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Arrowheadlines: We could be underestimating the Chiefs' problems

Chiefs headlines for Tuesday, June 7

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NFL: Denver Broncos at Kansas City Chiefs Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

The latest

NFL Players Who Won’t Live Up to the Hype in 2022 | Bleacher Report

Tyreek Hill, Wide Receiver, Miami Dolphins

In Kansas City, Hill had it good. He had a dynamic quarterback in Patrick Mahomes, an experienced and creative play-caller in Andy Reid and a strong supporting cast. In Miami, he’ll also have a good supporting cast and a creative play-caller in McDaniel, but McDaniel is a rookie head coach only now establishing an offense. Quarterback Tua Tagovailoa is nowhere near Mahomes’ level.

Tagovailoa has a winning record as a starter but has struggled to push the ball downfield. Last season, he ranked 25th among qualifying starters with an average of just 6.8 yards per attempt. Hill, who thrives as a deep threat, won’t be as prolific with Tagovailoa under center.

Dolphins fans shouldn’t be completely discouraged, though. Hill’s after-the-catch ability will allow him to make plays, and he will boost the Miami offense. Hill, who averaged just 11.2 yards per reception last season, doesn’t have to go deep to be successful.

In what is likely to be a balanced and run-heavy offense—McDaniel’s 49ers ranked 29th in pass attempts last season—though, Hill’s numbers simply won’t stack up the same way. Hill caught 111 passes last season. He’s unlikely to do that in Miami, and while Hill may still be a 1,000-yard receiver, he’s not going to be among the league’s best wideouts this season.

Ryan Fitzpatrick first met Chiefs TE Travis Kelce over a game of beer pong | Chiefs Wire

Speaking with ESPN reporter Adam Schefter on his podcast in a recent post-retirement interview, Fitzpatrick and Schefter discussed the story of how Fitz met Chiefs TE Travis Kelce.

“The night that we were together, Patrick Mahomes walked into where we were — or was it Travis Kelce? It was Travis Kelce and I said, ‘Oh there’s Kelce’ and you were like ‘I’ve never met him!’ And I couldn’t believe that you’d been in the league as long as you have and that you know as many people as you do and you hadn’t met Travis Kelce,” Schefter exclaimed. “Like that’s amazing to me, I thought you knew everybody.”

Fitzpatrick responded by explaining that he actually is quite close with Kelce’s older brother, Jason Kelce, who plays center for the Philadelphia Eagles.

“I know Jason Kelce very well,” Fitzpatrick said. “I brought him to my barber in Tampa and we got the beards trimmed together.”

The night that Schefter brought up, Fitzpatrick actually met Kelce and spent some time with him — playing beer pong — which only seems right for these two legends of the game.

“But after that night and a few games of beer pong, I know Travis (Kelce) very well,” Fitzpatrick said. “He’s a great guy.”

Are Chiefs in More Trouble Than We Think? | The Draft Network

The Chiefs’ other receiving corps newcomer, Marquez Valdes-Scantling, would’ve been a great addition in a vacuum. He’s big, fast and was a solid contributor for the Packers, but in the wake of losing Hill, Valdes-Scantling doesn’t bring any similar skills that would make him look worthy of replacing a generational talent out wide.

Not only is the offense in trouble after losing Hill, but the defense lost a high-impact player too with safety Tyrann Mathieu’s departure. Mathieu was a first-team All-Pro player in 2019 and 2020 and earned Pro Bowl nods each of the last two seasons.

Past his outstanding impact on the field as a strong safety, Mathieu was one of the Kansas City defense’s most vocal leaders. Even as the Chiefs’ defense, especially in the secondary, struggled for the early part of the 2021 season, we can’t underestimate how much Mathieu’s presence as a player and leader helped them pull it together later on.

Sure, the Chiefs brought safety Justin Reid in during free agency and defensive backs Trent McDuffie, Bryan Cook and Joshua Williams in the draft, but Mathieu is a bigger loss than any of those guys can replace individually both as a player and a leader.

Ranking the 10 best quarterback seasons in NFL history: Lamar Jackson’s epic 2019 campaign makes the cut | CBS Sports

8. Patrick Mahomes: 2018

In his first season as a starter, Mahomes joined Brady and Manning as the only quarterbacks to throw 50 touchdowns in a season. He also joined Manning, Brady, Marino, Drew Brees, Ben Roethlisberger, and Matthew Stafford in the 5,000-yard passing club. Mahomes, who had a pair of six-touchdown performances that season, threw at least three TD passes in a game 10 times while nearly leading Kansas City to the Super Bowl. Mahomes and his teammates would finish the job the following season.

