Chiefs Rumors

Joel Corry On Chris Jones

The Chiefs and Chris Jones have made no recent progress towards a long-term deal, which means that Kansas City can, if it wants, have Jones play out the 2019 season for a bargain $1.2MM salary (Jones, after all, has to report to the club by August 6 to receive an accrued season toward free agency). However, if the Chiefs want to keep Jones in the fold for the long haul, it will have to pony up some cash soon.

And as Joel Corry of CBS Sports relays in a series of tweets, Jones is not going to come cheap. Corry suggests that Jones is already a $20MM+/year player, and if he performs as well in 2019 as he did in his breakout 2018 campaign, it will be hard to keep him for less than Aaron Donald‘s six-year, $135MM pact with the Rams. And if the Chiefs put the franchise tag on Jones next year and he plays the 2020 season under the tag while still performing at a high level, Khalil Mack money (six years, $141MM) won’t be enough.

The Chiefs learned with Justin Houston that waiting to extend an elite player can become overly costly, and Corry suggests KC should not go that route with Jones.

Latest On Chiefs, Chris Jones

There has been no change in the Chris Jones situation in recent weeks, a source tells Terez Paylor of Yahoo Sports (on Twitter). It doesn’t sound like a new deal is on the horizon for the defensive tackle, though he’ll have to report to camp by Aug. 6 to receive an accrued season toward free agency.

Jones skipped the team’s mandatory minicamp, subjecting him to roughly $90K in fines. From here, Jones doesn’t have a ton of options, though he’s made it clear that he wants a bump from his current deal. For now, he’s slated to earn a $1.2MM base salary with a paltry $1.3MM cap hit.

Following his stellar 2018 season, the 25-year-old should end up seeing a sizable pay raise. Jones enjoyed a breakout campaign, finishing with a career-high 40 tackles and 15.5 sacks. Pro Football Focus ultimately ranked him fifth among 112 interior defenders, with his pass-rushing score ranking second at the position.

With Dee Ford out of the picture, the Chiefs need Jones more than ever. In a perfect world, they’d lock him up immediately, but a long-term pact for the rising star won’t be cheap.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Latest On Juan Thornhill, Cody Thompson

  • Brook Pryor of the Kansas City Star takes a shot at projecting the Chiefs‘ 53-man roster. After an impressive spring, Pryor believes UDFA Cody Thompson will fill the club’s last WR spot at least until Tyreek Hill returns from his likely suspension, and she tabs Juan Thornhill as a key piece to the Kansas City secondary. The second-round rookie from UVA looked good in spring practices before injuring his hamstring, and assuming he is ready for training camp and continues to play well, he will be the Chiefs’ starting free safety and Tyrann Mathieu will be able to play closer to the line, which is his preference.

NFL Supplemental Draft Order

The NFL’s Supplemental Draft order does not go by the inverted win/loss records of clubs. Instead, the order is dictated by a weighted lottery that uses a team’s win percentage as just part of the equation. Here, via Tom Pelissero of NFL.com (Twitter link) is the complete order of the supplemental draft:

1. Lions
2. Broncos
3. Jets
4. Cardinals
5. Giants
6. Bills
7. Raiders
8. 49ers
9. Jaguars
10. Packers
11. Bengals
12. Bucs
13. Falcons
14. Vikings
15. Redskins
16. Titans
17. Dolphins
18. Steelers
19. Panthers
20. Browns
21. Ravens
22. Patriots
23.Cowboys
24. Seahawks
25. Eagles
26. Texans
27. Bears
28. Colts
29. Saints
30. Chiefs
31. Chargers
32. Rams

The supplemental draft is conducted via email. If multiple teams submit a pick for the same player in the same round, this order dictates which club gets the player. Of course, any team picking a player in the supplemental draft will sacrifice the corresponding pick in the 2020 draft.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

New Audio Of Tyreek Hill, Fiance Emerges

We have a new update in the Tyreek Hill situation. Earlier Tuesday, Kansas City sports radio station 610 KCSP aired previously unheard audio of the Chiefs receiver and his fiance, per Terez Paylor of Yahoo Sports

The new audio comes from the same recording that aired on a local TV station back in April. The TV station hadn’t aired this part, and in this new audio Hill can be heard denying the domestic violence incident he plead guilty to back in 2014. Hill was starring at Oklahoma State at the time, and his conviction led to him being dismissed by the team.

