But now that Hill is with the Miami Dolphins the situation in Kansas City isn’t lost on Hardman. He’s the Chiefs’ only returning wide receiver with more than five catches last season, putting him in line for his biggest season at an opportune time in his career. He’s going into the final year of his contract.
“The opportunity is bigger,” said Hardman, who had 59 catches for 693 yards and two touchdowns in 2021. “It’s up to the coaches, the coaching staff, to really see how they want to use me this year. It’s up to me to be prepared for that.
“A once-in-a-generation type of player has left the team so somebody’s got to step up and fill a role. ... I just want to be better than I was last year, get better as an overall receiver, kind of establish my name a little bit more. Catching the ball, running routes, yards after catch, everything I’m trying to improve on.”
This Year is going to be Legendary!— Chris Jones (@StoneColdJones) May 24, 2022
4. Chiefs (AFC West)
2021 record: 12-5 | Division title streak: 6 seasons
Andy Reid and Patrick Mahomes kind of feel like Bill Belichick and Tom Brady in that as long as they’re together in Kansas City, it feels foolish to bet against a division title; the Chiefs have won at least 10 games in seven straight seasons. But if you’re ever gonna forecast a slight step back, why not now? Their schedule is tough, they’ll be adapting post-Tyreek Hill, and even if the new-look Raiders don’t meet expectations, the Broncos and Chargers should be legitimate rivals considering their star QBs.
After some marquee games early in the season, the Bills should generally coast after their bye. Especially considering how well they have performed against the Patriots recently, the middle portion of this schedule looks like it is filled with Ws. They will lose in Week 10 at home against the Vikings because ... it’s the NFL, and these results can be hella random sometimes. But Buffalo will score a regular-season win at Kansas City — just like it did last year — and finish as winners in 11 of their final 13 games.
Win total odds: Over 11.5 (-140), Under 11.5 (+120)
Pick: Over 11.5
Easily. It will be very disappointing if this team finishes with 11 wins for the second consecutive year. Gabriel Davis will have to step up as a consistent threat across from Stefon Diggs, and cornerback Tre’Davious White needs to show no ill effects from his 2021 ACL tear, but this is a team that looks loaded for bear in 2022.
The event will feature Aaron Rodgers teaming up with Tom Brady to take on Patrick Mahomes and Josh Allen. To help build up some drama for the showdown, Rodgers and Brady joined the the “Inside the NBA” crew for an interview over the weekend and things got a little crazy.
First, we had Charles Barkley — a notoriously bad golfer — ask Rodgers for his take on how the Packers QB and Brady will handle playing against two younger guys. Rodgers then answered by roasting both Mahomes and Allen for their golf skills.
“Charles, I’ve done my scouting report and I heard that Josh was terrible at Pebble (Beach) and Pat has played the last couple of years in Tahoe and hasn’t broken 80 yet,” Rodgers said. “I think he was closer to being in a group with you — No offense, Charles — then maybe with me in Tahoe. I feel really good about our chances.”
KANSAS CITY CHIEFS
2 (46): EDGE Breeland Speaks, Ole Miss
3 (75): DI Derrick Nnadi, Florida State
3 (100): LB Dorian O’Daniel, Clemson
4 (124): S Armani Watts, Texas A&M
6 (196): CB Tremon Smith, Central Arkansas
6 (198): DI Kahlil McKenzie, Tennessee
Best Pick: Derrick Nnadi
Worst Pick: Breeland Speaks
Final Grade: C-
This was the post-Patrick Mahomes draft when the Chiefs had limited draft capital due to the trade-up for the talented QB. When the best pick is a two-down defensive tackle who has averaged fewer than 500 snaps a season despite staying healthy, it’s a rough draft.
Around the NFL
“As long as I know what we’re doing, what the defense is doing, I’m confident I can be one of the best quarterbacks in the league,” Darnold said Tuesday, the first time he has spoken to reporters since offseason workouts began.
