Chiefs news for 11 September 2019
When asked about the amount of time the defense was on the field, Reid again mentioned that the new-look defense will only get better with time.
“Like I said, I thought for the most part that we got off the field,” Reid said of the defense. “Your third downs become important. I thought we did a good job there. I just liked how aggressive we were. I thought the intensity maintained strong and the tempo was fast throughout the game. I think the guys are in shape. I just think it is becoming even more familiar with the defense. I think that as time goes on here, I think they’ll just keep getting better and better in that way.”
Rank 3: Kansas City Chiefs
Previous rank:No. 4
Here’s the scary thing about the Chiefs: They went to Jacksonville and dropped a 40-burger on the Jaguars … and it still felt like they left points on the field. Patrick Mahomes looks like the MVP, LeSean McCoy looks like the Shady of old rather than old Shady, and Sammy Watkins looks to, at long last, be on the precipice of his breakthrough season. Watkins torched the Jags to the tune of nine catches for 198 yards and three TDs, and he’ll continue to see plenty of looks with Tyreek Hill on the shelf indefinitely with a shoulder injury. The Hill news is obviously the biggest negative to come out of the opener for Kansas City, but the team’s talent is so overwhelming that you don’t imagine the Chiefs will skip a beat. Jon Gruden thought he had a headache in Antonio Brown — now he has to plan for the Chiefs in Week 2. Knock on wood if you’re terrified.
Both parties knew why the relationship was ending; Houston was sliding past his prime, and the Chiefs couldn’t absorb his $21 million salary-cap hit. Reid and owner Clark Hunt thanked Houston, both in person and in statements released to the public, for his performance and his leadership. After what he called the most enjoyable season of his career, Houston hugged several members of the organization while collecting his belongings.
Then he asked Allen Wright, the Chiefs’ longtime equipment director, if he could get a pair of Reid’s white-and-red-swoosh Air Force 1s as a parting gift. Reid agreed, making Houston the fourth player to possess a pair of Reid’s sneakers.
“That’s mutual with Justin, and I’m a big fan of his,” Reid said. “He dotted me with a pair of Jordans when he left, so I appreciate that, too.”
I’m more bearish on Watkins than most. He’s been a Top-20 receiver once in five years. He played 15 games with the Sean McVay Rams in 2017 — albeit it was a late arrival — and managed all of 39 catches (we did appreciate the eight touchdowns). Watkins averaged 52 yards a game last year in Kansas City, a modest haul when you’re riding shotgun with a Patrick Mahomes MVP season.
Watkins will get more opportunity forward, but also more defensive attention. Usually, I let opportunity break this tie — especially when we’re tied to an elite offense — but when I hear some outlets and pundits proclaiming Watkins an obvious WR1 the rest of the way, I start thinking about the trade market. Could you get Mike Evans for Watkins? Could you get D.J. Moore and a second player for Watkins?
If you roster Watkins, you probably should at least explore the trade market. Recency bias is a hell of a drug. If you’re unimpressed with the offer, you can always say no. But just see what’s out there.
According to a report from Yahoo Sports’ Terez Paylor the Chiefs plan to release second-year WR Byron Pringle. Even though the Chiefs were granted a roster exemption for WR De’Anthony Thomas, who comes off suspension this week, it appears this will be the corresponding move to make room for Thomas on the 53-man roster. Thomas previously wore No. 13 for the Chiefs and Pringle had that jersey number most recently. We can expect to see Thomas back in No. 13 after this move.
The decision to release Pringle over another player is also an interesting one. It leaves the Chiefs with just four healthy receivers while Tyreek Hill deals with his injury. Could this possibly indicate that Hill will be back and ready to play sooner than later?
2. Kansas City Chiefs (Last week: 2)
If you’re a Chiefs fan, or really just a fan of excellent quarterbacking, there are no five worse words than “Matt Moore is warming up” — and that’s what briefly happened Sunday when Patrick Mahomes, the reigning NFL MVP, got his ankle rolled on and visited the injury tent in Jacksonville to get taped up. Mahomes didn’t miss a snap, and the Chiefs rolled (with 378 passing yards and three touchdowns from Mahomes). Now we wait to see if Mahomes has any lingering effects from that ankle scare. The Chiefs did lose Tyreek Hill to a scary collarbone injury that required an overnight hospital stay (but no surgery) in Jacksonville, but otherwise, it was a great opener.
5. Kansas City Chiefs: “Don’t buy into their 40-26 win over Jacksonville. The Jaguars are awful and lost their quarterback in the first quarter. That shouldn’t even count as a win. That’s such a false narrative thinking the Chiefs did something special.”
The moves officially came through on the NFL’s transaction report on Friday, September 7, but we didn’t have exact numbers on the restructures until ESPN’s Field Yates shared those today. According to Yates, the Chiefs converted 2019 salary into signing bonuses for both LT Eric Fisher and MLB Anthony Hitchens. This created nearly $10.6 million in cap space for the Chiefs. Per the NFLPA’s public salary cap report, the Chiefs currently stand at just over $19 million in cap space.
These restructured contracts came after Hill had officially signed his contract extension. The moves don’t appear to be in correspondence with Hill’s contract given his low first-year cap number. So if the money isn’t for Hill, then who is it for?
The Chiefs could presumably seek to use this money to extend DT Chris Jones, another player that has been in contract negotiations with the Chiefs this past offseason. If they don’t extend Jones they could also use the franchise tag on him in 2020.
8. Andy Reid when he has time to prepare
Reid has always been excellent when he’s coming off a bye, so I guess it makes sense the same should be true when he gets an entire offseason to prepare. The Chiefs didn’t have a single three-and-out all game and were one of three teams (the Cowboys and Raiders were the others) that didn’t give up a sack. Kansas City has the nearly impossible to stop combination of a coach who can scheme guys open, players who can consistently win their one-on-one matchups and a quarterback who knows exactly where to go with the ball. Per Next Gen Stats, just 3 percent of Patrick Mahomes’ attempts were into a tight window (defined as throws where a defender is within 1 yard of the receiver). That was the lowest percentage of any quarterback in Week 1.