“… You ruined my life and you lied on me in 2014, bro,” Hill said. “And if you want to rewind that night we can rewind that night too, [expletive]. You was in my house. And did I pick you up and slam you? Hell no, I picked you up and put you out my door and after that you left. And on my son you did that, bro. And then then you get in the courtroom you want to sit up there and cry on the stand. ‘He hit me, he hit me.’ Man, come on bro,” he continued.

There’s then an exchange where Hill repeatedly asks if he hit her back then, and his fiance doesn’t really answer. The two can be heard going back and forth about the 2014 incident for a while before pivoting to the more recent allegation of child abuse, which is where the TV station picked up in April. Paylor has the full details on everything that’s new, but ultimately it doesn’t sound like this is going to effect Hill’s status with the league.

A source told Tom Pelissero of NFL Network that the NFL had the full version of the audio “months ago”, so this isn’t new to them (Twitter link). So far the investigation seems to be going about as well for Hill as he could’ve hoped given the circumstances. A few months ago it looked like his time with the Chiefs was coming to an end, but the recent reporting indicates he won’t be punished too severely.

The meeting between Hill and the league’s investigators reportedly went “very well” for the embattled receiver, and the Chiefs are now expecting him to be suspended for a maximum of four games. The team is expecting him to be at training camp later this month, and apparently could even reopen extension talks with Hill soon. We’ll keep you posted if there are any further developments.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Poll: Which 2018 Playoff Team Will Miss The Postseason?

It happens every year. A handful of top-tier teams will inevitably miss the playoffs. In 2018, a staggering seven teams who made the postseason in 2017 missed it the following season. So which of the 2018 playoff squads will underperform and miss the tournament in 2019?

The Patriots, the reigning Super Bowl champions, haven’t missed the postseason since 2008, when Tom Brady missed most of the season with an injury. The team has also produced double-digit wins in every campaign since 2002. Though they seem like a lock to extend that streak, the aforementioned Brady isn’t getting any younger, Rob Gronkowski retired following 2018 and the team’s defensive coaching staff is being headed by head coach Bill Belichick after the departure of Brian Flores to Miami and a deal with Greg Schiano fell through. Though the AFC East is perennially one of the worst in football, the Bills, Dolphins and Jets all have young quarterbacks who could take the next step and challenge New England in 2019. 

The Ravens surprised in 2018, using an opportunistic defense and an unorthodox rookie signal-caller in Lamar Jackson to roll to a 10-6 record and a spot in the postseason. With an offseason to build the offense around its young quarterback, the Ravens could take another step in 2019. Or they could take a step back as opposing defenses catch onto the team’s run-heavy schemes. The Steelers are also due for a bounce back and the Browns have overhauled their roster in recent years to make a push not only for the playoffs, but for a Super Bowl run.

The Texans, the AFC South division champions, and the Colts, a Wild Card squad, have squads loaded with young talent. Houston boasts a loaded offense behind Deshaun Watson and DeAndre Hopkins, and a strong defensive unit led by J.J. Watt. The Colts caught fire down the stretch, winning nine of their final 10 games to advance to the postseason. The team also fields the reigning Comeback Player of the Year (Andrew Luck) and Defensive Rookie of the Year (Darius Leonard). Though both teams should be strong again in 2019, only one can win the division, leaving the other to compete for one of the two Wild Card spots.

A pair of Super Bowl favorites, the Chiefs and Chargers both won 12 games in 2018 and are stacked with talent to inflate that number in 2019. Though the field the league’s MVP in Patrick Mahomes, the Chiefs have had a tumultuous last few months that has seen the departure of running back Kareem Hunt and legal troubles for Tyreek Hill. Though stacked on both sides of the ball, the Chargers have posted just one double-digit win season since 2009. Again, only one squad can win the division.

