longtime rival Russell Wilson, who played 20 games against the Rams as the quarterback for the Seattle Seahawks. Wilson was traded to Denver in a blockbuster deal in March.
It will be the third straight year the NFL has played on Christmas.
Last year, the Packers’ Christmas Day victory over the Browns averaged 28.6 million viewers on Fox, making it the third-most-watched game of the 2021 regular season. The Colts’ win over the Cardinals averaged 12.6 million on NFL Network, the second-highest-viewed game in network history.
Brady has determined his next pursuit following the conclusion of his NFL career: broadcasting football. Once Brady decides to retire, the seven-time Super Bowl champion quarterback will join Fox Sports as its lead NFL analyst, the network announced on Tuesday. The New York Post’s Andrew Marchand reported that Brady’s contract with Fox Sports is for 10 years and $375 million.
When the Tampa Bay Buccaneers QB decides to hang it up, Brady will call games with play-by-play announcer Kevin Burkhardt.
No one knows when that time will come, of course, as the man who has defied all previously established longevity logic only gave us a preview of what the world might be like once he’s no longer on an active roster. Brady then realized he wasn’t ready to walk away, and though he’s excited about what he has lined up for his post-playing life, he’s not looking ahead when he has his 23rd season coming up.
When Kayvon Thibodeaux spoke in his introductory press conference after being drafted No. 5 overall in the 2022 NFL Draft, the edge rusher made sure to mention his willingness to spend big to obtain his desired jersey number, saying that it could take a lot of “zeroes” to acquire No. 5.
After all, the number’s owner, Giants kicker Graham Gano, had already rejected one teammate’s offer for the number, when Jabrill Peppers attempted to make a trade with Gano last season but left empty-handed after saying Gano’s asking price was “too high.”
But by Monday, Thibodeaux had won the jersey, and the deal he made with Gano sent payment in the form of a $50,000 donation to the charity Puppies Behind Bars.
In case you missed it on Arrowhead Pride
5. Edge rusher Jadeveon Clowney
I know... I know. The Chiefs drafted a first-round edge rusher. All signs point to Melvin Ingram’s eventual return. Frank Clark took a pay cut to stay in Kansas City. Do the Chiefs really need to add another veteran to that room? Maybe not. But it’s a position group without a star — and Clowney is the rare player who has the ability to be that kind of performer.
There seem to be four edge rushers locked in for the Chiefs opening week roster: Clark, Ingram, rookie George Karlaftis and Mike Danna. Joshua Kaindoh is probably the favorite to be the fifth man in that rotation.
Clowney would serve as an upgrade to that group. But would he be willing to join a team where he’s no better than the third pass rusher? It seems unlikely.
If the Chiefs want to add an edge rusher, the more likely options might be Trey Flowers or Jerry Hughes. If the price is right, any of the three could make sense.
Projected Contract: 1 year, $8 million with $5 million in not-likely-to-be-earned incentives