Travis Kelce: Dynasty hold or trade? | DraftKings Nation

Trade or hold Travis Kelce in dynasty fantasy football?

While it’s easy to take Kelce’s numbers for granted, some big offseason changes in Kansas City make his performance this year harder to predict. Tyreek Hill is gone, replaced by a collection of receivers who should open up more of the playbook. And force quarterback Patrick Mahomes to spread the ball around more than in the past when it was really just Kelce and Hill. In fact, JuJu Smith-Schuster could definitely eat into Kelce’s production in the middle of the field.

Kelce’s age and a changing offense both signal that his annual campaign for the TE1 spot in fantasy leagues might be coming to an end. He is still one of the most reliable options at one of the game’s thinner positions, meaning he’s got real value in fantasy leagues. Still, Kelce will be of more value to the team making a run for a title this year. With his production likely to decrease this season, now might be the best time to trade him.

Around the NFL

Rams restructure Aaron Donald contract to make him highest-paid non-QB in NFL history | NFL.com

No new years were added to Donald’s contract, which now guarantees him $65 million over the next two seasons and $95 million through the 2024 season, Rapoport added. In all, Donald nets a $40 million raise over his previous contract, which carried a base salary of just $9.25 million into the 2022 season.

“I’m locked back in to go get us another ring — why not!?” Donald said upon signing his new contract. “Getting the chills thinking about it. Let’s go to work.”

The future first-ballot Hall of Famer had flirted with the idea of walking away from the game after winning Super Bowl LVI. He’d even gone on record as saying he’d return if the Rams brought back key players like Von Miller and Odell Beckham, but Miller signed with Buffalo and Beckham remains unsigned.

In the end, that didn’t matter as much as the money. Donald reset the market atop which he already sat, going from a league-leading $22.5 million per year to $31.6 million per year on average. The new average compensation is $10 million more per year than the next closest interior defensive lineman (the Giants’ Leonard Williams).

Number of lawsuits vs. Cleveland Browns QB Deshaun Watson now 24 | ESPN

“Today we filed the twenty-fourth case alleging sexual misconduct against Deshaun Watson,” the attorney for all 24 plaintiffs, Tony Buzbee, said in a statement. “The allegations made in this new case are strikingly similar to those made by many of the other victims. Lost in the media frenzy surrounding Deshaun Watson is that these are twenty-four strong, courageous women who, despite ridicule, legal shenanigans, and intense media scrutiny, continue to stand firm for what is right. Setting aside the legal wrangling, the complicity of the NFL, or the failures of the criminal justice system, the resounding story that should be told here is that these women are true heroes. I will say again, our entire team is incredibly proud to represent these women, and we look forward to the day when we can lay out their cases in detail in front of a jury.”

The lawsuit also references comments Watson’s lawyer, Rusty Hardin, made on a Houston radio station last week.

“Watson’s lawyer claims that ‘happy endings’ are common in massage therapy and, short of paying extra for it, such conduct is not a crime,” the lawsuit reads.

In case you missed it on Arrowhead Pride

In a new cornerback ranking, PFF inexplicably puts Rashad Fenton near the bottom

On Monday, Pro Football Focus writer Anthony Treash ranked the NFL’s top 32 outside cornerbacks coming into the 2022 season. Just one Kansas City Chiefs cornerback made the list. Rashad Fenton ranked 31st.

31. RASHAD FENTON, KANSAS CITY CHIEFS

Fenton has quietly been highly reliable over his three-year NFL career. Despite being a sixth-round pick in the 2019 NFL Draft, the former South Carolina Gamecock owns the second-highest career coverage grade among cornerbacks in that class (83.0). He fell in the draft partly because of subpar physical traits for NFL standards, but that hasn’t been an issue. His tackling stands out more than any other part of his game, as he has missed just twice on 103 attempts since 2019.

Takeaway

As we’ve previously noted, “tiers” is the new buzzword in NFL rankings. In this one, Treash separated players into five groups: Elite, On the Cusp of Elite, Veterans with Juice Still in the Tank, Good Players with Boom or Bust Tendencies and Up-and-Comers. Fenton was in the last group, which included players ranked from 27th through 31st.

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