In the NFC, both the Cowboys and Eagles appear to be the class of the East, with solid quarterbacks in Carson Wentz and Dak Prescott leading the charge. Both squads field excellent defenses and have plenty of talent at the skill positions. The question in Philly, however, is if Wentz can stay healthy. An MVP candidate when on the field, Wentz has missed eight regular season games and every postseason outing in the last two seasons. Though a strong unit in 2018, the Cowboys defensive front is not a deep one after Demarcus Lawrence and could be the weak link in 2019.

The Bears improved from a 5-11 squad in 2017 to a 12-win team in 2018. With a young quarterback at the helm and a loaded defense, Chicago is in good position for another division crown. However, how much will the team miss defensive coordinator Vic Fangio? The new Broncos head coach oversaw a unit that allowed the fewest points and third-fewest yards in the NFL. Chicago also plays in a strong division that features a Vikings squad poised to bounce back and an Aaron Rodgers-led Packers team.

In 2017, the NFC South placed three teams in the playoffs. In 2018, only the Saints escaped the tough division. Atlanta and Carolina look ready to challenge for a postseason berth and a Bruce Arians-led Bucs squad could surprise. New Orleans is sure to be a Super Bowl favorite, but a tough division could see them underperform a hair and miss the tournament.

The NFC representatives in Super Bowl LIII, the Rams are still led by Sean McVay, a high-powered offense and a stout defensive front. The question with Los Angeles is an easy one, however, how will Todd Gurley fare in 2019? The NFL leader in touchdowns in each of the past two season, Gurley was a non-factor in the postseason and his health is a mystery. The Seahawks returned to the postseason following a one-year hiatus but can they do it again in 2019? The teams has to replace Russell Wilson‘s top target in Doug Baldwin, who retired in the offseason. How quickly DK Metcalf assimilates into that offense could determine Seattle’s postseason fate.

If you had to plant your flag on one of these teams missing the 2019 playoffs, which one would it be? Vote in the poll and give us your reasoning in the comments.

Revisiting The 2018 Free Agent WR Class

The 2018 free agent class of wide receivers reshaped the market in a number of ways and set the table for lucrative extensions for players like Odell Beckham, Brandin Cooks, and Stefon Diggs. But even allowing for the premium that teams often have to pay in the first wave of free agency, the size of the contracts that the 2018 FA wideouts landed raised a lot of eyebrows throughout the league. As we look ahead to Year 2 of some of those contracts, let’s examine the early returns.

Sammy Watkins‘ three-year, $48MM deal with the Chiefs topped the class in terms of total value, average annual value, and guaranteed money at signing ($30MM). And while his talent certainly merited that type of payday, his injury history was a concern, as he had missed 10 games over the prior three seasons. He ended up missing six games during his first year in Kansas City due to a foot injury, though he did manage to suit up for both of the club’s postseason contests. His raw numbers obviously don’t look too impressive as a result of the missed time, but he did rank fifth among all qualified wideouts in Football Outsiders’ DVOA metric, meaning he was very valuable on a per-play basis. He also tallied 10 catches for 176 yards during the Chiefs’ two playoff games, and while injury problems may always plague him, he continues to be a factor whenever he’s on the field. KC is likely not regretting Watkins’ deal at this point.

The Bears doubled up at wide receiver by signing Allen Robinson and Taylor Gabriel last March, which allowed them to part ways with Cameron Meredith. Chicago brought in Robinson on a three-year, $42MM pact, even though he suffered a torn ACL in Week 1 of the 2017 season and had only posted one elite season in his career (which came back in 2015). And after his first year with the Bears, Robinson is still looking for his second 1,000-yard campaign.

There is some reason to hope that he can get there, especially with a fully-healthy offseason and a year of building chemistry with quarterback Mitchell Trubisky under his belt. A-Rob played in just 13 regular season games last season but was targeted 94 times, and he was brilliant in the Bears’ lone playoff game, posting 10 catches for 143 yards and a score. Football Outsiders’ metrics didn’t love him, but Pro Football Focus assigned him an above-average grade that made him the 28th-best WR in the league. He may not have quite lived up to expectations, but there is still time for him to get there.

