One vote · +1100
Marc Ross: Chiefs over Eagles. It’s the Andy Reid Bowl for the Lombardi Trophy! In the end, the upstart Eagles’ Cinderella season strikes midnight against the Chiefs, with Kansas City’s experience and game MVP Patrick Mahomes’ brilliance winning the day.
Frank Clark, Edge, Chiefs
Clark hasn’t been the pass-rushing force the Chiefs expected when he signed a five-year, $104 million contract with $62.305 million in guarantees in connection with his trade from the Seahawks for a 2019 first-round pick and a 2020 second-round pick shortly before the 2019 draft. He has 18.5 sacks during his three seasons with the Chiefs. Originally scheduled to make $19.5 million in 2022, Clark dropped his pay to $6.75 million with an additional $7 million in incentives in order to stay in Kansas City. His $21 million 2023 salary remained intact. Clark has had double-digit sacks twice in his seven-year NFL career, with a career-high 13 in 2019. A third double-digit sack season would really come in handy considering Clark’s 2023 salary cap number is $28.675 million.
Kansas City Chiefs · DE
DRAFTED: Round 1, Pick 30 | Purdue
In the wake of Tyreek Hill’s departure, the Chiefs seem poised to transition from a high-octane, offense-dominated team to a more balanced squad that plays complementary football. For that to happen, though, the defense needs to step up its play in 2022. The front features superstar Chris Jones and a potentially resurgent Frank Clark, but the addition of a worker bee on the edge could help the unit become a disruptive force. Karlaftis is a high-energy defender with outstanding hand-to-hand combat skills and a knack for finding the ball. He adds toughness to a defense that needed some more fighters at the line of scrimmage. If Karlaftis can control the edges as a run defender and add some pass-rush production in Year 1, this defense could help Kansas City claim a seventh straight division crown.
A now-deleted tweet from a Cleveland Browns fan drew the ire of the former Chiefs lineman. Without reservation, Schwartz decided to hit back at the fan’s insinuation of the veteran lineman being “bitter.”
“It’s amazing Browns fans think I’m bitter. I left and won a freaking Super Bowl. Won my division each year. Was All-Pro 4 times,” Schwartz tweeted in response.
“CLE went 1-31 the two years after I left, then two more sub .500 years. If anything I have gratitude CLE wasn’t serious about keeping me. Thanks Sashi!”
Justin Herbert (7 votes), Patrick Mahomes (6), Josh Allen (5)
All hail the AFC. Everyone’s buying into Herbert’s laser-armed pocket passing for the Chargers, especially now that he’s got a loaded supporting cast on both sides of the ball. Mahomes and Allen, meanwhile, are the league’s big-play mavens, and everyone figures their Chiefs and Bills will meet again.
Others receiving votes: Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady, Lamar Jackson, Joe Burrow
Isiah Pacheco, RB, Kansas City Chiefs (31 Percent Rostered)
Isiah Pacheco came out of seemingly nowhere to become a potentially prominent piece of the Kansas City Chiefs’ backfield.
A seventh-round rookie out of Rutgers, Pacheco was basically an afterthought during the 2022 draft. The team already had a locked-in starter with Clyde Edwards-Helaire and had signed Ronald Jones to join Jerick McKinnon as the depth options behind the 2020 first-round pick.
Pacheco forced his way into the mix during a sterling training camp. While he couldn’t maintain an elite level of play throughout the entire preseason, he still racked up a commendable 66 yards on 16 carries and caught three passes for 21 yards across three exhibition contests.
The 23-year-old made several highlight plays throughout the offseason and is now bringing plenty of potential and momentum into his first NFL campaign.
Although Pacheco isn’t likely to see a significant amount of volume early on, he could slowly work his way into the mix and steadily increase his snaps as the season wears on. He’s also an ideal handcuff for Edwards-Helaire, who has been underwhelming in his first two seasons.
Pacheco is a must-stash in any dynasty or keeper format. Managers in deeper leagues or those with a critical lack of RB depth should also scoop up the rookie now in case he ends up seeing a good chunk of playing time in the opener or one of the Chiefs’ other backs suffers an injury.
Around the NFL
If rookie Kenny Pickett knows whether it’ll be him or Mitchell Trubisky under center in Week 1 against the Cincinnati Bengals, he isn’t saying — and isn’t particularly worried about it at this point.
“I am just focused on getting better,” Pickett said this week, via the team’s official website. “Still learning a lot of things, getting my first true game plan going into Cincinnati. So, a lot of things I am learning, taking it all in stride and enjoying it.”
The prevailing thought suggests Trubisky will get the starting nod to open the season. The veteran signed this offseason as the starter and hasn’t done anything to lose the gig. He performed admirably in the preseason finale against Detroit even as his offensive line crumbled each snap.
The Houston Texans have invited the Uvalde High School football team to be their guests for the team’s season opener against the Indianapolis Colts at NRG Stadium on Sept. 11.
The Texans, along with supermarket chain H-E-B, are providing the Uvalde team with transportation to the stadium as well as suites for the game.
Members of the Texans visited Uvalde and spent time with the football team as it prepared for its home opener on Friday night, its first home game since the May 24 mass shooting as nearby Robb Elementary School.
Among the Texans contingent were CEO Cal McNair, vice president Hannah McNair, head coach Lovie Smith, linebackers Christian Kirksey and Kamu Grugier-Hill, along with director of sports medicine Roland Ramirez, who attended Robb Elementary.
In case you missed it on Arrowhead Pride
4. Will L’Jarius Sneed and/or Willie Gay Jr. be extended after the season?
Seemingly in the blink of an eye, the 2020 draft class enters its third season — and its players can negotiate extensions at its conclusion. While running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire likely is not a candidate, linebacker Willie Gay Jr. and cornerback L’Jarius Sneed may be.
Sneed became a starter from his first regular season game, and he has arguably been the best player in the Chiefs secondary for two seasons. Gay’s career started slowly — but he delivered strong play over the second half of last season and seems in line for a monster year. Should they follow through on their promise, the Chiefs may have to consider beginning extension talks when the season ends in order to control future costs.
It will be interesting to monitor the front office’s overtures as these players approach free agency. The team has used day-two draft selections on fellow linebackers Nick Bolton and Leo Chenal since drafting Gay — and three rookie cornerbacks cracking the 2022 roster could make extending Sneed less of a priority.
A tweet to make you think
Veteran free agent ILB Reggie Ragland is visiting the #Raiders, per source. Former second-round pick has 47 career starts.— Jeremy Fowler (@JFowlerESPN) September 2, 2022