Travis Kelce will check off another career milestone this weekend when he makes his first Super Bowl appearance. Four years ago today, he achieved one of the first major accomplishments, inking a five-year extension with the Chiefs.
Back when the deal was signed in 2016, Kelce was an up-and-comer at the tight end position. The former third-rounder had compiled 850-plus receiving yards and five touchdowns for the second-straight season, and he earned his first Pro Bowl nod. Despite the production, Kelce was still working to endear himself to the organization. Kelce missed his entire rookie season recovering from knee surgery, and coach Andy Reid referred to him as “immature” following an incident during his sophomore campaign.
Still, the organization believed in him enough to give him a market-setting five-year, $46MM extension (with a bit more than $20MM guaranteed). In hindsight, that deal ended up working out brilliantly for the Chiefs. Kelce has evolved into the league’s premier tight end, averaging 92 receptions, 1,182 receiving yards, and 6.75 touchdowns over the past four seasons.
That extension is set to expire following the 2020 season, and assuming Kelce remains relatively healthy, he should earn another lucrative payday. The $46MM deal is still the highest at the position, but the veteran has predictably been surpassed in guaranteed money (where Trey Burton, Jordan Reed, and Zach Ertz top Kelce) and average value (Jimmy Graham is the leader).
Austin Hooper, Hunter Henry, and Eric Ebron are among the players hitting free agency this offseason, so there’s a chance the market could reset. Kelce will surely have his eye on those various deals as he prepared for the 2021 offseason. For now, the tight end is going to prepare for the biggest game of his life, although he may briefly think back to four years ago today when he inked his extension with the Chiefs.
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