Top performers among free agents-to-be
Chris Jones, DT, Kansas City Chiefs
Jones didn’t need a hot start to solidify his status as a top free agent, but he’s helped his case tremendously by producing right away after his holdout. The Chiefs were impressed — but not surprised — that Jones showed up for Week 2 in excellent shape and produced 3.5 sacks through his first three games, setting a tone for a defense that’s been mostly stout.
The Chiefs effectively won the standoff with Jones, who lost millions by missing all of training camp and Week 1, only to sign a reworked one-year deal that requires hitting a series of incentives to be made whole. Since the franchise tag would cost the Chiefs more than $30 million in 2024, Jones is poised to hit the open market — and will be rewarded. One veteran NFL agent forecasts a three-year, $90 million pact between Jones and a contender. An NFL executive saw something short of that ... but close.
Another star defensive tackle in this class is Christian Wilkins, who is a top-10 tackle in the eyes of some evaluators. He’ll have a robust market if the Dolphins don’t franchise-tag him.
2. The Chiefs are the only team in the NFL to hold the opposition to 21 points or fewer in every game this season.
Kansas City held New York to just 20 points on Sunday night, and now through four games, the Chiefs are the only team in the league to hold the opposition under 22 points in every contest.
In fact, the most points that Kansas City has allowed this season took place during Week 1, and even then, six of the Detroit Lions’ 21 points were scored via a pick-six. The Chiefs then yielded just nine points in Week 2 and 10 in Week 3 before surrendering 20 points to New York (2 of which came via a safety), meaning that Kansas City is also the only team to allow 18 or fewer offensive points in every game this year.
Kansas City has allowed the third-fewest offensive touchdowns (5) in the NFL.
Kansas City Chiefs
Isiah Pacheco finally got going: Pacheco wasn’t much of a factor the first three games (155 yards, 4.4 yards per carry), but broke through in Sunday’s win over the Jets. He finished with 20 carries for 115 yards, which included a 48-yard touchdown run in the first quarter. The Chiefs were explosive in the opening 15 minutes, accumulating 200 yards and 17 points, as Pacheco had five carries for 59 yards (he had just 15 first quarter rushing yards in the first three games). A good start for Pacheco ignited the Chiefs offense, which needs to happen more efficiently if they are going to get off to fast starts.
3. Kansas City Chiefs (Last Week: 2)
Overall Record: 3-1 | Last Week: Chiefs won 23-20 @ New York Jets
Cowherds thoughts: ”Patrick Mahomes [is] the least-sacked quarterback in the NFL this season — only been hit twice. … Now, I love their defense. They’ve held opponents to 21 or fewer points in all four games. Their issue, outside of [Travis] Kelce, [is] they don’t get enough separation. … They need a big play receiver. It is an issue, and I’m not sure if it’s solvable with their receiving personnel.”
2013: DeAndre Hopkins, Wide Receiver
Who they drafted: Eric Fisher, offensive tackle (No. 1)
Fisher wasn’t really a bust, as he still took home a pair of Pro Bowl nods during his time in the NFL. However, the Chiefs will take Nuk here as the top overall pick in the 2013 draft. A year after drafting Hilton, the Chiefs pair the dangerous Hopkins up with Hilton to give themselves a young and lethal WR combo. It gets scarier when you consider the fact that this is also the same draft class that landed the Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce.
PICK NO. 31: KANSAS CITY CHIEFS: EDGE FELIX ANUDIKE-UZOMAH
Overall Rookie Grade: 61.2 (Rank: 6/13)
Principal Opponent: Mekhi Becton
Week 4 Snaps: 13
Week 4 Grade: 46.3
Anudike-Uzomah played a season-low 13 snaps on Sunday Night Football, struggling on his way to a season-low 46.3 grade. He made a hit on Zach Wilson among his 10 pass-rush snaps and allowed a 10-yard catch, albeit during a tough assignment dropping from his defensive end spot. He’ll see better days as the season goes on but could play fewer snaps in the short term with George Karlaftis emerging as the Chiefs’ best edge rusher.
There’s no denying that what was already the biggest sports league in America has received a serious boost in new interest from the passion of the Swifties.
So have the Kansas City Chiefs, who are a perfect 2-0 since Swift turned into a huge fan and started following the team around the country.
An average of 27 million people either watched or streamed the Chiefs versus the New York Jets, which was the NFL’s largest Sunday audience since the last Super Bowl.
That huge number was almost as large as the 2023 season opener between the Detroit Lions and Chiefs.
Around the NFL
Von Miller hasn’t played a game in Buffalo or anywhere else in North America since November of 2022.
That won’t change this week, but he might take the field in London when the Bills play the Jacksonville Jaguars on Sunday, streaming on NFL+ at 9:30 a.m. ET. That’s his hope, anyhow.
“I don’t know if the fans can expect to see me yet, but if I was a betting man I would say yeah, you can expect to see Von Miller in London,” Miller said in Tuesday’s edition of The Von Cast, via B/R Gridiron.
Miller’s been out of action since Week 12 of last season, when he tore his ACL during a Bills win over the Detroit Lions on Thanksgiving.
In case you missed it on Arrowhead Pride
3. The Chiefs still need a reliable possession receiver
On a night when Taylor Swift brought her whole crew out to see her new beau play, Jets head coach Robert Saleh played the role of Captain Wet Blanket — basically saying, “Yes, we’re covering tight end Travis Kelce by any (and all) means necessary.”
That was the right call. The Chiefs simply don’t have another player who can demand the respect that Kelce can — and therefore remove some of the pressure on the superstar tight end.
While second-round rookie Rashee Rice is really good after the catch, his only problem is that all of those catches are made within five yards of the line of scrimmage. On Sunday night, he led all receivers with 32 receiving yards — and over the course of the season, that’s just not going to work.
By Week 4 of last season, JuJu Smith-Schuster had topped 75 yards twice. So far in 2023, no Kansas City receiver has collected 75 yards in a game. The Chiefs need a reliable chain-mover who can get open on third-and-long. Rice has the tools to develop into that guy — but unfortunately, he still a way to go.