Chiefs signing a pass-rusher
That could be Clark, although it would require him to take a significant pay cut from the $21 million he had previously been owed for 2023. Leonard Floyd, Justin Houston, Jadeveon Clowney and Yannick Ngakoue are all free agents, although they all have their issues. Floyd has only been a productive player next to Aaron Donald. Houston, a former Chiefs star, was cut by the team for cap reasons in 2019 and might not want to return. Clowney has one season with more than three sacks over the past four years and left the Browns in acrimonious fashion.
Caesars Win Total: 11.5 (over -115)
Brinson Projected Record: 14-3
There are plenty of difficult games on the Chiefs’ schedule, but unfortunately the Chiefs are the most difficult game on everyone else’s schedule.
2022 record: 13-4
The 49ers might have been ranked higher on this list if their quarterback situation hadn’t imploded due to injuries over the course of last season. They wound up using four players at that position in 2022, with the health woes ultimately costing them a shot at the Super Bowl. The 49ers come into this year liking what they have in second-year signal-caller Brock Purdy, the seventh-round pick who led the team to seven straight wins before sustaining an injury in the NFC Championship Game loss to Philadelphia. This team was supposed to belong to 2021 first-round pick Trey Lance by this point, but Purdy proved he had the moxie and talent to lead a championship-caliber group when his opportunity arrived. He just needs to show that his surgically repaired right elbow won’t be an issue once he’s back on the field.
Nic Jones, CB, Kansas City Chiefs
The defending Super Bowl champions made a great value pick at No. 250 overall, snagging a quality cornerback in Ball State’s Nic Jones near the tail end of the draft. The Kansas City Chiefs have done extremely well unearthing serviceable late-round defensive backs during the Andy Reid era and Jones could be the next unheralded talent to play a major role for this club.
While Jones may not be a lock to start right away, he should be in the mix for a depth role behind Trent McDuffie, L’Jarius Sneed, Jaylen Watson and Joshua Williams—the latter three were all Day 3 picks as well—in training camp. Although the Chiefs did tap another corner in Chamarri Conner with a fourth-round pick this year, Jones has the tools to become the position’s breakout talent of the preseason.
The 21-year-old’s build (he stands a solid but unspectacular six-foot, 189 pounds) and athletic abilities may not jump off the page, but he knows how to utilize his long arms—they measured over 32 inches at the combine—to his advantage and flashes strong coverage skills. Jones secured three interceptions and defensed 15 passes during his final two seasons with the Cardinals.
The rookie should be a solid contributor from the jump on special teams. If Jones can hone his tackling work and tighten up his mechanics with some pro coaching, he’ll quickly climb the depth chart in Kansas City.
Kansas City Chiefs schedule 2023: Worst-case game-by-game predictions, Weeks 1-2
LIONS 26 CHIEFS 27
Kansas City doesn’t lose season openers.
Detroit played just about everyone tight last year and finished 2022 with a good amount of momentum despite narrowly missing out on the playoffs. They’ve suffered some turnover but have a resurgent Jared Goff and outstanding Amon-Ra St. Brown leading the passing game.
Even so, Kansas City doesn’t lose season openers.
Butker never dreamed he’d line up to kick a game-winning field goal in the Super Bowl. Never dreamed he’d be drafted.
At Westminster High School in Atlanta, he was a tuba player, chosen for the instrument, he says, because he had big lips. Being in the orchestra — he was the first-chair tuba player — would determine his life’s course. A girl named Isabelle played percussion in the row behind him. Five years ago, she became Mrs. Butker and they are now expecting their third child.
A fellow tuba player was the kicker on the football team. Butker was a central defender in soccer — he played on state championship teams in high school and was a captain twice. When the kicker was a senior and Butker was a sophomore, the kicker recruited him to the football team.
“Kellen is an integral member of our client service team and has helped our partners maximize their business relationships with us over the course of a decade,” Chiefs President Mark Donovan said. “Retaining and promoting talent throughout the organization continues to be a key part of our off-the-field success, and Kellen’s work is not only important for our growth, but it will continue to position our clients for success in their association with the club.”
In his new role, Begnoche will continue to report to Vice President of Partnership Strategy and Development Kim Hobbs and will oversee all aspects of the club’s current corporate partnership portfolio and manage all client relationships. He is responsible for securing long-term commitments and driving revenue growth within the club’s existing client base, as well as discovering new revenue streams and identifying growth opportunities for current partners. In addition, he will focus on creating and executing brand activations that advance the brand’s objectives, drive engagement and increase brand exposure.
Around the NFL
He’ll have a new quarterback throwing to him in Jimmy Garoppolo this season, but as Adams recently told The Ringer’s Mirin Fader, in his opinion, the passer doesn’t matter. His first-team All-Pro nod earned in 2022 proved this.
“It proved that I am me,” Adams said. “A quarterback doesn’t make me. ... I make me. And I can do it consistently at this level.
“That’s why [last] season meant a lot. Even if I went and played like dog s--- next year, they can’t say it. Because now I’ve already proved it throughout the course of a season, played every game, and put together a résumé that says I do not need. ... You can erase all the numbers. You can just write in: He didn’t need Aaron Rodgers.”
As he goes through talks with the Bengals, Burrow said he’s keeping teammates who could also receive contract extensions in consideration.
“Whenever you have guys on the team that need to be paid, that’s always on your mind,” Burrow said. “You want that to be a focal point. We’re working to make that happen.”
Burrow delivered his comments one day after the Bengals started phase two of team workouts. Many of the team’s projected starters, including wide receivers Tee Higgins and Ja’Marr Chase, were present inside the team’s indoor practice bubble.
In case you missed it on Arrowhead Pride
Over the last three years, the Chiefs have invested heavily in their defense. Of the 29 players selected in the NFL Draft, 18 were defensive players. Then there have been free-agency acquisitions like defensive end Carlos Dunlap, safety Justin Reid, linebacker Drue Tranquill and cornerback Mike Edwards — and trades they’ve made for players such as defensive end Melvin Ingram and cornerback Mike Hughes.
Given the heavy investment in the #Chiefs defense, it's reasonable to expect them to be a top 10 unit this year.— Price Carter (@ArrowheadPrice) May 15, 2023
There's 9 day 1 and 2 picks playing meaningful snaps for this defense and $51M in cap spending this season alone.
Patrick Mahomes has never had a top 5 defense... pic.twitter.com/MqR3GaMR3j
This has been a sensible process. For proof, look no further than Kansas City’s AFC rival: the Cincinnati Bengals. In a single season, the Bengals became respectable by using free agency to obtain key defensive players. This was possible because the team had several elite offensive players on inexpensive rookie deals: quarterback Joe Burrow and wide receivers Ja’Marr Chase and Tee Higgins.
In 2019, the Chiefs went from AFC Championship loser to Super Bowl winner mainly because of the defensive improvement overseen by coordinator Steve Spagnuolo — and the high-level play of key veteran acquisitions like safety Tyrann Mathieu, linebacker Anthony Hitchens and defensive end Frank Clark. But now that Kansas City’s quarterback is no longer on a rookie deal, the team is pivoting to building its defense through the draft. Looking at their 2023 draft class, it appears that Cincinnati is now preparing to do the same thing — because Burrow will soon be signing a long-term deal.
A tweet to make you think
Chiefs are next— Warren Sharp (@SharpFootball) May 16, 2023
this is SHOCKING
KC plays 6 STRAIGHT GAMES with less rest than their opponent
late in the year (Wk 12-17), EVERY SINGLE GAME the Chiefs play is at a rest disadvantage
I researched back 35 years, never happened before