2022 Points: 1st | Yards: 1st
Patrick Mahomes is the best quarterback in the game today, already an all-time great. Speaking of which, Travis Kelce is putting together a compelling argument to be considered the greatest tight end in history. And of course, Andy Reid is a Hall of Fame coach, one of the most innovative offensive architects we’ve ever seen. When these three men join forces, scoreboards light up.
Don’t make the mistake of worrying about Kansas City’s lack of star power or depth at receiver. I did that last year, ranking the Chiefs eighth on this list, and they responded by leading the league in points and yards en route to a Super Bowl title.
Many of you are undoubtedly shocked that I don’t have K.C. in the No. 1 slot today. That’s fair, but hear me out ...
You’d be hard-pressed to find a better veteran mentor for a young, rebuilding defensive line under new coach DeMeco Ryans, but with first-rounder Will Anderson Jr. in tow, Hughes may be more valuable to Houston as a trade chip than a continued rental. Fresh off a surprise nine-sack season, the 35-year-old is best suited in a secondary role and could be a nice bonus for a contender.
Potential suitors: Chiefs, Packers, Saints
Cleveland Browns AT Kansas City Chiefs
CHIEFS: The final preseason game could serve as a showdown for the Chiefs’ final RB spot. Early on, the undrafted Deneric Prince appeared to be this year’s version of Isiah Pacheco, a camp find who infiltrates the RB rotation as a rookie, but the situation might not be that clear-cut. La’Mical Perine, who toiled last season on the Dolphins’ practice squad and hasn’t played since Week 14 of 2021, suddenly appeared to vault Prince on the Chiefs’ depth chart, with Pacheco still nursing an injury. Andy Reid has already hinted that keeping seven receivers is possible, meaning Prince and Perine might be fighting to avoid being the odd man out.
1. Kansas City Chiefs
Patrick Mahomes is the reigning MVP, and the Kansas City Chiefs are the defending Super Bowl Champions. Chris Jones’ contract uncertainty and two new starting offensive tackles are Kansas City’s biggest concerns.
At the end of the day, Kansas City is the NFL’s measuring stick, so they open the season on top of the mountain. During the next 18 weeks, we’ll find out if they can be knocked off.
Up Next: vs. Det (TNF), at Jax, vs. Chi, at NYJ (SNF)
Playcaller: Andy Reid, head coach
Experience: Reid has been calling plays in most of his 24 seasons as a head coach, 14 with the Eagles and 10 with the Chiefs.
What to know: The Chiefs made a change at offensive coordinator for the fourth time in Reid’s 10 seasons. Matt Nagy will have his second stint in the position after Eric Bieniemy left for the Commanders. The impact of the change, however, will be minimal because of Reid’s presence. “There are a few [new] things, but honestly that’s every year regardless of who the coordinator is,” Nagy said. “His mind every season is always going to new things.” Reid and Nagy have a lot to work with in quarterback Patrick Mahomes, who won his second MVP award last season, and an offense that led the NFL in scoring. — Adam Teicher
Key stat: Kansas City led the NFL with 12 TDs on passes at or behind the line of scrimmage; no other team had more than five. The Chiefs also led the NFL with 562 pass yards off screen passes.
Joe Thuney, OG, Kansas City Chiefs
Thuney has been a starting guard for three Super Bowl teams—twice with the Patriots and with the Chiefs last season. He’s been a dominant pass blocker for many years now.
Around the NFL
The 28-year-old Davis, a high-priced free agent addition in 2021, released a statement on his Instagram account, saying he had been mulling the decision for “some time now.” He did not use the word “retirement” or give a reason for walking away.
Davis, who skipped the voluntary portion of the offseason program, was due to make a non-guaranteed $10.5 million in the final year of his contract. With the offseason additions of Allen Lazard, Mecole Hardman and Randall Cobb, Davis’ role in the offense was uncertain.
“For some time now, I’ve been contemplating stepping away from the sport of football,” Davis said. “This decision has not been easy. Although I am a deep person, I am a man of few words. I’ve been searching my heart for what to do and I feel that stepping away from the game is the best path for me at this time.
“I have more blessings than I ever could’ve imagined. I have an amazing family, a beautiful wife and two healthy children that I look forward to spending more time with. I am truly grateful for all the opportunities that I have had and will continue to have on my journey. Thank you to my family and friend and the Jets organization for supporting me through this process.”
Sam Darnold will be named the 49ers’ QB2 following a strong showing this offseason, NFL Network Insiders Ian Rapoport and Tom Pelissero reported on Wednesday, per sources.
That means that Trey Lance is currently running third on the depth chart — and what it means for his future with the team remains to be seen. Lance was reportedly not at 49ers practice Wednesday, and Rapoport and Pelissero reported that San Francisco is exploring options with the third-year QB.
Purdy suffered a UCL injury in his right (throwing) elbow in the 2022 NFC Championship Game, which prompted the 49ers to add QB depth after Jimmy Garoppolo left for the Raiders in free agency. But Purdy has since been cleared for action and will start Week 1 at the Steelers, having completed his rehab well ahead of schedule.
In case you missed it on Arrowhead Pride
Head coach Andy Reid sounded somewhat agitated when asked about the post from Jones’ official X account.
“There’s been no communication, so I don’t know what’s going to go there,” said Reid. “Whatever happens, happens. [If he’s] not there, the game goes on, right? That’s how it works.”
Reid added that he does not see a way for him to get involved in negotiations.
“Not right now, there’s not,” said Reid. “They got to communicate and do their thing. There’s just been no communication.”
That has not been the case for quarterback Patrick Mahomes, who contended that he and Jones “stay in contact all the time.” But just as we might expect, the quarterback is unwilling to get involved in a teammate’s contract negotiations.
“He’s in good spirits,” reported Mahomes. “He’s a guy that he loves football. He loves playing for the Chiefs — and so it’s a hard time for all players, I think, whenever this stuff comes up because you want to play. You want to be out there, but at the same time, you want to take care of your family, so it’s finding that right spot, in where you think you need to be at at that time. It doesn’t hurt his relationship with any of us.
A tweet to make you think
With 7 missed weeks, 120% would be based on $18,958,335 ($11,916,667-base salary & $7,041,668-bonus proration) for $22.75M. Chris Jones' $500k workout bonus would be added back in. Tag would be either $23.25M or $24.5M depending on whether the $1.25M sack incentive was earned. https://t.co/0X6TDRh5iU— Joel Corry (@corryjoel) August 23, 2023