L’Jarius Sneed, CB, Kansas City Chiefs
That pesky salary cap.
As the Kansas City Chiefs chase a third championship in the past five seasons, they’re looking at a complicated offseason.
All-Pro pass-rusher lineman Chris Jones is headed for free agency, and he’ll be incredibly expensive. Kansas City has seen its defense without Jones, though, and it’s not great. Letting him walk could be devastating.
The issue is his price tag probably means the Chiefs will be unable to keep cornerback L’Jarius Sneed, too. He’s been a fantastic player in four seasons with Kansas City. But as a low-cost fourth-round pick in 2020, this contract is particularly important for Sneed’s career earnings.
Sneed already has two rings and will be a top corner available. It’s only reasonable for him, entering his age-26 season, to put a little more emphasis on his salary if he so chooses.
AFC playoff picture
1. Kansas City Chiefs (7-2), AFC West leaders: Coming out of their bye week awaits a Super Bowl 57 rematch with Philadelphia. Get that win, and K.C. looks well positioned to lay the groundwork for a sixth consecutive AFC title game at Arrowhead Stadium. Remaining schedule: vs. Eagles, at Raiders, at Packers, vs. Bills, at Patriots, vs. Raiders, vs. Bengals, at Chargers
1. Patrick Mahomes - Kansas City Chiefs (7-2)
Mahomes gets the edge over [the field] because he’s the reigning MVP.
Other than that, it’s a dead heat and Hurts is technically the QB for the best team entering Week 10.
The Chiefs’ offense has been off in recent games.
With a bye week waiting, Andy Reid has time to scheme up a new plan for Kansas City.
Mahomes is at his best in prime time.
“Karma is the guy on the Chiefs” hello??— Lexi (@lexiosborne) November 12, 2023
Also why do I feel like Papa Swift & Donna Kelce will be besties?! pic.twitter.com/2NMUVyaa6o
Chiefs’ Patrick Mahomes attends KU football game to catch alma mater Texas Tech https://t.co/a0W4zLNEx3— Sports Daily KC (@SportsDailyKC) November 11, 2023
Around the NFL
Dustin Hopkins kicked a 40-yard game-winning field goal as time expired to reinsert the 6-3 Browns into the AFC North race. Cleveland, which has not won a division title since 1989, now trails 7-3 Baltimore by just a half-game.
The Browns — who had not won a game after trailing by two touchdowns in the fourth quarter in nine years — became just the fourth team in the Super Bowl era to win after trailing in the first minute and not leading until the final minute of regulation.
“We didn’t back down,” Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson said. “Definitely a big moment for us.”
The Los Angeles Chargers fell to the Detroit Lions, 41-38, on Sunday, in a game that saw the Bolts defense allow 533 net yards — the most yards given up by the team since Week 1 against the Miami Dolphins, and a far cry from the apparent improvement shown from the unit in the last two weeks.
Chargers head coach Brandon Staley took responsibility for the sub-par defensive effort that led to the loss.
“Yeah, I didn’t do a good enough job on defense for us today, that was the story,” Staley said in his postgame news conference. “On run and pass, didn’t do a good enough job on the run game in the first half, and then in the second half there were far too many [explosive plays]. So I didn’t do a good enough job for us today.”
Hand him the hardware
The 2023 Offensive Rookie of the Year race looks like it might be over before it really got going. And maybe we shouldn’t just be handing C.J. Stroud that award ... because he might be worthy of the MVP conversation just nine games into his NFL career.
Houston’s rookie signal-caller somehow managed to top last week’s record-breaking performance on Sunday, when he went on the road and beat the Bengals straight up, as a touchdown underdog, in a hostile environment, against a surging Joe Burrow and a high-flying Bengals offense.
Even with no Tee Higgins, the Bengals were cooking with gas, piling up 27 points with long shots to Ja’Marr Chase and Burrow peppering Tyler Boyd with targets. The Texans got down a touchdown early but Stroud never let his team get out of the game. It would have been pretty easy to do so given how explosive Cincy can be, but Stroud, once again, maintained his composure and continued to deliver the football to a young, unheralded group of receivers who he’s been raising up week after week.
That kick also sent Week 10 of the NFL season into the record books.
The Seahawks’ win over Washington was the fifth game of the day that was decided on a made field goal as time expired, joining the Cleveland Browns over the Baltimore Ravens, the Houston Texans over the Cincinnati Bengals, the Arizona Cardinals over the Atlanta Falcons and the Detroit Lions over the Los Angeles Chargers.
According to Elias Sports Bureau research, the five matchups decided by a game-winning score as time expired in regulation was the most on a single day in NFL history. The previous record was three such games, which happened several times.
In case you missed it on Arrowhead Pride
his first five years in Kansas City, he won 66.3%. Since Mahomes became the starter, he’s won 78%. So unlike Belichick — who hasn’t even had a winning record without Brady — Reid has had success without Mahomes.
But these numbers also underline Mahomes’ contribution to the team’s success. Without him, Reid has a 1-4 record in conference championship games (and a 0-1 record in the Super Bowl) over 19 seasons. With Mahomes under center, though, Reid’s Chiefs have hosted five straight conference championships — winning three of them — and won two of three Super Bowls.
So if Kansas City’s current success is eventually characterized as a dynasty, we’ll have to do the same thing we did during Brady’s time in New England: acknowledge that Mahomes has played a big part in building (and maintaining) it. But unlike Belichick, Reid will have already proved his worth.
A tweet to make you think
The 4th Annual 15 and the Mahomies Foundation Gala - an incredible night of community, celebration and giving. @PatrickMahomes & @BrittanyLynne awarded $615,000 in grants to 19 different charitable organizations! pic.twitter.com/3xVM2cuZQx— @15andmahomies (@15andMahomies) November 10, 2023