Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce and his older brother — Philadelphia Eagles center Jason Kelce — host a weekly podcast called “New Heights.” The title is an homage to the Cleveland Heights, Ohio neighborhood in which they grew up.
This week, the Kelce brothers dropped Episode 32, in which the brothers discuss NFL free agency and why the league needs better agents. Then Jason interviews NFL Netwrok’s Rich Eisen.
“New Heights” with Jason & Travis Kelce | Jukes Original Presented by Wave Sports + Entertainment | You can also listen to the show on Spotify.
1. Travis can’t believe Orlando Brown Jr. went to that terrible team
It’s no secret there is bad blood between the Chiefs and Cincinnati Bengals. You probably know the story: Cincinnati disrespected Arrowhead Stadium and tried counting their regular-season victories before they were hatched. In return, the Chiefs — motivated by the bulletin board material — sent the kittens back to Ohio to lick their wounds.
So it’s no wonder that Kelce was surprised to learn that his former teammate Orlando Brown Jr. had crossed the battle lines to join the enemy, signing a four-year, $64 million contract to protect Cincinnati quarterback Joe Burrow.
“It hurts my soul, man,” said Travis of Brown’s departure. “It’s like watching your best friend turn evil on you… The past two years, we’ve struggled beating the Bengals. So there’s been a lot of build-up and emotion of — like, I would say, not necessarily hate, but just dislike — towards the Bengals, because they keep beating us and they keep talking about it every time they do.
“So it’s like, man, to see him go to the dark side? It’s an awkward feeling.”
Still, Travis wanted to wish his old teammate well.
“Obviously, [I] hope that he has an absolute Hall of Fame career,” he added. “[I] wish nothing but the best for O.B. He was an unbelievable leader [and] an unbelievable teammate on (and off) the field. [We’ve] got countless memories that I’ll f—ing cherish.”
It’s clear, however, that this won’t be what Travis is thinking about on game days.
“It’s on and poppin’, O.B.,” he concluded.
2. Travis tried to get Jason on the Chiefs
In 2015, Kansas City lost starting center Rodney Hudson in free agency. As luck would have it, he signed with the Las Vegas Raiders — or as we like to call them, Andy Reid’s 53 illegitimate children who call him, “Daddy.”
With Hudson out the door, Travis did what the brother of any All-Pro-caliber offensive lineman would do: he walked into general manager John Dorsey’s office to try to get him to sign his sibling.
“I was like, ‘John, I know a center,’” recalled Travis. “‘He might be tied up with another team right now — but I know a center if you want to go get him. I think he’d fit in perfectly.’”
There was, unfortunately, the little matter of the six-year, $37.5 million contract Jason had signed with the Eagles one year before.
“I think there actually was a call or a conversation — and it didn’t go very far,” said Travis. “That was about as far as me trying to recruit Jason Kelce got.”
3. It should be more difficult to be an agent
A recurring theme in this episode was the role agents play in the success of a player's career — and whether players should represent themselves. The brothers generally agreed: with the exception of Houston Texans left tackle Laremy Tunsil (who just negotiated himself into a three-year, $75 million contract), it’s usually a good idea for a player to employ an agent — even if it only creates an emotional buffer between the player and the team during negotiations.
But they also agreed that there are some bad agents out there.
“I do think they should make the agent process harder,” said Jason. “I think there’s a lot of bad agents — I really do. I think a lot of guys get misinformed.
“I think free agency is hard to navigate in general because there’s a lot of competition… A lot of guys end up signing deals in the market that quite frankly, I think, [are] below what they should be at.
“I think a lot of that sometimes comes down to the agent just misinforming them or trying to drag it out. And then all of sudden, you just don’t have an option. I think that happens across the league to a lot of guys.
“I think they should make it much more difficult to get an agent’s license and certification.”