But is that wise? With a new offensive coordinator in Todd Monken and new, explosive weapons in Odell Beckham Jr., Nelson Agholor, and draftee Zay Flowers, Baltimore has the means to mix it with the best...and NFL Analyst Sal Paolantonio thinks so too.
“I am focused on this new-look offense of the Baltimore Ravens,” Paolantonio said on ESPN’s GetUp. “Beginning with Zay Flowers out of Boston College. A smart, tough, fast wide receiver who’s going to open up everything for that offense. Open it up for Mark Andrews, open up things for OBJ. Zay Flowers is a guy that I’m going to watch this training camp as Todd Monken installs that high-speed, high-energy offense for Lamar Jackson.
“I think the Baltimore Ravens are the No. 1 team that can unseat the Kansas City Chiefs in the AFC as the Super Bowl contenders in the AFC.”
1 - Patrick Mahomes
Kansas City Chiefs · QB · Age 27
There’s nobody better — and Mahomes’ 2022 season may have been his best work yet, which speaks volumes about the magical start to his career. Despite losing his top wide receiver, Tyreek Hill, in a trade last offseason, Mahomes easily paced the NFL in passing yards (5,250; he was the only player to top 5,000) and touchdown passes (41). He also finished second in passer rating (105.2) and yards per pass (8.1). And then he gutted through a high ankle sprain in the playoffs, holding off the Jaguars and Bengals before making his third career appearance in the Super Bowl — where he played brilliant ball.
Here’s how my math works out on this one:
5 AFC title games + 2 Super Bowl wins + 2 MVP awards in 5 seasons as a starter = a no-doubt 99 rating.
1. Patrick Mahomes
When it comes to clutch QB play, there’s Patrick Mahomes, and there’s everyone else. He leads all current starting QBs in virtually every clutch category. He’s converted on 59% of potential game-tying or go-ahead drives in the fourth quarter or overtime of his regular-season career. That’s the best in the league and well above his closest contemporaries, Josh Allen (44%) and Joe Burrow (41%). He’s converted 65% (11 for 17) of those chances in the playoffs, also the best in the league.
He further cemented himself as the best quarterback in the game (and most clutch) with a first-down scramble on a bad ankle to set up the game-winning field goal in the AFC Championship Game against the Bengals. He had another long scramble on the game-winning drive in the Super Bowl win against the Eagles. He also had just one incompletion in the second half of that Super Bowl.
He’s proven time and time again in his career, no matter the deficit, how much time is left on the clock, or the injury, he can pull off some kind of miracle. The Chiefs’ overtime-forcing drive in their instant classic win against the Bills marked the latest start time (13 seconds left) for a game-tying or go-ahead drive in playoff history. The man has a 14-10 career record when trailing by double-digits at any point in a game. Just remarkable.
Veteran free agent RB Melvin Gordon III reached agreement Friday on a one-year deal worth up to $3.1 million with the Baltimore Ravens, a league source told ESPN’s Adam Schefter.
Gordon, 30, is a two-time Pro Bowler who will be entering his ninth NFL season. He played five seasons for the San Diego Chargers and the last 2½ with the Denver Broncos. He has rushed for 6,462 yards and 55 touchdowns and caught 309 passes with 14 touchdowns over his career, with his best year in 2017 with the Chargers.
1. QB PATRICK MAHOMES, KANSAS CITY CHIEFS
Mahomes is the best player in the NFL and finished the season with his version of the Jordan Flu Game as he battled through the playoffs on an ankle injury that would have sidelined most quarterbacks. Across three playoff games, Mahomes was able to post an 85.1 PFF grade, recording seven touchdowns and no interceptions with just one turnover-worthy play despite barely being able to run on his injured ankle. We already knew he had a highlight reel that surpasses any quarterback in the game, but last season we got a glimpse into his grit and determination, which proved equally impressive.
3. Lavonte David, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (91 overall)
4. Demario Davis, New Orleans Saints (90 overall)
5. Bobby Wagner, Seattle Seahawks (89 overall)
6. Matt Milano, Buffalo Bills (88 overall)
7. Nick Bolton, Kansas City Chiefs (87 overall)
Around the NFL
Quarterback Bryce Young has agreed to terms with the Carolina Panthers on his four-year, fully guaranteed $37.96 million rookie deal, NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported on Friday. The contract includes a nearly $24.6 million signing bonus, per Rapoport.
The team later officially announced the news with rookies set to report to training camp on Saturday.
Putting pen to paper represents the next step in a process that began with the Panthers’ blockbuster draft trade in March and that Carolina is hoping ends with a triumphant return to prominence.
In case you missed it on Arrowhead Pride
Skyy Moore will be the No. 1 wide receiver
Everyone seems to think Kadarius Toney will become the team’s No. 1 wideout — but not so fast, my friend.
This is a hot take, but it’s not that far-fetched to believe Moore could end up being the top wide receiver.
Look: I’m hoping Toney stays healthy. His track record, though, tells you that at some point this season, he’s going to miss time. I truly hope I’m wrong. But even if Toney plays all 17 games, I’m still willing to bet Moore gets more targets.
Because based on Moore’s skill set, I can see him as being the primary chain-mover outside of tight end Travis Kelce. He can beat man coverage with his quick releases and good route-running ability. He’s also able to find the soft spots in zone coverage.
I understand that’s asking a lot for a guy who barely caught over 20 passes last season. But the film doesn’t lie: Moore has all the traits to be a very reliable option in the Chiefs’ offense.
That’s not to say Toney won’t produce. In fact, I believe he will. I just think it’ll look different for him. He’ll be more of a downfield, big-play threat.
A tweet to make you think
Probably my favorite Arrowhead memory ever: the Divisional round comeback #ChiefsKingdom— Ron Kopp Jr. (@Ron_Kopp) July 21, 2023
So many moments to highlight, but I’ll never forget the reaction to the first TD. We knew we just needed one.
(Mecole’s KR helped juice this up, just didn’t want that long of a video) pic.twitter.com/T8yOEBl2wV