Photo by David Eulitt/Getty Images
Chiefs headlines for Thursday, March 12
DT Chris Jones
Likely franchise player
Contract package: $105 million for five years ($21 million per year)
Overall guarantees: $66 million
Fully guaranteed at signing: $45 million
First three years: $66 million
The Chiefs making a major investment in a pass rusher last offseason that had never done anything for the franchise probably didn’t sit too well with Jones after the type of 2018 season he had. Jones set an NFL record by recording a sack in 11 straight games and was third in the league with 15.5 sacks. An encore performance in 2019 was always going to be a difficult task. Despite missing three games with a groin injury, Jones still had nine sacks. The Chiefs are hopeful about keeping Jones in Kansas City long term, although most teams don’t have two high-priced pass rushers. It wouldn’t be too surprising for Jones to be involved in a franchise tag and trade scenario like edge rusher Dee Ford was with the Chiefs last year. The 2020 defensive tackle number is expected to be $16.272 million with the projected $200 million salary cap.
Growing concerns over the COVID-19 coronavirus have prompted some NFL teams to adjust their travel plans during the pre-draft process, the NFL Network reported Wednesday afternoon.
The Chiefs, however, are not one of them.
As of now, nothing has changed regarding the Chiefs’ travel plans, a team source told The Star. The Chiefs recently attended pro day workouts at Kansas, Kansas State and Georgia Tech. Missouri’s pro day is next week.
Linebacker: Anthony Hitchens has been a bust of a free agent signing for the Chiefs. He was rated 81st out of 89 linebackers ranked by Pro Football Focus last season, but he’s on the books through 2022. Reggie Ragland has been a middling player since being taken in the second round in 2016. The Chiefs need to add athleticism at linebacker, which is why they’re often mocked Patrick Queen of LSU in the first round of the draft.
Running back: Kansas City finished 23rd in the NFL in rushing and didn’t have a player break 500 yards on the ground. The draft is the easiest way to change that. The Chiefs could use their No. 32 pick on Ohio State’s J.K. Dobbins or Georgia’s D’Andre Swift. If Kansas City waits until the second day of the draft, LSU’s Clyde Edwards-Helaire or Wisconsin’s Jonathan Taylor would be a fit.
Cornerback: Starter Bashaud Breeland is a free agent riding high off a stellar Super Bowl performance and could price himself out of town. Kendall Fuller is a free agent too. If the Chiefs want to maintain their improved pass coverage, a new starter at cornerback may be needed.
Kansas City Chiefs: Patrick Mahomes just won Super Bowl MVP. Do we really need to say much more? A year after winning NFL MVP, Mahomes one-upped it, overcoming an in-season knee injury to lead the Chiefs to their first title in 50 years. Everything is good at the position in K.C., although the team could use a reliable veteran as a backup if Matt Moore doesn’t return.
Alas, the Chiefs did everything they could to prevent Ekeler from hitting quadruple digits.
”Oh man, oh man, don’t talk about that. C’mon,” Ekeler said of coming up short and oh so close of 1,000 yards receiving. “We were playing the Chiefs the last game and Philip is just trying to get me the ball every which way. They ended up taking out one of their D-linemen and bringing in another linebacker just to double-team me. They literally double-teamed me from the backfield. They would not let me get my seven yards.”
Entering Week 17, Ekeler needed 50 yards receiving to become just the fifth running back in the Super Bowl era — along with Lionel James, Roger Craig, Marshall Faulk and Christian McCaffrey — to hit 1,000 receiving yards in a season. Previously, he had hit 50 or more receiving yards 10 times on the season and for five consecutive contests. Rivers threw it Ekeler’s way 11 times.
Round 1 – Pick 32
Jaylon Johnson CB
The Chiefs need to address cornerback early, and Johnson has been a premier playmaker over the past two seasons at Utah.
Around the NFL
“With wrestling, I don’t feel like I would be a full-time wrestler, but there is one thing I’m down for,” Gronkowski said. “And that’s to do one crazy match. Practice it for a little bit, go out there — like in a Royal Rumble — go out there, I got my friend in WWE [Rawley], practice it and do a full-on WWE match. I’m not saying when, maybe five years. I got the rest of my life to do that. I’ve always dreamed about doing that, just one time, going in there and going full-out. That may be a possibility, one time, down the road.”
The NFL has the “luxury” (if you can call it that) of not having to take the lead on such a fluid situation. And though the league is saying all the right things about closely monitoring the situation for the owners meeting later this month and the 2020 NFL Draft in Las Vegas in late April, the fact is that the league has much more time than, say, the NCAA does as it relates to making a call on an event.
But just because the calendar for the NFL seems relatively empty does not mean there aren’t—or shouldn’t be—health concerns for all 32 teams during the offseason. And already teams are pulling coaches from their pre-draft circuit. More on that below.
Hyde disclosed his desire to remain in Houston after the Texans’ season ended with a 51-31 AFC Division Round loss to the eventual champion Kansas City Chiefs.
”I definitely want to be back here,” Hyde said, per Wilson. “I don’t want to go to another team and start all over again. I felt like Houston was home. I think I handled my part. I’ve just got to let things play out in the offseason and see what happens.”
Dante Fowler Jr., OLB, Los Angeles Rams: Playing on a one-year deal worth $12 million after being traded to the Rams midway through the previous season, Fowler last year finally delivered some of what had been expected of him ever since he became the No. 3 pick in the 2015 draft. Consistency, however, still eludes him, as 7 1/2 of his 11 1/2 sacks in 2019 were made in three games. For a player who could command a long-term contract above the rate he was paid on his prove-it deal, Fowler isn’t a reliable catalyst for a defense as he often simply finished plays initiated by defensive tackle Aaron Donald.
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“Like I said, look at my veterans — I got Michael Bennett as one of them,” added Clark. “I got a guy as outspoken as Richard Sherman. Guys who keep it real, and they all right… referring to my (Chiefs) teammates, no. They all rallied. They know how I am. I’m like this 24-7. There’s no cutoff for me when it come to how I am on that field. I got six months to be like that, only six months. I might as well have fun.”
A tweet to make you think
Miam has 3 1st rounders. They can control this draft https://t.co/VtYVNKgDIn
— trey wingo (@wingoz) March 11, 2020
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