Chris Jones set to keep cooking with the Kansas City Chiefs
Writing in a mailbag column for SI.com, NFL insider Albert Breer stressed his belief that a deal was on the way for the veteran lineman, but that things aren’t as straightforward as they could be due the finances that would be involved:
This feels like a summer extension to me. I believe over the weekend Kansas City had less than a half million in available cap space. A Jones deal will get them some relief that they need there—and obviously he’s very much a guy worth rewarding.
The price point is the question, and the deal Aaron Donald did last year does complicate things for the Chiefs. But I think in the end, they’ll be able to find middle ground with him.
Speaking with reporters Thursday during OTAs, Bieniemy praised Commanders head coach Ron Rivera for letting him have input on the team’s operations. In addition to being the Commanders’ offensive coordinator, Bieniemy is also assistant head coach, a title he didn’t have in Kansas City.
From The Athletic’s Ben Standig:
“He’s an outstanding coach. I just appreciate him allowing me to have some input... a little flexibility as to help in adjusting schedules. ... with some of the things I brought over from Kansas City and how we structured things. ... It’s just given me a little bit more responsibilities as far as being the assistant head coach.”
Bieniemy previously said he is “excited” to call plays for the Commanders as well, something he didn’t do regularly with the Chiefs.
Working in Kansas City has been an eye-opening experience for Chiefs defensive back Joshua Williams, who is entering his second season in the NFL.
Williams was born and raised in Fayetteville and shared his thoughts about KC weather this week.
“KC will give you all 4 seasons in one week,” Williams wrote on Twitter as he shared a sentiment anyone from Kansas City will know is true.
2. Kansas City Chiefs
Biggest strength (offense): Offensive line
Biggest strength (defense): Defensive line
The formula for Kansas City on offense is now clear: As long as they protect Patrick Mahomes with an above-average or better offensive line, they can be the best offense in the league. And their offensive line is much better than above-average, and they still have Travis Kelce, and they’ll get a full season (on the roster, if not necessarily on the field) of Kadarius Toney, and Isiah Pacheco and Jerick McKinnon are back to split the backfield work, and oh my these guys might even add DeAndre Hopkins soon. K.C.’s defense is also surprisingly stronger than you think, and could be an above-average unit all season. The Chiefs added Charles Omenihu up front and now have multiple pocket pushers from the edge with him and George Karlaftis, plus Chris Jones wrecking things up the middle. Nick Bolton and Willie Gay Jr. are excellent linebackers, and there is good depth behind them. All the investments in Day 2 and 3 defensive back picks (plus Trent McDuffie in Round 1 last year) have paid off as the Chiefs have a strong, versatile, and most crucially, extraordinarily inexpensive secondary.
DeAndre Hopkins, WR
Best team fit: Kansas City Chiefs
Hopkins was released by the Cardinals last week after the team couldn’t find a trade partner. It wasn’t because he couldn’t play, though — the 30-year-old was scheduled to count $30.75 million against Arizona’s cap. He is still a detailed and savvy route runner, and he has great ball skills. He can create matchup advantages in scoring position. In nine games last season — only five of those came with quarterback Kyler Murray on the field — he caught 64 passes for 717 yards.
There will be multiple teams with interest in Hopkins. The Bills fit here. The Jets, Patriots and Cowboys, too. Maybe even the Browns. With the Chiefs and coach Andy Reid, however, he could be used as a boundary target for Patrick Mahomes or work inside on leveled concepts to attack schemed voids in the coverage. Hopkins would join a title contender and upgrade the league’s best pass game.
In the beginning of his time with the Chiefs, Danna displayed modest production as a pass rusher and struggled a bit more as a run defender on a few hundred rotational snaps. He took a real leap forward in snaps with over 500 in 2021 as the Chiefs leaned on him more as a rotational edge, but it was 2022 where he really showed his range. Not only did he set a career-high in pressures (35) and sacks (5), but he did so in 60 less snaps than the year before.
Around the NFL
The Athletic’s Tim Graham reported Thursday the Bills “simply don’t have enough salary-cap room to accommodate Hopkins’ terms” on his next contract based on input from three NFL executives.
Graham also echoed previous reporting from ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler about the five-time Pro Bowler seeking a deal similar to Odell Beckham Jr.’s one-year, $15 million contract from the Baltimore Ravens.
On the I Am Athlete podcast in May (via Darren Urban of the Cardinals’ official site), Hopkins outlined what he’d like from the team he’s playing on. Buffalo checked all of the boxes:
“What I want is stable management upstairs, that’s something I haven’t really had the past couple years of my career coming from Houston and then to Arizona. A QB who loves the game, a QB who brings everybody on board with him, not just himself but everybody around him ... and a great defense. A great defense wins championships.”
In case you missed it on Arrowhead Pride
Second-round selection Rashee Rice has stood out for the unique traits he brings to the team.
“He’s got some juice to him,” Embree said of the SMU product. “He’s a bigger body guy that we don’t really have in our room. So he’s a little different in that way. He’s been great: great in the classroom and great on the field.”
Much of Kansas City’s hope for the coming season rides on the improvement of another former second-round pick. Embree has seen very encouraging signs as Skyy Moore enters his sophomore campaign.
“Skyy’s been great,” the coach declared. “Skyy — you know we put a lot on him last year. Usually, when we get a receiver, we try to keep them at one position. It’s easier to learn that way. But we threw a lot at him last year. He played every position — all three of them: X, Zebra and Z.
“He’s been great. He came back in great shape. He looks stronger, [and] he’s a little bigger. He’s just got that year under his belt. He’s not that little puppy dog anymore. He understands what’s going on, understands the tempo we practice at, and just how to be a pro. He’s been great.”
A tweet to make you think
The NFL and NFLPA have agreed on the following dates for the 2024 league year, per a side letter the union distributed today. pic.twitter.com/nTeJ4dMdng— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) June 1, 2023