1. Chiefs Acquire 2017 No. 10 Overall Pick from Bills
The Kansas City Chiefs forever changed their fortunes with this masterfully executed trade up in the 2017 NFL draft. Originally picking at No. 27 overall that year, Kansas City identified Patrick Mahomes as a potential franchise quarterback and decided to make a huge leap up to secure him.
Although it took swapping first-rounders and adding in a 2017 third-rounder and 2018 first-rounder to convince the Buffalo Bills to slide down the board, it’s a move the Chiefs should have zero regrets about making. Mahomes has not only earned a pair of MVP awards in the first half-decade of his career, but also guided his club to a pair of Super Bowl titles. Considering Kansas City hadn’t claimed a championship since Super Bowl IV in 1969 before winning it all in Mahomes’ third season, it’s safe to say that no player has ever put their stamp on this organization the way this quarterback already has.
The Bills did get some quality pieces out of this deal as well, but none have had anywhere near the same type of franchise-altering effect that Mahomes could have had for the club. 2017 first-rounder Tre’Davious White and 2018 first-rounder Tremaine Edmunds each earned a pair of Pro Bowl nods early in their careers, but the latter departed in free agency and left White as the only asset remaining on Buffalo’s roster from this deal.
It’s safe to say that Kansas City won this trade by any metric you could look at. The move will continue paying dividends for the Chiefs in the coming years and may only look worse for the Bills if Josh Allen isn’t able to lead this squad to a title before his time in Buffalo is at an end.
Chiefs grade: A+
Bills grade: C
1. PATRICK MAHOMES, KANSAS CITY CHIEFS
Mahomes is the standard by which all NFL quarterbacks are now measured. With Manning and Brady now names of the past, Mahomes is the new benchmark pushing the boundaries of what we have seen previously. Since coming into the league, he has 191 big-time throws including the postseason, the most in the NFL. He has also passed for 8.1 yards per attempt, a figure only quarterbacks playing for Kyle Shanahan have surpassed over the same span.
4. KANSAS CITY CHIEFS
Biggest strength in 2023: Patrick Mahomes
No matter who Mahomes has as pass-catching options, he always seems to make it work. This was no truer than in 2022. Despite losing top receiver Tyreek Hill in a trade with the Dolphins, Mahomes still put up an MVP season and won his second Super Bowl.
Biggest weakness in 2023: Wide Receiver
The Chiefs were already thin at wide receiver heading into the offseason, and now they’ve lost JuJu Smith-Schuster in free agency. For now, their top receiver is Marquez Valdes-Scantling. However, they do have several potential breakout candidates, such as Skyy Moore and Justyn Ross.
It’s about time, right? Toney caught just 14 passes for 171 yards and two touchdowns in seven regular-season games played for the Chiefs after being acquired at the trade deadline, but he did play a monster role in the Super Bowl LVII victory with a touchdown reception, and then the longest punt return in Super Bowl history.
With JuJu Smith-Schuster gone, Toney is expected to be a consistent part of the offense in 2023. While he is mostly seen as a gadget player compared to a traditional WR1, Chiefs general manager Brett Veach believes Toney will play a major role moving forward.
“We have a lot of high hopes for him. I mean he was a first-round pick for a reason,” Veach said. “There’s a reason why we traded for him and we felt like he was first-round talent and I think if he stays healthy and continues to spend that chemistry with the coaching staff and with Pat, which I think he is doing a great job at, I think the sky is the limit for him.”
The Chiefs are headed to Germany this year for their first-ever official game in mainland Europe and the matchup against the Miami Dolphins should be an ultra-hot ticket in Frankfurt next November. Even before that time, the Chiefs have been pushing fan engagement and commercial opportunities there in Germany knowing they are making a long-term push to grow the team’s European fan base.
Given the Chiefs’ foothold in Germany, the league has also given them (and two other franchises) the rights to further their marketing efforts in neighboring countries, Austria and Switzerland. Exhibitions in Germany will be played in Munich and Frankfurt and both countries are quite close to those cities, making it an easy and obvious reach for the Chiefs in this next level.
