Kansas City Chiefs – Patrick Mahomes (QB) and Travis Kelce (TE)
The best duo of any kind in the NFL belongs to the Chiefs, as Mahomes and Kelce are the best players on the team to win two Super Bowl titles in the past four years. Over the past five seasons, Mahomes and Kelce are the two best players at their respective positions.
Mahomes leads the NFL in passing yards (23,957), passing touchdowns (192) and passer rating (106.0) among quarterbacks with 1,500 pass attempts since the 2018 season.
Kelce is third in the NFL in receiving yards (6,444), second in receptions (504) and fourth in touchdowns (47) since Mahomes became the starting quarterback in 2018. Those two have helped the Chiefs reach five straight AFC Championship games, winning three conference titles and two Super Bowl rings.
Mahomes and Kelce are the centerpieces of the Chiefs dynasty — and an unstoppable duo.
1. Patrick Mahomes (Chiefs)
The easiest QB to rank by far, Mahomes is the definition of a true cheat code in this sport. His freestyling affords the opposition chances to steal the ball, but more often than not his biggest threat seems to be the possibility of being bored by his own dominance. A whopping 64-16 as the star point guard of Andy Reid’s motion-heavy offense, not including an 11-3 playoff record that includes two Super Bowl titles and already makes him a virtual Hall of Fame lock at 27, Mahomes is a sneaky scrambler. But his video game numbers are primarily driven by those signature acrobatic arm angles and an inherent big-game mentality that occurs when the lights are brightest and the stage is biggest. Chiefs fan or not, he’s a wonder to watch, and with the wins to show for it.
Kansas City Chiefs: DL Chris Jones
Kansas City Chiefs standout defensive lineman Chris Jones is entering the final year of his contract, is eyeing a new deal and did not attend mandatory minicamp.
Presumably, Jones wants to be one of the league’s highest-paid defensive tackles, and while he’s set to make $28.3 million this season, his annual value is $20 million. less than Aaron Donald, Daron Payne, Jeffery Simmons, Dexter Lawrence, Javon Hargrave and DeForest Buckner.
Keeping Jones happy and on the roster should be a priority for Kansas City, both because of his prowess on the field — he had 15.5 sacks during his All-Pro campaign in 2023 — and his leadership skills.
“He’s one of the main reasons we’ve had the success we’ve had,” quarterback Patrick Mahomes told PJ Green of Fox 4 Kansas City. “He’s been that leader on defense.”
Extending Jones now could also provide some cap relief, depending on how his next deal is constructed. The 28-year-old has just $7 million in dead money on his deal and a base salary of $19.5 million. The Chiefs, meanwhile, have less than $1 million in cap space.
Converting a large portion of Jones’ salary into a bonus spread over several years could give the Chiefs a little financial breathing room heading into the summer.
31. Felix Anudike-Uzomah, DE, Kansas City Chiefs
How has he fared so far: Anudike-Uzomah practiced little for most of the offseason after having thumb surgery and battling a sore hamstring. He returned to practice by the time the Chiefs finished, leaving his coaches with little time to evaluate him. “He has worked through [the injuries]and he’s back in the swing and seems like he’s getting better every day, which is a good thing,” coach Andy Reid said.
The Chiefs have George Karlaftis, who had six sacks as a rookie last season, and free agent Charles Omenihu at defensive end, so they don’t expect Anudike-Uzomah to be an immediate starter. However, they expect him to play and contribute. — Adam Teicher
ESPN analyst and former Washington and Philadelphia personnel director Louis Riddick doesn’t just believe the Dolphins will win the AFC East.
He also says the Dolphins are one of the two teams best positioned to challenge Kansas City’s AFC supremacy in the next five years.
“A team other than the Bengals that can really challenge Kansas City [over the next five years] has to be Miami because they’ve got firepower on offense,” Riddick said. “They’ve got a great defense that’s going to step up.
“I understand that every time I mention Miami’s name, people say ‘Well, Tua [Tagovailoa] can’t keep healthy.’ I understand. I understand what his track record is. I would assume this year offensively is going to do that [change a bit] philosophical to the point where the running game — which you saw last year when it was really dialed in — that was something that could take the pressure off Tua. That could slow down opposing pass rushers and help their offensive line.
“If Mike McDaniel emphasizes it, they’ve got guns out of their ears. Defensively, they have a young core of guys who are QB hunters as well as any team in the AFC, or NFC for that matter, that can come after Patrick Mahomes. This team is uniquely positioned to make a run and could begin to do so this year. The quarterback position obviously has to be on the field.”
Despite Kelce continuing to age, he isn’t showing many — if any — signs of slowing down. The football world knows it, and that doesn’t stop anyone from voicing his ranking among the NFL’s all-time greats at the position. In a recent appearance on USA TODAY’s Sport seriously show, longtime NFL tight end and current broadcaster Greg Olsen chimed in on Kelce’s current standing and future potential to climb even further:
“Yeah, he’s definitely on Mount Rushmore. He’s in the top three or four. I said this last year, actually, on a live broadcast of one of his games: I think another couple of years – yet a year or two of the production that he’s had over the last, call it, seven or eight – I never thought in a million years [that] anyone would be able to catch Tony Gonzalez. I think Tony’s longevity, along with his productivity, just put his numbers out there.
“I think when you factor in Travis’ consistency, his production of where he is now on the all-time charts, and now you throw in [that] he’s won more Super Bowls, has more playoff records, more postseason records… he’s as well-rounded in terms of productivity as any player to ever play the position. So I think in another year or two, I think we could have that conversation that Travis sits at the top of the entire list, which is saying a lot when you start thinking about some of the names that have stuck around over the years.”
About the NFL
Entering his second campaign with Philadelphia, Reddick plans to build on his past success and help lead the Eagles to another Super Bowl appearance in 2023.
“I’m in good shape,” Reddick said this past weekend at his fifth annual youth camp, via Philadelphia Inquirer. “As crazy as it sounds, I feel like there are still more levels for me to get into. I am very excited and look forward to building on another great year. I want to continue to make progress on what I did and what the team did last year.”
Last season was a career year for Reddick. After four seasons in Arizona followed by one in Carolina, Reddick signed a three-year, $45 million contract to return to his Philly roots. The 28-year-old linebacker finished his first season in Philly with career highs in sacks (16), QB hits (26) and forced fumbles (five). That earned the Temple product its first Pro Bowl Honour.
Dalvin Cook, a free agent after his release from Minnesota Vikings this month, has an interest in teaming up with DeAndre Hopkins on his next team.
Speaking Monday on “The Adam Schefter Podcast,” Cook said of Hopkins (also a free agent who remains unsigned), “If we end up on the same list, it would be something epic for the NFL.”
Cook, who played six seasons for the Vikings, turns 28 in August and was set to absorb $14.1 million in Minnesota’s cap space for 2023. After trade talks simmered, the Vikings released the star running back.
In case you missed it at Arrowhead Pride
Chiefs Roster 2023: Identifying Depth and Replacement Players
Defensive tackle Derrick Nnadi: Nnadi is a one-dimensional player who has struggled at times defending the run. While he still has value, it would be nice to see rookie Keondre Coburn push for the role, making Nnadi more of a rotation player.
Defensive tackle Tershawn Wharton: After rehabbing a torn ACL, Wharton enters his fourth year in the league. His lack of size makes him vulnerable against the run. His upside is mainly in his pass-rushing — but with just 5.0 sacks over the past three seasons, limitations exist.
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