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Arrowheadlines: Patrick Mahomes could be in for a huge 2022

Chiefs headlines for Monday, June 20

NFL: Super Bowl LIV-San Francisco 49ers vs Kansas City Chiefs Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

The latest

Why Patrick Mahomes could be headed for a huge year: Here’s what’s different about Chiefs QB’s offseason plan | CBS Sports

“Just being in better shape is the best thing about it. Whenever you come off injury, you try to stay in shape, you try to ride the bike or do whatever you can, especially with a foot injury. But it’s hard to get that running in and to get that sprinting in,” Mahomes said last week. “And I feel like now I’m at a better point than I was last year as far as explosiveness and conditioning wise, so definitely that’s helped a lot. And hopefully I can keep that momentum going towards the season.”

Mahomes did finish the 2021 season strong with just three interceptions in his final nine games and having 18 touchdowns during the stretch. The Chiefs went 8-1 in those final nine and won their sixth consecutive AFC West title in the process, as Mahomes finally had enough time to get back to peak form after rehab slowed down his preparation for the year.

There are still things Mahomes has to work on heading into 2021, as his 7.6 average depth of yards thrown was a career-low (30th of 36 qualified passers). He also had just 9.7% of his passes that traveled 20-plus yards downfield, which was also a career low. Mahomes is working on improving those numbers by refining his game with his trainer, Bobby Stroupe, who moved into the Kansas City area last year and has been working with his client on his strength training — maximizing his potential.

Tight end rankings for top 32 NFL TEs heading into 2022 led by Travis Kelce and Mark Andrewa | Pro Football Network

1) Travis Kelce, Kansas City Chiefs

The real question is how long Kelce can keep this up. Elite tight ends can often maintain top-end production into their mid-to-late 30s. Tony Gonzalez managed 83 catches and eight touchdowns in his age-37 season with the Falcons. Kelce turns 33 in October, so he should have a few excellent years left.

2) Mark Andrews, Baltimore Ravens

Kelce gets the deference at No. 1 based on his long track record, but Mark Andrews was the most productive tight end in the NFL last season. As the primary target in Baltimore’s offense, Andrews’ 26% target share was easily the best among tight ends and ranked sixth among all pass catchers.

Minkah Fitzpatrick: ‘Embarrassing’ Chiefs loss motivates Steelers | FanSided

The Steelers’ well-compensated safety is no longer motivated by money, only beating the Chiefs.

“I don’t think necessarily the money motivates us, but just how we conduct ourselves,” said Fitzpatrick to reporters in the wake of him signing his massive contract extension. “Obviously, last year was not to our standards at all. I know myself, T.J., Cam, all of us were not happy or pleased at all with the way the season ended. Especially in that playoff game, [it] was an embarrassment, honestly. Not our typical selves. That’s what motivates us.”

Minkah Fitzpatrick clearly motivated by bad playoff loss to Kansas City Chiefs

It remains to be seen how good the Steelers will be this upcoming season. They are a team with a great deal of variance. Should Mitch Trubisky or rookie quarterback Kenny Pickett play up to their respective draft statuses, Pittsburgh can contend in a deep AFC North race. If both signal-callers struggle, Pittsburgh has a chance to be the worst team in one of the better divisions in football.

Justin Reid & Trent McDuffie Celebrate Juneteenth with Visit to Negro Leagues Baseball Museum | The Mothership

The tour began as it always does, with a view of the iconic baseball diamond at the museum’s center from behind chicken wire. Much of the museum is intentionally designed this way, transporting visitors to a time when young athletes were so close to their dreams, yet prevented from ultimately reaching them. That stark truth would lead most individuals to give up, but the determined athletes of the Negro Leagues were not most people. It’s why the museum only allows those who fully tour its exhibits to “earn” their place on the field at the end of each visit, just like legends such as Jackie Robinson did.

“It’s amazing how they stood up for themselves, and it was about more than just their sport,” Reid said. “They may not have even realized that they were doing it, but their love and passion for their sport bled into culture and ended up contributing to revolutionary changes in society. It’s a spirit of love that made a difference and changed everything moving forward.”

Around the NFL

Russell Wilson on joining Broncos: ‘I want to go to a city that knows how to win’ |

“It’s been a blessing just to come here, just to come to an amazing city like Denver, to be a part of it with so many amazing teammates and great coaching staff,” Wilson said Friday, via video from Zac Stevens of DNVR Sports. “But also, once the trade was going to happen, I said, ‘Hey, listen, I want to make sure that I go to a city that wants to win. I want to make sure I that I go to a team that wants to win. And I want to go to a city that knows how to win.’ And all those three things were checked off the box here in Denver and so I think we’ve got a chance.”

In case you missed it on Arrowhead Pride

Chiefs CB Deandre Baker signs ERFA tender; team places WR on injured reserve

One was that cornerback Deandre Baker signed his exclusive rights free agent (ERFA) contract tender. Since Baker was a player with fewer than three accrued seasons when his contract expired at the end of the 2021 league year, Kansas City was able to retain its rights to him by offering him a minimum-salary contract before 2022’s league year began. Because the team has all the leverage in ERFA transactions, players almost always sign these tenders; it’s essentially a formality. But now, it’s a formality that’s been executed.

Tight end Jody Fortson signed his ERFA deal on May 26. Running back Derrick Gore was also offered an ERFA contract. He has yet to sign his tender.

Friday’s other transaction was placing wide receiver Mathew Sexton on the team’s Reserve/Injured list. The team had waived Sexton with an injury designation on Thursday. Since no team picked him up on the waiver wire, Kansas City had the option to place him on injured reserve.

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