4. Rashee Rice, WR, Chiefs
In their Super Bowl-winning 2022 season, the Chiefs proved the offense was Tyreek Hill proof. Patrick Mahomes had his most efficient campaign as a passer since 2018, when he won MVP. How did Kansas City do it? Scheming and tremendous yards after the catch.
During the regular season, the Chiefs accumulated the most yards after the catch in the NFL (2,850 yards) with the third-most yards after the catch per reception (6.55). Where does Rice truly thrive? Yes, you guessed it. With the ball in his hands, after the catch. In his final two seasons at SMU, Rice forced 35 missed tackles on 160 receptions. Enormous elusiveness rate there. His size and athleticism profiles were spitting images of Brandon Aiyuk. That’s who Rice can be in this Patrick Mahomes-powered offense.
As Mahomes has risen to the pinnacle of the sport and is now regarded as the best quarterback (and perhaps the best player) in the game, his following has done nothing but grow over the last five or six years. He’s a household name in most cases, and his popularity rivals some of the NFL’s other top superstars. OLBG recently created an index that determined the most marketable players in the league, and Mahomes took the No. 3 spot. Here’s some of what OLBG’s article had to say about Mahomes:
Having one of the largest social media following of any active NFL star (5.6m), Mahomes scores remarkably high for audience reachability (94.3%) and also well for audience authenticity (69.24%). Combine this with the third-highest audience quality score (83/100) and a strong positive sentiment on Instagram posts (58.36%), Mahomes is likely any brand’s dream.
Thanks to his outstanding performances on the field, Mahomes has managed to sign some of the biggest deals in the NFL. Working with the likes of Bose, Oakley, State Farm, and EA, he also signed a massive 10-year deal with Adidas which resulted in him being one the highest-earning stars from off-field endorsements.
Offseason Grade: B
The Chiefs elected to let Orlando Brown Jr. walk and replace him with Jawaan Taylor at a huge cost of $20 million a year. Taylor, who has only ever played right tackle, was initially supposed to play on the left side, but the team has since signed Donovan Smith and will likely keep Taylor on the right side, where he has been an excellent pass blocker. Charles Omenihu, safety Mike Edwards and linebacker Drue Tranquill are solid additions who can all play extensively in 2023.
In the draft, the Chiefs weren’t flashy with their first pick but elsewhere targeted some fascinating projects. Rashee Rice had enigmatic tape at SMU and now goes to Andy Reid to see what he can become at the NFL level, while Wanya Morris represents the third project tackle the team has drafted in recent years.
Best New Team: Seattle Seahawks
The Seattle Seahawks already brought back linebacker Bobby Wagner, and Clark is a great fit to return to a team on the rise. Seattle has added Dre’Mont Jones and Jarran Reed on the defensive line in free agency and drafted Derick Hall as a second-round edge player. But Clark could play a role as the designated pass rusher from the edge.
The Seahawks have $10.6 million of room, so they may have to structure a deal with voidable years to get a cap number that works. Such a deal could include big incentives if Clark exceeds five sacks in the regular season, then the incentives earned would come out of next year’s cap if it pushes the team over the cap this season. Clark could be the player who nudges the Seahawks past the San Francisco 49ers in the NFC West.
Around the NFL
The imagery is beamed to us from days of old: a thundering, whirling Superman hurtling past dazed defenders; pulling away from a clutch of enemies to dart laterally, chop forward and break free upon a mixture of Cleveland dirt and painted grass for a long rocket blast to paydirt.
Younger generations know this almost mythical on-field figure from those storied spools of black-and-white cutups, but the real-time, in-the-flesh experience of Jim Brown unfurled in high-octane color — sometimes Technicolor.
Brown, viewed by many as the greatest football player ever, died Thursday night at age 87.
“It is with profound sadness that I announce the passing of my husband, Jim Brown,” Monique Brown said in a statement on Friday. “He passed peacefully last night at our L.A. home. To the world, he was an activist, actor and football star. To our family, he was a loving and wonderful husband, father and grandfather. Our hearts are broken.”
PICK: Buffalo Bills
It’s not about the Bills taking a step back this offseason — it’s about everyone else in the division taking a step forward. The Jets scored an infusion of talent, including four-time MVP Aaron Rodgers, while the Dolphins made some big additions of their own, including trading for Jalen Ramsey, one of the best cornerbacks in the league. The Patriots made significant changes, too, with the major one being hiring back offensive coordinator Bill O’Brien. Plus, I’m never counting out Bill Belichick.
Former NFL cornerback Damon Arnette has been indicted in Nevada on felony charges alleging that he brandished a handgun during an argument with Las Vegas Strip casino valets in January 2022.
The 2020 first-round draft pick of the Las Vegas Raiders is due for arraignment May 24 in state court in Las Vegas on assault with a weapon and concealed firearm charges. That could lead to prison time if he is convicted of displaying a .45-caliber handgun and threatening a man outside the Park MGM hotel, court records showed Tuesday.
Ross Goodman, the Las Vegas attorney representing Arnette, did not immediately respond to telephone and email messages about the indictment, which was filed May 12 in Clark County District Court.
In case you missed it on Arrowhead Pride
Skyy Moore will be the Chiefs’ best wide receiver
Some will consider this a hot take. I don’t.
I’m one of Moore’s biggest supporters in the media. When you look at his raw numbers, it leaves a lot to be desired. But when you apply context, however, you can understand why someone would be high on Moore’s upside.
First of all, he has the traits: a great release, sure hands and tremendous yards-after-catch ability.
If you don’t believe me, look at last season’s second Los Angeles Chargers game — when the Chiefs were severely shorthanded at receiver. Moore finished that game with six catches for 63 yards.
All he needs is more opportunities. This season, he should get them.
A tweet to make you think
It's all about Super Bowls in Kansas City–but the #Chiefs upcoming regular season development will be extremely important for their young roster.#ShowAndBk@RealRonHughley | @BKSportsTalk | @StephenSerda pic.twitter.com/H0ciZtt7WW— Arrowhead Pride (@ArrowheadPride) May 19, 2023