Chiefs news for 16 May 2019
Spagnuolo could use Lee as a blitzer or as a defender who can be trusted with pass coverage. Last season, Lee received an impressive 84.4 grade in coverage from Pro Football Focus. That score ranked him fourth in the league among linebackers. He recorded five pass breakups and collected three interceptions, including one he returned for a touchdown in a victory over the Detroit Lions. The Chiefs’ main four linebackers from last season — Ford, Hitchens, Justin Houston and Reggie Ragland — combined for just two interceptions.
Perhaps the trait the Chiefs coveted the most from Lee was his speed. With the quickness to run the 40-yard dash in 4.42 seconds, Lee often chased offensive skill players on the perimeter for open-field tackles, a skill the Chiefs’ defense struggled to show for much of last season.
The Jets have agreed to trade linebacker Darron Lee to the Kansas City Chiefs in exchange for the 2020 sixth-round draft pick, according to multiple reports. Yahoo! Sports was the first to report the transaction.
The move goes down just hours after the Jets fired general manager Mike Maccagnan and named head coach Adam Gase as interim GM. Gase is entering his first season as Jets coach, while Maccagnan had been with the team for four years.
Now, the team is jettisoning one of Maccagnan’s draft picks. In three seasons with the Jets, Lee hadn’t lived up to the expectations that come with being the No. 20 overall selection of a draft.
Note: This was published before the Darron Lee trade was announced
Veach outbidding other teams for rookie free agents, which is ultimately quite cheap in the grand scheme of things, is reflective that he understands the team needs to compensate for losing draft picks to trades.
Each move in the offseason must be considered in conjunction with every other move. Does a plan emerge out of the chaos? In the case of this offseason, the answer for Veach and the Chiefs is an unqualified “yes.” In a single offseason, he has managed to: almost completely revamp the Chiefs’ defense while actually improving the talent level, address an unexpected potential need at wide receiver and solve the problem, or at least attempt to, of needing inexpensive contracts to fill out the roster despite having fewer draft picks.
The addition of Hunt has come with its obvious share of unwanted attention to Cleveland after he was suspended after a video surfaced of him kicking a woman. According to NFL Network’s Aditi Kinkhabwala, Mayfield says quarterback Patrick Mahomes and Travis Kelce spoke glowingly about their former teammate:
Browns QB Baker Mayfield says he spoke to both Pat Mahomes, Travis Kelce abt Kareem Hunt – and both vouched for the person he is. Says, “What your boys say about you in the locker room says more about you than anything you can do on the field.”
Realistically, the Chiefs probably still need a cornerback. They’ve got Kendall Fuller, who was solid in his first season in Kansas City, and they’ve got Breeland, who’s more of a gamble than a sure-thing. Charvarius Ward seems to be up-and-coming, but the Chiefs would be better suited with an established corner. Someone like Marcus Peters would fit really well, if only the Chiefs hadn’t traded him for relatively nothing.
Staying in the secondary, the Chiefs could use another safety to work opposite Mathieu. A trade for Patrick Peterson, as suggested by John Breech of CBS Sports, would be costly but would secure the Chiefs as the best team in the AFC.
Thornhill’s deal is expected to be around $4.6 million over the next four years, including a cap hit this year of $837K.
Thornhill entered the NFL Draft as one of the most heralded all-around safeties in the class. Virginia had played him all over the secondary, and he came with starting experience as a cornerback on the outside and the slot as well as both safety positions. However, he’s a natural fit at free safety, which is what makes him such an ideal fit alongside new free agent signing Tyrann Mathieu.
Chiefs wide receiver Gehrig Dieter tied the knot over the weekend, and some of his teammates were there to witness the blessed event.
That includes quarterback Patrick Mahomes and tight end Travis Kelce, who appeared to be having a good time at the reception following the wedding.
While Dieter and his new bride were having their first dance, someone noted that Mahomes and Kelce were in the background, swaying to the music in, well, unusual fashion.
Someone called out: “Patrick, you’re weird.”
When Hyde entered the NFL out of Ohio State, he was coming off a strong season as a pass catcher. He caught 16 passes for nearly 150 yards and three touchdowns in 2013. It was that type of production that led teams to believe that he could fill the receiving role well in the NFL. Five seasons into his NFL career, and catching the ball simply hasn’t been his strength.
The big concern here for Hyde has to be his competition. Darrel Williams had a 100 percent catch rate in 2018 in a limited role on just three targets. Sixth-round pick Darwin Thompson caught 23 passes and turned it into over 300 yards and two touchdowns in the 2018 at Utah State. Undrafted free agent James Williams was PFF’s highest-rated receiving back in college football for three seasons running.
While you certainly want to see third rounders start as rookies, Saunders probably isn’t a starter come opening kickoff for 2019. He should, however, receive plenty of playing time because of his size and his wrecking ball ability. There’s no rush to force him into a starting role, unless of course an injury occurs or he outperforms his expectations.
Saunders accounted for 25 and a half tackles for loss and 14 sacks over two years at Western Illinois, so he can get after the ball carrier and make plays. That’s what the Chiefs were lacking in 2018 (well, at least when it came to stopping the run) and Saunders should hopefully make a difference.
The Kansas City Chiefs have signed most of their rookie draft class already.
They signed four players ahead of their rookie minicamp, including top draft pick Mecole Hardman. They signed safety Juan Thornhill today, and the only player left unsigned is third-round defensive tackle Khalen Saunders.
With several of their draft picks already under contract, we’ve got four-year contract figures courtesy of Spotrac. Here’s a quick overview of what those contracts look like. Keep in mind once you get past a certain point in the draft, contracts are mostly uniform with yearly increases in base salary and cap hit.
Mathieu has had his share of troubles, some he is sure of which the kids are aware. That is OK, too. He got through those troubles to the other side, where he ultimately wanted to be.
“I’m just here to remind them that a lot of things are going to happen in your life, it’s just important to keep your mindset on what you want to be at the end of the day,” Mathieu said. “If I can reach one kid or two kids, and maybe those kids can reach some more kids.
“That’s the message I preach: Support your friends, support the kids next to you. Just believe in people.”
Morning Bowl of (T)Weeties:
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