Coach Matt Rhule, who hasn’t ruled out bringing in a veteran at some point, went so far as to say Darnold is practicing with an “edge” he hasn’t seen before.
“What Sam has been through this offseason has been very hard,” Rhule said. “Your back’s against the wall. Everyone’s kind of questioning whether you can do this or not. We’ve seen a guy who has shown up who has a little more edge to him. He’s very, very focused.”
Fuller joins the Ravens after a season spent in Denver, where he appeared in 16 games and recorded four passes defensed along with 51 tackles (three for loss). It was the worst season of the 2014 first-round pick’s career according to Pro Football Focus, which gave Fuller the lowest defensive grade of his seven professional seasons.
Fuller brings value to Baltimore, which lost two depth defensive backs in Anthony Averett and Tavon Young this offseason and has two rookies (Jalyn Armour-Davis and Damarion Williams) slotted behind starters Marlon Humphrey and Marcus Peters. Fuller can step in and play immediately in the event Baltimore needs to look down its depth chart for help.
Omar Khan, the Steelers vice president of football and business administration, is expected to be named the team’s next general manager, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and confirmed by CBS Sports NFL Insider Jason La Canfora. Khan will replace Kevin Colbert, who steps down following a highly successful 22-year run.
Khan was one of six candidates the Steelers brought back for second interviews. The other five were Steelers pro scouting coordinator Brandon Hunt, Titans VP of player personnel Ryan Cowden, Buccaneers VP of personnel John Spytek, former Bills GM and Steelers executive Doug Whaley, and Eagles VP of player personnel Andy Weidl. Weidl is expected to be named as the Steelers’ new assistant GM, according to Aditi Kinkhabwala.
In case you missed it on Arrowhead Pride
During a recent media stop with ProFootballTalk’s Mike Florio, Kittle made some noteworthy comments regarding Kelce’s salary.
“I mean Travis Kelce, six seasons in a row, 1,000 yards,” said Kittle. “I’m pretty sure he has the most receiving yards over any wide receiver, skill position in the last six years.”
As it turns out, Kittle had done his research, with Kelce accumulating more yards over that span than the likes of wide receivers Davante Adams, Julio Jones and DeAndre Hopkins.
“[Kelce] gets paid half of what a wide receiver makes, which just boggles my mind. I mean, to me, Travis Kelce, he’s been doing it for so long and at such a high level. And he doesn’t have an off game. I think he has one bad game a year, and it’s just because he’s getting triple-teamed.
“He’s a player I look at like, when he gets the ball in his hands, he’s a monster.... More tight ends and more tight ends are starting to get the ball more, starting to be more part of the offense, be more explosive. [I] love watching Darren Waller. [I] love watching Mark Andrews. [Zach] Ertz is really fun now down in Arizona. That’s just fun to see him just kind of dominate, getting a lot of touchdowns. [T.J.] Hockenson , [Robert] Tonyan . There’s all these tight ends that are explosive and fun to watch, but Kelce — when you have six 1.000 yards in a row, you’re hell of a football player.”
Kittle’s words make for no surprise, coming as a result of what transpired in the wide receiver market this past offseason. General manager Brett Veach recently explained that when the wide receiver market “exploded,” the Chiefs had to completely shift their offseason plans — eventually opting to trade Tyreek Hill instead of signing him to a new contract.
Where this could become something to watch is with tight ends who produce as top receivers — such as Kelce, Kittle and Las Vegas Raiders tight end Darren Waller (when healthy) and Baltimore Ravens tight end Mark Andrews. They collectively have a very good case: if they are going to be among the league’s top producers in receiving yardage, they deserve to be paid as such.
A tweet to make you think
Tyreek Hill with a lot of praise for Tua Tagovailoa: “I’m very confident in my quarterback… Has crazy arm strength, arm talent.” pic.twitter.com/dvndtsmLNx— David Furones (@DavidFurones_) May 24, 2022