Entering the final year of his four-year, $80 million contract, Jones wants an extension from the Chiefs that will make him at least the second-highest-paid player at his position, according to a league source. The NFL’s highest-paid defensive tackle is the Los Angeles Rams’ Aaron Donald, who signed a three-year, $95 million contract restructure last summer. Last month, the New York Jets’ Quinnen Williams signed a four-year, $96 million contract extension with $66 million guaranteed, making him the second-highest-paid player at his position.
Jones and the team — led by club owner Clark Hunt, Veach and Reid — are at a stalemate, as Jones seeks an extension that would pay him an average annual salary of $30 million.
“We’re continuing to work to see if we can get something done,” Veach said. “It’s one of those things every team has to go through, so no team has the ability to avoid these situations. The more you win, the more you pay good players a lot of money. This is a situation we’re working hard to get resolved.”
Biggest Off-Field Storyline
It’s easily Eric Bieniemy leaving to join the Washington Commanders as their assistant head coach and new offensive coordinator. A lot of people were wondering, what’s the next step? Well, they had a succession plan, and by that I mean they had Matt Nagy in the building.
Nagy has previous experience as their offensive coordinator in 2016 before taking the head coaching job with the Chicago Bears. He was back in the building last year as the quarterback coach. This is going to be a pretty seamless transition for him.
He knows the offense, he knows the personnel and he has a great relationship with Andy Reid, which all bodes well for this offensive unit going into 2023.
1 - Travis Kelce
Kansas City Chiefs
Projected draft position: Round 1, pick No. 6 or later
Travis Kelce’s current average draft position is sixth overall, and even that is a slight discount, based on his ranking of fifth overall in my prioritized model, which weights positional value highly. If you can get Kelce any time after the sixth pick, you are beating the market.
In six of the last seven seasons, Kelce has topped the tight end position in points, which is nice to know — but it’s the degree by which he paces the position that drives his worth. My current PPR projections forecast him to have a point advantage over the TE2 (Mark Andrews) of more than 60 points over the course of the season. That is the biggest gulf between the No. 1 and No. 2 player at any position, more than three times greater than the next biggest gap (just under 18 points). Last season, the addition of new routes and different pre-snap alignments helped drive Kelce’s marks of 6.5 receptions and 78.7 receiving yards per game. He also collected a career-high 12 regular-season touchdowns. He is forecasted to repeat or increase that total in over 54 percent of simulations.
Kansas City Chiefs at New Orleans Saints (Sunday, Aug. 13, 1 p.m.)
Chiefs: Justyn Ross hasn’t played in a game in 21 months, yet Andy Reid and Patrick Mahomes have spoke positively about the 2021 undrafted free agent wide receiver out of Clemson. There are spots to be had in Kansas City with JuJu Smith-Schuster departing and Kadarius Toney injured — there are spots open behind Rashee Rice, Marquez Valdes-Scantling and Skyy Moore. This preseason opener is Ross’ first chance to impress.
8 - Drue Tranquill
Kansas City Chiefs · LB
Contract: One year for $3 million (reportedly worth up to $5 million in incentives).
Perhaps he’s not a starter off the bat, but I love Tranquill’s fit in Steve Spagnuolo’s defense. He brings superior coverage skills and good timing on blitzes. With the ability to line up in any linebacker position, Tranquill offers Kansas City versatility and depth as it seeks to repeat as Super Bowl champs. He might not be the flashiest player on this list, but Tranquill could play a vital role in a postseason run. This is how Patrick Mahomes recently described the new Chiefs linebacker:
“He’s just a smart player. I hated playing against him because he’s one of those linebackers that’s calling out what you’re saying at the line of scrimmage because he studies that much. I’ve already had to make up new code words because I can hear him on the other side.”
Around the NFL
Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Cade Johnson was taken off the field on a stretcher and transported to a hospital to be evaluated for possible head and neck injuries after going down in the team’s preseason opener Thursday night at Lumen Field.
According to the Seahawks, Johnson is in stable condition and was being taken to Seattle’s Harborview Medical Center as a precaution.
Johnson briefly appeared unstable while getting up after he was tackled on a 17-yard kickoff return about four minutes into the second quarter against the Vikings. He walked off on his own power and was taken in the medical tent for evaluation. Johnson spent the remainder of the quarter in the tent before he was loaded onto a stretcher, with his neck stabilized, and wheeled off the field at halftime.
Houston Texans rookie quarterback C.J. Stroud got a Bill Belichick welcome to the NFL in his first preseason action.
Stroud played two series Thursday night in the Texans’ 20-9 win over the New England Patriots, completing 2 of 4 passes for 13 yards with an interception and a sack. He added two scrambles for 6 yards.
“Kind of a crazy opportunity to be able to go out, my first NFL stadium, my first NFL game, and just a lot of things that I’ve been through to just get to that moment,” Stroud said after the game. “It was just special. Of course just wish I didn’t make one mistake on one certain play, but other than that, I thought I played solid.
“Felt good to get hit again and just get back in the groove. I just think that’s what preseason is for.”
In case you missed it on Arrowhead Pride
“We throw a lot at them in training camp — a lot of volume,” Nagy told reporters after Wednesday’s inclement weather forced practice indoors. “Now we pull back a little bit — and we want to be able to see them play fast.
“So you can, at times, play a little slow in practice — whether you’re tired or you’re thinking. [But] in the game, [players] can get their game plan and they can roll — so now we can truly evaluate them.”
Nagy believes that the game will be a crucial test for players in the 53-man roster bubble — and will make the jobs of head coach Andy Reid and general manager Brett Veach that much harder.
“Usually in preseason with the starters, there’s not a lot that’s going on,” he noted. “It’s just them getting back into the flow of getting hit. There’s not a lot of live [hitting] in training camp anymore — so [when] you get hit, it kind of feels good.
“[For] the other guys, it’s about depth and competition. When you have a roster full of good players, it breeds competition. [That] makes it hard on Coach Reid — [and] on Veach.
“Guys are going to get opportunities. Now what are [they] going to do with [them]?”