2. Patrick Mahomes and Travis Kelce
Really, you could add Tyreek Hill to this conversation with no argument from me. Hill spent six seasons alongside Travis Kelce, while Mahomes and Kelce have shared leading roles for five years.
But that second Super Bowl has to count for something extra.
Mahomes has already earned two league MVP honors and made an AP All-Pro team in three of those campaigns. During his 80 career starts, the Chiefs are a ridiculous 64-16 in the regular season and have advanced at least to the AFC Championship in all five playoff runs.
As if that’s not enough, Kelce has five straight years with no less than 92 receptions or 1,125 yards. He landed All-Pro recognition in each season, including a trio of first-team honors.
Kansas City’s dynasty is largely a credit to Mahomes and Kelce.
19. Los Angeles Rams: Chris Jones, DL
The Rams replacing Aaron Donald with Chris Jones shouldn’t come as a huge surprise. There were some people even floating this as a real possibility when Donald was mulling retirement. If you can’t get a quarterback, get a player who is best at getting after the quarterback.
KANSAS CITY CHIEFS: SIGN DI WILL GHOLSTON
Gholston is a seasoned veteran who has played at least 400 snaps in nine consecutive seasons. He can bring experience to a new regime while providing a consistent presence in base personnel on early downs. In 2022, Gholston had 22 defensive stops and missed on just 3.9% of tackle opportunities.
We discussed extending Chris Jones here, and as Kansas City works through that monster deal, they should reinforce the interior unit alongside him.
He doesn’t play the game’s glory position of QB, but the Chiefs pass catcher might be the most perfectly distilled version of a superstar in the league today. A monster producer, durable and consistent, who raises his game when it matters most and possesses charisma for miles (he was legitimately excellent as a guest host on Saturday Night Live!). Kelce has it all. The only problem? He’s all alone in the tight end game. Feels like the perfect time for that long-gestating Season 2 of Catching Kelce.
Around the NFL
6. Maxx Crosby (Las Vegas Raiders)
Speaking of underrated pass rushers, Crosby never seems to get his due as one of the best at getting to the quarterback. Crosby put up another huge season as a pass rusher, recording a career-high 12.5 sacks to go with 81 pressures (third in NFL). The pressure rate dipped from 18.1% in 2021 to 13.2%, yet Crosby was second in the league in quarterback hits (36) and first in tackles for loss (22).
Crosby has the most pressures in the NFL over the past two seasons (182), along with the most hurries (116). He’s also second in quarterback hits (66) and tied for second in tackles for loss (35).
A Pro Bowler for the second consecutive year, Crosby is one of the best pass rushers in the NFL. He’ll be in the elite category if the sack totals go up, which have been trending in that direction over the course of his career.
According to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, the wide receiver and AFC East team agreed to a three-year contract worth up to $33 million that features $14 million in guarantees and per-game roster bonuses.
Parker spent the 2022 season with New England after playing the first seven years of his career on the Miami Dolphins.
The 2023 campaign was set to be the last on the Louisville product’s previous contract. He was due to make $5.7 million in base salary and carry a $6.2 million cap hit, so this gives him a raise and some additional security in future years.
In case you missed it on Arrowhead Pride
In the latest issue of Vanity Fair, contributing editor Tom Kludt published a 5000-word article about the Kansas City Chiefs’ tight end Travis Kelce, covering everything from his recent appearance on NBC-TV’s “Saturday Night Live” (“He killed it,” Kludt quotes SNL producer Lorne Michaels as saying) to what he will do when his football career finally ends. (“I don’t know if what I want to do has really been done yet,” Kelce tells him).
Kelce spoke about his suspension from the University of Cincinnati football team. Reminded by Kludt that his then-Cincinnati head coach Butch Jones thinks of him as “one of his sons,” Kelce was reduced to tears.
“He caught me at a moment in my life where I was down in the dumps. I didn’t really think much of myself,” he says. He had a turbulent career at Cincinnati, where he arrived as a quarterback, left a tight end, and endured a yearlong suspension for smoking pot in between. “When I got hit with what I was going through,” he said of this seminal moment, “I found out how many people were in my corner.”
After an undefeated regular season in 2009, Cincinnati was invited to play in the Sugar Bowl, and Kelce hit Bourbon Street hard. “I was down in New Orleans, listening to Lil Wayne, and I wanted to smoke what he was smoking,” he recalls. But on New Year’s Eve, the night before the game and after days of cutting loose, he and his teammates were summoned for a drug test by the NCAA. “I’m just sitting there, dead in the water,” he recalled. Under NCAA rules at the time, Kelce was dealt a one-year suspension. “I just wanted to get out of there,” he says. “I was so embarrassed, I didn’t want to look at anybody.”
A tweet to make you think
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