Both the Packers and Chiefs have top-shelf franchise quarterbacks losing No. 1 receivers. Both have young players at premium, nonreceiver positions to pay now (Alexander for the Packers, Orlando Brown Jr. for the Chiefs), with more possible in the near future (Rashan Gary for the Packers, L’Jarius Sneed for the Chiefs), and some already on the payroll (David Bakhtiari, Preston Smith for the Packers; Frank Clark for the Chiefs).
So does a true franchise quarterback really need the type of No. 1 receiver that can open things up for everyone else? Or are you better off sinking a little less into the skill spots, shooting to be more balanced there, and maintaining the ability to win different types of games?
Aaron Rodgers and Patrick Mahomes are about to give us a good litmus test on that.
Assessing the stacked AFC West
All four teams in the division rank between No. 4 and No. 14 in ESPN’s FPI, so the model agrees it’s a tight contest. But according to the projections, the Chiefs are again the best team in the AFC West.
Even without Tyreek Hill — presenting a clear deficiency at WR1 — and with what FPI believes to be an average defense, the Chiefs are on top thanks to Mahomes and a strong Kansas City passing offense. Offense, and particularly passing offense, is the most important part of team construction, so in the model’s mind, an elite passing team will always beat out an elite rushing, rush defense or pass defense team, all else being equal.
But here’s the interesting part: Even though it believes they are the division’s best team, ESPN’s FPI actually doesn’t favor the Chiefs to win the AFC West. The Chargers and Broncos are both slightly more likely to win the division than the Chiefs — and the Chargers have a better chance to earn the conference’s No. 1 seed.
Got a burning question about Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes that you’d like answered? Wonder what it was like to raise the NFL superstar? Ever ponder where his love affair with ketchup began? Mahomes’ mother, Randi, might know the answer.
And she may be inclined to answer your question(s). Randi Mahomes announced Monday that she had joined Cameo, a platform in which fans can pay for a personalized recorded video from a celebrity.
Among the people available to hire are athletes, musicians, reality TV stars and movie/TV stars. “Randi Mahomes here, mother of Mia, Patrick and Jackson Mahomes.
I teamed up with Cameo to help give a shout out for a special birthday or just answer a few questions, so hit me up,” she said in a video on Cameo’s website.
Louis Riddick says Chiefs are going to win the Super Bowl pic.twitter.com/Z7sxj7G2EX— Brad Henson (@bradleychenson) May 17, 2022
Around the NFL
NFL officials began direct meetings with Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson in Texas on Tuesday as the league seeks to determine if he violated the personal conduct policy and, if so, whether discipline should be imposed, a source told ESPN’s Ed Werder.
The meetings are believed to involve Watson and the NFL investigative team of Lisa Friel.
The NFL has been investigating Watson to determine if he violated its code of conduct. Watson is facing 22 civil lawsuits from women who have accused him of inappropriate sexual conduct during massage sessions. Two grand juries in Texas have declined to indict Watson on criminal charges, and Watson has denied all wrongdoing.
Bengals Offensive Line
Do I really need to explain how terrible the Bengals offensive line was in 2021? When you do a Google Image search for Joe Burrow, this photo pops up on the first page of results, and I think that does a good job of summing up the situation over the first two years of Burrow’s career.
After largely ignoring the line last offseason, the Bengals weren’t going to repeat that mistake this time around—not after watching Donald and Von Miller wreck their gameplan in the Super Bowl. Lacking the draft capital to land one of the better offensive line prospects in the draft, Cincinnati went to work early, bringing in three new starters via free agency: La’el Collins, who’ll take over at right tackle; Alex Cappa, who’ll slot in as the new right guard; and Ted Karras, who’ll man the center position. None of those new additions are considered stars—none have ever made the Pro Bowl and aren’t capable of elevating the line on their own—but they are obvious upgrades over the guys they’re replacing.
Cohen, who was released roughly two months prior by the Chicago Bears, tore his Achilles while working out Tuesday during a training session that he was live-streaming on his Instagram account, NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported.
Cohen, 26, was working toward a comeback after missing all of the 2021 season due to a knee injury, but Tuesday’s setback all but erases any promise of a 2022 return to the field.
During his workout, Cohen could be seen grabbing the back of his leg after he fell to the floor.
A dazzling all-purpose threat for the Bears as a rookie in 2017, Cohen was sensational in his second season, earning Pro Bowl and All-Pro honors as a punt returner in 2018. He was apt at returning kicks, as a receiver out of the backfield and rushing the ball. A solid season followed in 2019, but injuries derailed Cohen thereafter. Since the start of the 2020 season, Cohen has played in only three games.
1 - Derek Carr
Las Vegas Raiders · QB
MVP odds: 30-1
As an Associated Press voter, I actually picked Carr as MVP back in 2016, despite the devastating broken leg he suffered on Christmas Eve. I’ve always been a huge fan of Carr’s game and the value he brings to his team, which is what this award’s all about. The former second-round pick has been a rock for a franchise that hasn’t exactly been a model of stability in recent years. Carr handles all adversity with grace and aplomb while never making excuses. Last year alone, in the span of a month, Las Vegas had to deal with Jon Gruden’s shocking resignation, Henry Ruggs III’s DUI car crash that killed a 23-year-old woman, and Damon Arnette’s release after a video showed him brandishing a gun and threatening to kill someone. Despite all of that, Carr threw for a career-high 4,804 yards and led the Raiders to just their second playoff appearance in the past 19 seasons. Impressive stuff, to say the least.
Now Carr has his college bestie, who just so happens to be the best receiver in the game, as the Raiders brilliantly traded for Davante Adams. Carr and Adams are going to make beautiful music together once again, just like they did back at Fresno State. Especially with new head coach Josh McDaniels running the offense. These additions will lift the 31-year-old passer from great player to certified star. Carr is going to enjoy a monster season, leading the Raiders to the playoffs again. And doing this in the absurdly loaded AFC West will raise his profile even more.
In case you missed it on Arrowhead Pride
Specific wide receiver roles
Juju Smith-Schuster replacing Byron Pringle, Marquez Valdes-Scantling replacing Demarcus Robinson
Matt: You can consider JuJu Smith-Schuster an upgrade over Byron Pringle, they’re both physical players, great run blockers, strong hands. Also, in very similar roles, you can slot MVS in over Demarcus Robinson — deep threats that are also good blockers, you can say that MVS is a step forward as compared to what Robinson did in KC. I think there is something to be said for a room full of competent receivers that get to where they are supposed to be and don’t drop passes.
Ron: In the ways Pringle succeeded last year, Smith-Schuster plays a similar style with good athleticism at that size — but I believe he’s even more of a playmaker before and after the catch. Robinson had been cornered into a very seldom-used deep threat towards the end of his Chiefs tenure, so Valdes-Scantling projects to fill that role but give much more than just that.