Chiefs headlines for Monday, March 29
Kansas City Chiefs
Level of free-agency aggressiveness: Can somebody block for our stellar quarterback, please?
Top addition: Guard Joe Thuney for five years, $80 million
The Chiefs have been aggressive for receiver help. They’ve been in, to some degree, on many of the big names — JuJu Smith-Schuster, Corey Davis, Curtis Samuel and A.J. Green.
It’s clear they’d like to add a No. 2 wide receiver opposite Tyreek Hill, and there’s not much momentum for Sammy Watkins returning at this point. With options limited, will they make a run at T.Y. Hilton?
There’s also a left tackle move the Chiefs must make. Picking 31st overall in April’s draft doesn’t ensure landing a top tackle. They’ve checked in on veteran free agent Russell Okung. It wouldn’t surprise if the Chiefs at least explore an Orlando Brown trade.
According to Stephen Holder of The Athletic, the Indianapolis Colts are interested in returning defensive end Justin Houston to the team for the 2021 season. Houston is currently a free agent after his two-year contract with the Colts expired at the conclusion of this season.
In 16 regular-season games last season, the 32-year-old Houston recorded 25 tackles, eight tackles for loss, 12 quarterback hits, eight sacks, and two safeties. In his first season with Indianapolis, Houston was even more productive, totaling 44 tackles, 13 tackles for loss, and 11 sacks.
29. Kansas City Chiefs (from Green Bay): Teven Jenkins, OT, Oklahoma State
Trade! The Kansas City Chiefs trades No. 31 and a 2022 3rd-rounder to the Green Bay Packers in exchange for the No. 29 pick.
The Chiefs are desperate for offensive tackle talent and depth. Teven Jenkins provides both. A smooth pass set with elite play strength, Jenkins’ film has enough pancakes to be considered an IHOP. Does he move to the left side, or does 2020 NFL Draft pick Lucas Niang swap to the opposite side?
Trent Green, who played with the Chiefs from 2001-06, is the inaugural recipient of the Ripple of Kindness Award, which will be presented during the 2021 SevenDays Make a Ripple Change the World virtual event.
“Over most of the last 20 years, Julie and I have called Kansas City home and raised our children here,” Green said in a news release. “We’ve tried to make an impact in the community as well.”
The award, created by the Faith Always Wins Foundation, recognizes individuals who have “gone above and beyond in demonstrating kindness through their actions and words,” according to the release.
The Howard Payne-Belhaven American Southwest Conference football game was witnessed in person by one of the best playing the game today, as Kansas City Chiefs All-Pro quarterback Patrick Mahomes was at Gordon Wood Stadium Saturday to take in the action.
Mahomes and Howard Payne senior Jake Parker – the leading receiver for both the Yellow Jackets and the American Southwestern Conference – are best friends from their days together at Whitehouse High School in East Texas. Parker is also set to serve as the best man in Mahomes’ upcoming wedding, and with Saturday’s action possibly being Parker’s last on a football field, Mahomes chose to attend.
Due to COVID guidelines issued by the NCAA this year, Parker – a senior – has the option to return and play football again next season if he so chooses, but that decision had not yet been made.
Around the NFL
The Pittsburgh Steelers are re-signing defensive lineman Tyson Alualu on a two-year deal, NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero reports, per a source. Alualu had initially agreed to terms with the Jacksonville Jaguars but had an apparent change of heart. After testing positive for COVID, a source tells Pelissero, Alualu couldn’t make the trip to Jacksonville to complete the deal, and considering he had built his dream home in Pittsburgh and his kids were enrolled in school, Alualu had ten days to think about it and decided to stay.
Some NFL standouts shared their displeasure on social media on Sunday over this week’s expected expansion to a 17-game schedule.
Owners are scheduled to decide on whether to approve the expansion during their virtual league meetings Tuesday and Wednesday.
New Orleans Saints running back Alvin Kamara was one of the most vocal critics Sunday after ESPN’s Adam Schefter tweeted that the league is planning to expand after going with a 16-game regular season since 1978 — by far the longest stretch without a change in NFL history.
“S— dumb… as hell,” Kamara tweeted.
Other players to weigh in included Green Bay Packers safety Adrian Amos, Philadelphia Eagles cornerback Darius Slay and Saints defensive end Cameron Jordan.
Returning home to Los Angeles was an obvious narrative to survey once it was learned DeSean Jackson was signing with the Rams, but reuniting with coach Sean McVay superseded any preferences for the veteran wideout.
“There were other options out there. I could have went to other teams, other places. But my focus was really reuniting with Sean McVay,” Jackson said on Friday, via the team’s official transcript. “Talking to McVay once I was a free agent and really just kind of having those open conversations, talking about the possibilities, it was something that was intriguing for me. So, I think that overweighs everything.”
Jackson, who agreed to a one-year deal with the Rams this week, is hoped to become the vertical threat the team sought this offseason. Alongside Cooper Kupp, Robert Woods and Van Jefferson, Jackson rounds out a versatile receiving corps for new quarterback Matthew Stafford, who is the centerpiece of the Rams’ transformative offseason.
He led the Miami Hurricanes to the first of their five national championships in 1983, and coached Louisville to a Fiesta Bowl win over Alabama to cap the 1990 season. He then founded the program at Florida Atlantic and retired as coach after 11 seasons there highlighted by back-to-back bowl victories.
Everywhere Schnellenberger coached, he envisioned a winning team as a unifying force, the way it was with the ‘83 Hurricanes.
“I think it all goes back to the day they had a parade in Miami for the national championship team,” he once said. “I saw the people on the sidelines — black families, Cuban families, Hispanics and Anglo families — all there, 100,000 strong, celebrating their ball team and community. That football team was able to do something the federal government, city and county tried to do and couldn’t: bring the community together.”
Schnellenberger’s career bowl record was 6-0, and he experienced perfection in the NFL, too. He was the offensive coordinator under Don Shula for the Miami Dolphins in 1972, when they won the Super Bowl to finish 17-0 for the NFL’s only perfect season.
In case you missed it at Arrowhead Pride
Former Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Sammy Watkins has picked his next destination — he is signing a one-year deal with the Baltimore Ravens, according to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport. Rapoport says it’s a one-year deal with $6 million, including $5 million guaranteed.
Watkins met with both the Ravens and Indianapolis Colts this week, and the Tennessee Titans and Houston Texans were reportedly interested as well. In the end, Watkins chose Baltimore.
In three seasons with the Chiefs, Watkins, 27, recorded 129 catches for 1,613 yards and eight touchdowns (34 regular-season games). Watkins was the team’s most productive receiver during the 2018 and 2019 playoff runs, and the 2019 playoffs included the highlights of his Chiefs career. In the AFC title game against the Titans, Watkins had seven catches for 114 yards and a 60-yard touchdown to all but seal it, and in Super Bowl LIV, his 38-yard catch over San Francisco 49ers cornerback Richard Sherman set up the go-ahead score.
It’s very similar to the Chiefs hanging on to Alex Smith in 2017. The Niners in 2021, like the Chiefs in ’17, are going into Year 5 of a program. The Niners, like the Chiefs, are in a position to contend now. The Niners, like the Chiefs, could draft a QB who’s a little raw. https://t.co/GRytczJRec
— Albert Breer (@AlbertBreer) March 28, 2021
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