Following the Burrowhead chatter surrounding the 2022 AFC Championship Game, the chirping continued during the offseason. Bengals receiver Ja’Marr Chase called Joe Burrow the best quarterback in the NFL, tossing in a “Pat who?” — to which Travis Kelce and Patrick Mahomes took exception.
In an interview with Kameron Hay of Complex Sports published on Monday, Burrow offered a straightforward response to the offseason noise.
“The best thing about that is it’s all settled on the field. So we’ll see them in December,” he said.
The Bengals return to Arrowhead Stadium for the 2023 rematch in Week 17 on New Year’s Eve.
Best TEs: Chiefs
The main players: Travis Kelce, Noah Gray
The Ravens have two wideout-quality weapons in Mark Andrews and the emergent Isaiah Likely, but Kelce is unmatched as a space-creating, tackle-shedding pass target even at 33. And Gray, his younger counterpart, had a quietly key role as a secondary option for Mahomes during K.C.’s last Super Bowl run, securing 82% of his 34 targets.
Honorable mention — Ravens (Mark Andrews, Isaiah Likely); Bills (Dawson Knox, Dalton Kincaid); Vikings (T.J. Hockenson, Josh Oliver); Eagles (Dallas Goedert, Jack Stoll)
Potential Hall of Famers
Eric Berry, S (2024)
A versatile safety and cancer survivor whose career was cut short by injury, Berry was the 2015 Comeback Player of the Year. He made three All-Pro squads and, at his peak, was elite at his position.
Kansas City Chiefs: OT Donovan Smith
The Kansas City Chiefs made some interesting moves at tackle this offseason. They signed Jawaan Taylor to a big contract in free agency, let Orlando Brown Jr. go to the Cincinnati Bengals and picked up Donovan Smith on a one-year, $3 million contract.
It’s a fine gamble on a player who has eight years of experience starting at left tackle. In theory, it will keep them from having to move the newly acquired Taylor to the blindside after he played on the right in Jacksonville.
The narrative surrounding Smith is that, with the benefit of playing for Andy Reid and a Super Bowl contender in the Chiefs, the veteran will bounce back from a terrible 2022 campaign. Smith played in 13 games last season, giving up six sacks and drawing 12 penalties.
But Smith is going from protecting Tom Brady to Patrick Mahomes. Even with Brady playing his final season he’s the easiest quarterback to protect in the league. According to Next Gen Stats, Brady got the ball out quicker than anyone, averaging just 2.45 seconds.
Brady was a master manipulator of the pocket and only took 22 total sacks last season. Protecting Mahomes is certainly a more difficult ask and it’s reasonable to be dubious that Smith is up for it.
Chiefs OT Jawaan Taylor
With Andy Reid on the sidelines and Patrick Mahomes under center, odds are Kansas City will be OK even if roadblocks present themselves. But only Eagles star Lane Johnson is due to make more at right tackle after Taylor netted a mega deal in free agency. At $20M per year, he’d better be sterling, or else fans might wish the Chiefs just paid to retain Orlando Brown on the other side.
A man known as Kansas City Chiefs superfan “ChiefsAholic” has been charged in federal court with one count of bank theft and one count of transporting stolen property across state lines after being a fugitive for four months, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Western District of Missouri.
Xaviar Michael Babudar, 28, was charged on May 24. The complaint was unsealed and made public Monday following Babudar’s arrest in Lincoln, Calif., on July 7.
Around the NFL
Indianapolis took a big chance drafting quarterback Anthony Richardson with the No. 4 overall pick in April’s draft, and Colts owner Jim Irsay feels the rookie will need to see the field sooner rather than later for it to pay dividends.
“As you guys know, Peyton (Manning’s rookie) year we were 3-13, the first year,” Irsay said on The Pat McAfee Show on Monday. “That’s a guy who played a lot of college games and was really prepared as much as he could be for the league. So, for Anthony Richardson, it’s going to be tough. We know that. But he has to play to get better. I mean, there’s no question. Gardner (Minshew) could come out and play better early on, him just being a veteran, but we have to get Anthony on the field. And that’s (head coach) Shane (Steichen’s) call when he decides to do it.”
While Irsay didn’t make any declarations or demands about Richardson being a Week 1 starter, instead leaving the ultimate timeline to his new head coach, he made his stance on his rookie potentially being forged through the fire clear.
Richardson, who has yet to sign his rookie contract, has 4.4 speed and a cannon arm, but his lack of experience — he served as Florida’s full-time starter for just one season — made his draft slot difficult to predict until the Colts made him their own
Jaguars coach Doug Pederson’s son is the team’s newest tight end.
The Jaguars signed Josh Pederson on Monday, bringing him aboard nearly a month after he finished the USFL season with the Houston Gamblers. Pederson caught 24 passes for 325 yards in 10 games. The Gamblers terminated his contract last week so he could sign with a then-unnamed NFL team.
He replaces undrafted rookie Leonard Taylor, who was waived with an injury designation.
In case you missed it on Arrowhead Pride
The first-team All-Pro defensive tackle — who is entering the final year of a four-year contract with the Chiefs — is currently seeking a long-term extension. The process could be held up by the New York Jets’ talks with defensive tackle Quinnen Willaims, who is reportedly after a new deal in the range of $25 million to $35 million a season.
Whatever the number the Jets and Williams come up with would likely serve as a baseline in Jones’ representatives and their talks with the Chiefs. Jones — who league decision-makers rank better than Williams — could be waiting for that first domino to fall.
Some have theorized that Williams could sign and then Jones could sign — which would open cap space for Kansas City. The Chiefs could then presumably use that space to acquire wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins. At the time of this writing, New England and Tennessee seem to be the favorites for Hopkins’ services, but he remains a free agent.
A tweet to make you think
This Netflix series Quarterback featuring Patrick Mahomes is going to be legendary! pic.twitter.com/ju2R528CPt— Brad Henson Productions (@BradHensonPro) July 10, 2023