Free agent WR DeAndre Hopkins just made this comment under Kansas City Chiefs All-Pro DT Chris Jones Instagram post. Oh boy. pic.twitter.com/LA5SGmkIg6— Mark Gunnels (@MarkAGunnels) July 14, 2023
Quarterback: (Huge) Advantage AFC
Well, we know where the big advantage lies here. Just look at the names.
The AFC has (deep breath) Patrick Mahomes, Josh Allen, Joe Burrow, Lamar Jackson, Justin Herbert, Trevor Lawrence, and Tua Tagovailoa. And those are just the guys who played at any extremely high level last year. The conference also features players like Aaron Rodgers, Russell Wilson, and Deshaun Watson, who played at Pro Bowl or better levels recently but not last season, plus players like Ryan Tannehill, Jimmy Garoppolo, and Mac Jones, who have been average or better starters. And then there’s second-year man Kenny Pickett, plus rookies in C.J. Stroud and Anthony Richardson. That’s the whole conference.
Contrast that with the NFC, where it’s Jalen Hurts and Dak Prescott, and then, uh... Geno Smith, Kirk Cousins, Jared Goff, Daniel Jones. Matthew Stafford, Kyler Murray, and Derek Carr, plus Justin Fields, Jordan Love, Desmond Ridder, Brock Purdy, Sam Howell, Bryce Young, and I guess Baker Mayfield?
Coming off their Super Bowl LVII win over the Philadelphia Eagles, the Kansas City Chiefs are slated to enter training camp as the favorites to repeat and emerge victorious in Super Bowl LVIII. Betting markets aren’t just expecting postseason success, though, as a stellar regular-season stretch is also anticipated.
In recent odds released by BetOnline, Patrick Mahomes and company are the current favorites to be the NFL’s last remaining undefeated team in the 2023-24 season. Those odds are listed at 15/2 (+750) upon release, with the likes of the Cincinnati Bengals and the Eagles rounding out the top three.
Winner: Defensive Tackle Market
A year ago, the wide receiver market exploded. Eleven different wideouts signed deals with average annual salary between $20 and $30 million. That unofficially made wide receiver the fifth premium position behind quarterback, offensive tackle, edge-rusher and cornerback.
The defensive tackle market experienced something similar this offseason, though not quite to the same level.
It’s extremely difficult to obtain tackles who are consistently disruptive. That’s why one signed a big-money deal in free agency, while others received contract extensions.
The Philadelphia Eagles weren’t able to re-sign Javon Hargrave, who quickly agreed to terms on a four-year, $84 million deal with the San Francisco 49ers at the onset of free agency. Meanwhile, the Tennessee Titans’ Jeffrey Simmons, New York Giants’ Dexter Lawrence and Washington Commanders’ Daron Payne all signed new contracts ranging from $21.9 to $23.5 million annually.
Market demands set the baseline for the positional value, and those next in line for new deals—the Kansas City Chiefs’ Chris Jones, New York Jets’ Quinnen Williams, Cincinnati Bengals’ D.J. Reader and Miami Dolphins’ Christian Wilkins—will benefit greatly.
Around the NFL
Victoria Bowles, who survived the fatal car wreck that killed a University of Georgia football player and recruiting staffer on Jan. 15, has filed a lawsuit against the UGA Athletic Association and Philadelphia Eagles rookie Jalen Carter, whom police accused of racing the SUV being driven by a recruiting staffer when it wrecked.
The lawsuit, filed in state court in Gwinnett County on Wednesday by Bowles, a former recruiting analyst for the university, accuses the UGA athletic association of negligence and contradicts public statements by Bulldogs football coach Kirby Smart and other officials, who have claimed that recruiting staffer Chandler LeCroy shouldn’t have been driving the leased SUV when it left the road and struck trees and utility poles.
The crash occurred hours after Georgia celebrated its second straight national championship with an on-campus parade. After the wreck, the athletic association issued a statement that said in part that “rental vehicles were to be turned in at the immediate conclusion of recruiting duties.”
This would mark the second time Gang Green has appeared on the Hard Knocks show. The 2010 iteration involving then-Jets coach Rex Ryan is among the show’s most popular seasons.
More details on this season of Hard Knocks are expected to be revealed on Friday.
New York reports for training camp six days from today, on July 19.
In case you missed it on Arrowhead Pride
In a wide-ranging podcast interview with Associated Press reporter Rob Maaddi on Wednesday, Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes discussed whether his team can become the first repeat Super Bowl winner since Tom Brady and the New England Patriots notched a second-straight championship following the 2004 season.
But the league’s two-time MVP (and two-time Super Bowl MVP) recognizes that it’s not so easy to do.
“I think it’s so difficult because there’s so much player movement these days,” he explained. “I mean, you see so many different guys [from] free agency or trades — and you [have] guys coming into the draft that are great players. So every team is getting better and better each and every year.
“And it’s hard to win the Super Bowl. I think I’ve noticed that from my first win to my second. You can do everything the right way — and you don’t win. So to be able to repeat it, you have to just continue to work and work and work — and try to get yourself in a position to win those big games.
“I’m confident in us because we’ve had a lot of guys that are coming back now that have won a Super Bowl — [that have] been in that big moment. But at the same time, we got to go out there and prove it. It starts — literally — next week.”