Worst Case: A King and Three Jesters
This is the part where we’re supposed to mention that the Kansas City Chiefs aren’t invincible. That the wide receivers are a question mark. That the offensive line has been reshuffled. So on and so forth.
But the Chiefs have the NFL’s best player in quarterback Patrick Mahomes. Arguably the best coach in Andy Reid. The best tight end in Travis Kelce. Seven straight AFC West titles. And two Super Bowl wins in the last three years.
The AFC West race is over before it starts. Done. Finished.
When last we saw the Chargers, they were blowing the third-largest lead (27 points) in postseason history. The Denver Broncos were the lowest-scoring team in the league last year, and the first season of “Letting Russ Cook” was a three-alarm grease fire. And the Raiders decided that an injured Jimmy Garoppolo was a better bet at quarterback than a healthy Derek Carr in 2023, because Josh McDaniels or something.
The AFC West is boring. One Titan and three Titanics. There’s no drama. No excitement.
The worst-case for the division is already here.
A strong start for the NFL’s first project with Netflix and the latest venture for Peyton Manning’s Omaha Productions: “Quarterback” is now the No. 1 show on Netflix. pic.twitter.com/iJpEeNiInA— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) July 14, 2023
NBC broadcasters calling Sunday’s final round of the American Century Celebrity Golf Championship said Patrick Mahomes had improved each year he took part in the tournament.
Mahomes finished in 62nd place out of 92 competitors with negative-6 points at the tournament in Nevada.
That’s based on Stableford scoring, which was used in the tournament: 8 points for a hole-in-one; 6 points for an eagle; 3 points for a birdie; 1 point for a par; 0 points for a bogey; -2 points for a double bogey (or worse score).
Chiefs teammate Travis Kelce placed 71st (negative-17 score). That meant Mahomes achieved his pre-tournament goal.
“I mean if I don’t beat Travis, I can’t go back to camp,” Mahomes said before play began. “So I’ll just make sure I beat him.”
That brings us to our next question. Who are the few elite tight ends?
Travis Kelce, Kansas City Chiefs
Travis Kelce was the earlier mentioned tight end from last season who would’ve finished as WR2. The difference between him and the TE12 was nearly 40 wide receiver spots.
The next closest tight end after Kelce’s PPG would’ve finished as the WR12 last season. Kelce gives you a massive advantage that, basically, no other team can get from their tight end. He gets this advantage from running more than 80 percent of the routes on an explosive Kansas City Chiefs offense and earning a target on 25.3 percent of those routes.
He is one of three tight ends to post a more than 25 percent target rate on at least 50 percent of routes last season. The other two we’ll talk about next. If Kelce’s age scares you off, you don’t deserve the massive advantage nearly no other player can give you.
A third-round pick in the 2022 NFL Draft, Chenal is entering his second season with the Chiefs following an impressive rookie season that included action in all 17 regular-season games. The former Wisconsin star logged 261 defensive snaps (fourth among Chiefs’ linebackers) and 281 special teams’ snaps, which ranked fourth on the team among all players.
The 22-year-old Chenal will likely have a chance to earn even more snaps going forward, primarily in short-yardage situations
Kansas City Chiefs — QB Len Dawson
The Chiefs have a long history of successful free agent acquisitions that include Tyrann Mathieu (2019), Marcus Allen (1993), Emmitt Thomas (1966), and Priest Holmes (2001). But the top spot goes to Dawson, who attempted just 45 passes during his first five NFL seasons. After being a backup in Pittsburgh and Cleveland, Dawson signed with the AFL’s Texans (re-named the Chiefs the following season) in 1962. Dawson won league MVP that year while leading Kansas City to its first of three AFL titles. Dawson, who led the NFL in completion percentage seven times, led the Chiefs to victory in Super Bowl IV, the last game played before the AFL-NFL merger. Dawson was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1987.
Around the NFL
McCartney did not disclose terms, but a source told ESPN’s Adam Schefter that Engram’s deal is worth $41.25 million and includes $24 million fully guaranteed.
Engram had received the franchise tag (worth $11.345 million) from the Jaguars earlier this offseason and had until Monday at 4 p.m. ET to agree to a long-term contract.
Evan Engram set career highs in catches (73) and receiving yards (766) last season to set the Jaguars’ single season records in both categories by a tight end. AP Photo/Chris Carlson)
With Engram’s deal, there are now three franchised players yet to agree to long-term contracts ahead of Monday’s deadline: running backs Saquon Barkley of the Giants, Tony Pollard of the Dallas Cowboys and Josh Jacobs of the Las Vegas Raiders.
Tampa Bay linebacker Lavonte David spoke this week on what he’s seen from Mayfield through offseason workouts, saying that he already likes what he has observed in the 28-year-old’s approach to his new team and is excited to see what the QB competition brings out of him.
“Obviously, Baker, already he’s been ‘the guy’ and, you know, he’s expected to live up to what everybody expected him to be,” David said in an interview on SiriusXM NFL Radio, via joebucsfan.com. “Baker is great for our locker room. I like the way Baker carries himself coming in with a ready-to-work mentality. Everybody loves him already and the way he approaches practice is great to see. So there’s definitely some great things to see out of Baker. He’s a guy who’s done it before — took his team to the playoffs and done some great things so far.
“So the competition with those guys is going to be very, very competitive, and I’m glad to be a part of it.”
In case you missed it on Arrowhead Pride
There had been hope that the Kansas City Chiefs might be in the mix for the 31-year-old, especially after the New York Jets agreed on a long-term contract extension with defensive tackle Quinnen Williams on Thursday.
The thought was that with the Jets and Williams coming to terms, Kansas City and defensive tackle Chris Jones would have a baseline number to work with. With talks moving along, perhaps a contract extension for Jones would open up the necessary cap space for the Chiefs to acquire the former Houston Texan and Arizona Cardinal.
As of early July, Kansas City was reportedly keeping in contact with the receiver — and there was mounting optimism among the fan base heading into this weekend as odds saw the Chiefs and Titans as co-favorites to land his services. But it was simply not to be.
During the offseason, Kansas City presumably hoped to add either veteran wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. or Hopkins to their young room, but the $15 million the Baltimore Ravens guaranteed Beckham after he sat out a year due to injury eventually made that unfeasible for the Chiefs.