Wide receiver · Age: 27
Money matters. The Chiefs gave MVS $30 million over three years because his deep speed created competition in free agency, and because they had a role for him in the wake of Tyreek Hill’s exit. It’s not that Valdes-Scantling is upgrading that much at quarterback and play caller, just that he’s joining a pass-first attack that needs him. A career average of 17.5 yards per reception can’t be wrong.
46. Chris Jones, IDL, Kansas City Chiefs
In the first few games of the 2021 season, the Chiefs decided to solve their edge-rushing deficits by moving Jones from more permanent IDL spots. where he had been dominant for a number of years, to the edge.
I opined that this would be a good idea.
While Jones had some good games in that role — especially against the Eagles in Week 4 — Kansas City’s defense started to get back into shape when Jones moved back inside, and the Chiefs traded for edge-rusher Melvin Ingram in early November. The Chiefs went from 31st to ninth in overall Defensive DVOA in the second half of the season — from 27th to 11th against the pass, and from 28th to 11th against the run. The combination of Jones and Ingram made all the difference, especially when they worked together.
Clyde Edwards-Helaire, RB, Kansas City Chiefs
Did any player seem like a more obvious fit for an offense? In the middle of their post-Super Bowl high, the Chiefs went out and used their 2020 first-round pick on what looked to be one of the few weak points on their roster. Edwards-Helaire was coming off a season with 1,414 rushing yards and 453 receiving yards at LSU. He was personally chosen for the Chiefs’ roster by Patrick Mahomes. When he ran for 138 yards in his debut win over the Texans, Edwards-Helaire looked like the next superstar playmaker in Kansas City.
Edwards-Helaire has averaged just under 54 rushing yards per game since that debut while missing 12 regular-season and playoff games with various injuries. He has not become a meaningful part of the passing game, and after he failed to score on six rush attempts inside the 5-yard line in that Texans game, the Chiefs have trusted him with only six more rush attempts in the same range over the ensuing 22 games. (To be fair, he has scored five times on those six.)
When the Chiefs drafted Edwards-Helaire, they expected him to be a different level of back from Darrel Williams, who had been the primary runner for their Super Bowl run. Unfortunately for Kansas City, it would be reasonable to argue that Williams, now in Arizona, was the better back of the two.
With Ronald Jones joining the organization, it’s unclear whether Edwards-Helaire will be the team’s primary back this season. It’s not too late for CEH to turn things around, but this will be his last chance to emerge as the guy whom we all expected to thrive in Kansas City.
A former first-round pick by the Chiefs in the 2014 NFL draft, Kansas City traded the franchise-tagged Ford to the 49ers ahead of the 2019 NFL season in exchange for a 2020 second-round draft pick. The 49ers in turn signed Ford to a five-year contract extension worth over $85 million. It looked like a great deal for a player coming off of a season where he recorded 55 tackles, 13 sacks and seven forced fumbles.
The problem was that Ford was unable to stay healthy in San Francisco. In three seasons with the 49ers, Ford has appeared in just 18 regular-season games of 49 possible games. He recorded just 22 total tackles, 9.5 sacks and three forced fumbles in that span.
It won’t exactly be “It’s A Wonderful Life” or “Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer,” but Chiefs fans may want to tune in for something special this Christmas season.
Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes will be on ESPN’s “Peyton’s Place” during the holidays, according to the Los Angeles Times. “Peyton’s Place” stars former Colts/Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning, and he visits with various people.
Manning recently was in Kansas City, where he spent time with Mahomes at Arrowhead Stadium. The Times’ Sam Farmer tagged along and wrote about some of what he saw.
Apparently a helicopter dropped 10,000 Superballs in the Truman Sports Complex, while Mahomes and Manning were about 100 yards away from the point of impact.
Around the NFL
Rodgers jumped at his opportunity to respond to Adams when asked about Allen Lazard possibly replacing Adams as Rodgers’ new primary receiving option.
“It’s always tough going from Hall of Famer to Hall of Famer,” Rodgers said, via The Athletic’s Matt Schneidman. “From Davante to Allen, it’s going to be a transition, but he’s capable of a lot. The way things have gone with the reps, the guys that we’ve had here and the targets that we’ve doled out, he hasn’t had a ton of opportunities.
“Since his first day here, he’s turned heads. So it’s not surprising to see him go out and have a really consistent day today. But he’s been working hard. He has a lot to prove, I think, to himself and other people, maybe to the team as well. I like a hungry Allen Lazard.
Derwin James is in Costa Mesa, California, with the rest of his Los Angeles Chargers teammates, but he’s yet to take the practice field.
Bolts head coach Brandon Staley said Wednesday that James is not practicing due to his contract situation, but said the team’s two-time Pro Bowl safety would be practicing fully once a new deal was done.
James underwent shoulder surgery during the offseason, but Staley underscored that the defensive back was 100 percent and would be a full-go once the sides agreed upon a contract extension. The anchor of the backend of the Bolts’ defense, James is entering the final year of his rookie contract, which currently has him on the books for $9.05 million in base salary.
James, 25, was selected 17th overall by the Chargers in the 2018 NFL Draft. Pittsburgh Steelers safety Minkah Fitzpatrick, also 25, was picked six spots ahead of James in the 2018 draft by the Miami Dolphins, and recently signed an extension to become the highest-paid safety in the league at an average of $18.4 million per season.
Veteran linebacker K.J. Wright signed a ceremonial one-day contract Wednesday to retire as a member of the Seattle Seahawks, the team announced.
Wright’s retirement ends an 11-year playing career that included 10 seasons as a starter on the famed defenses that helped lead the Seahawks through the most successful stretch in franchise history, which included a victory in Super Bowl XLVIII and a near repeat the next year.
Wright spent 2021 with the Las Vegas Raiders and was interested in playing a 12th NFL season only if it was with the Seahawks, but they’ve been intent on going with younger players in the middle of their revamped defense.
In case you missed it on Arrowhead Pride
Speaking afterward to reporters at Missouri Western State University in St. Joseph, Missouri, the fifth-year defensive back said he had learned one thing: nobody on the team is likely to complain that they didn’t get enough practice reps.
“When we got out there today, guys weren’t lying to me when they said, ‘We’re going to run a lot of plays here,’” smiled Reid, “so I’ve seen that first hand — and I know we’re only going to run more of them.”
But as one of the team’s defensive leaders, Reid said he understands the rationale for the team’s fast-paced training camp sessions: so that defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo will have his full playbook available to him on game day.
“The more we can handle right now — and prove that we have an understanding of the playbook and we’re able to execute without the mental errors and mistakes — the more we’re going to be able to take into each game week, so that coach Spags doesn’t have to cut it down so we’re not making mistakes,” he explained. “So [if] we’re able to carry more plays into the game week, [he’ll be] able to switch more things up on an opposing offense and make it more difficult for them.”