California-based Don Neron Spirits agreed to become the official tequila of the team for the 2022 to 2028 seasons for a price tag of $4,075,614. But in a lawsuit filed last month in Jackson County Circuit Court, the Chiefs allege the company paid its first installment of $180,000 months late before failing to pay the next two.
All told, the Chiefs are asking a judge to order the spirits company to pay $3,939,700 — which includes the remaining contract fee, about $39,000 in interest and attorneys’ fees.
In the lawsuit, which alleges breach of contract, a lawyer for the Chiefs said the first payment was due in April 2022, but was not made until August of that year. The attorney, with the law firm Polsinelli, said the company owed $7,300 in interest.
The second payment of $180,000 was due in July 2022, but Don Neron did not make that one, according to the lawsuit. Interest for that amounted to about $16,800.
The third fee was to be paid in August 2022, but since Don Neron did not make it, the company owed more in interest: about $14,900, the attorney wrote.
The Chiefs also said they are entitled to $5,000 in expenses for what it cost to enforce the contract, such as attorneys’ fees.
Around the NFL
Just about five months after suffering cardiac arrest while playing in a ‘Monday Night Football’ game and receiving CPR on the field, Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin is back on the field. The 25-year-old was spotted at the Bills’ OTAs doing individual drills on Tuesday.
Here is a look at Hamlin doing some light drills and running:
Damar Hamlin didn’t do a lot at Bills OTA but he did A LOT at the same time: pic.twitter.com/J1eBh8Piem— Josh Reed (@4JoshReed) May 23, 2023
He was not in a helmet for the drills.
Four-time All-Pro running back Adrian Peterson hasn’t officially hung up his cleats yet, but he acknowledged to Clarence Hill of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram that he’ll officially retire if an opportunity does not arise this season.
“Mentally, I haven’t officially hung it up. We’ll see what happens,” Peterson told Hill. “My mindset is, if God’s willing, maybe an opportunity presents itself, and maybe it happens this season. I’ll go from there. But [if] nothing happens this season, for sure, I will be hanging it up.”
In case you missed it on Arrowhead Pride
Defensive coaches and players have realized for many years that — typically — the opposing offense’s right tackle is a worse player than the individual playing left tackle. This still normally holds true today. It has led to many of the NFL’s best pass rushers primarily aligning on the defense’s left side — or across from the right tackle. In the ultimate chess match that is football, it’s been a good option for defenses to create optimal one-on-one matchups.
However, there are a few teams in which the right tackle is the best (and perhaps even highest-paid) offensive lineman for their respective roster. The Chiefs were actually one of those offenses just a few years ago, from 2016-20, when former All-Pro Mitchell Schwartz manned the right tackle position with tremendous stability. At the time, left tackle Eric Fisher was a very good Pro Bowl-caliber option. Schwartz was almost undeniably the greatest pass-blocking right or left tackle in the entire league — one that was capable of single-handedly matching blows with defensive ends like Von Miller and Khalil Mack in their physical primes.
Jumping to the present times, consider how the best defensive ends are being used now. Below is a list of recognizable names, with the percentage of snaps they aligned across from the right tackle to follow.
Maxx Crosby, Las Vegas Raiders — 94%
T.J. Watt, Pittsburgh Steelers — 96%
Joey Bosa, Los Angeles Chargers — 69%
Von Miller, Buffalo Bills — 58%
Matt Judon, New England Patriots — 69%
Nick Bosa, San Francisco 49ers — 61%
While there are a few elite players (Myles Garrett and Micah Parsons to name a few) who line up a bit more frequently against left tackles, we still see that most often, the league’s best pass rushers are taking on right tackles.
A tweet to make you think
The @Broncos have informed me I’ve been released. More to come in the following days— Brandon McManus (@thekidmcmanus) May 23, 2023