Chicago signed Gabriel to a four-year, $26MM deal in the hopes that he could become a big-play threat for Trubisky. But while Gabriel played in all 16 games for the club and saw 93 targets, he managed a fairly modest 10.3 yards-per-reception and two touchdowns. Advanced metrics weren’t overly fond of his work either, and he will be hoping for a bounce-back year in 2019.

It’s still too early to evaluate some of the other significant contracts given to 2018 wide receivers, because the signees saw their seasons derailed by injury. Marqise Lee, who re-upped with the Jaguars on a four-year, $34MM deal, missed the entire 2018 season due to a preseason knee injury, and he is not expected to be back until the end of this year’s training camp. The Dolphins were thinking highly of their three-year, $24MM accord with Albert Wilson, who was performing well for Miami until he landed on IR in October with a serious hip injury. He is expected to be ready for the start of the 2019 regular season, but he may not see the field until then.

Likewise, Paul Richardson showed flashes in the first year of the five-year, $40MM contract he signed with the Redskins last March, but he landed on IR in November with a shoulder injury.

But at least the aforementioned players are still on their respective teams. Michael Crabtree signed a three-year, $21MM deal with the Ravens after being cut by the Raiders, but he disappeared from Baltimore’s offense when Lamar Jackson became the starter, and Baltimore sent him packing in February (as of this writing, there has been no reported interest in his services). And Donte Moncrief signed a one-year contract for a surprising $9.6MM with the Jaguars, but his mostly disappointing performance in Jacksonville had him searching for a new team this offseason. He ultimately caught on with the Steelers.

All in all, then, the 2018 class of free agent wideouts was a mixed bag. None of the contracts those players signed look like a home run at this point, and while that could change in 2019, those who were surprised by the amount of money thrown at WRs last March were right to be a little skeptical.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Marcus Simms Works Out For Teams

Former West Virginia wide receiver Marcus Simms worked out for half of the NFL’s teams on Monday, according to Tony Pauline of DraftAnalyst.com. The Jaguars, Saints, Seahawks, Colts, Jets, Redskins, Chiefs, Browns, Eagles, Lions, Packers, 49ers, Vikings, Ravens, Raiders, and Falcons.

[RELATED: The 2019 NFL Supplemental Draft, So Far]

The 49ers and Vikings both sent directors of scouting while the Ravens had their personnel director on hand. The Raiders, meanwhile, had general manager Mike Mayock on hand, which may be an indicator of strong interest.

Simms’ 40-yard-dash times of 4.49, 4.45 and 4.40 seconds were strong, while his 36 inch vertical showed decent hops for the position. While he’s not considered to be as strong of a pro prospect as Washington State safety Jalen Thompson, Simms has a chance at being selected when the NFL Supplemental Draft takes place later this month.

Tyreek Hill, Chiefs Could Reopen Extension Talks

Everything seems to be looking up for embattled Chiefs receiver Tyreek Hill. We’ve heard over the past couple of days that Hill’s meeting with the league’s investigator went very well, and that he could be looking at a maximum suspension of four games.

The most recent reporting also indicates that Hill will attend the team’s training camp next month. While it once looked like the Chiefs were on the verge of moving on from Hill once and for all, it now appears they still view him in their longterm plans, according to Terez Paylor of Yahoo Sports. Assuming Hill comes out relatively cleanly with the league, which it looks like he will, “the Chiefs and his representation could potentially re-engage in contract negotiations for an extension in the not-too-distant future,” a source told Paylor.

Back in March, before this scandal got started, we heard that the two sides had begun negotiating an extension. Allegations of child abuse and domestic violence, of course, put those talks on hold. The Chiefs used their first pick in April’s draft on receiver Mecole Hardman, which many interpreted as a sign they weren’t expecting to have Hill.

The tide has slowly started to turn in Hill’s favor since then, and at this point it would be a major surprise if he isn’t playing for the Chiefs in 2019. Recent reporting indicates that if Hill is suspended it won’t be for the injuries his son sustained, but rather the recording where he can be heard threatening his fiance.

Hill will certainly need to avoid any additional off-field incidents, and any potential extension would likely include provisions to void the deal if Hill gets into further trouble, but it sounds like he may get the mega-deal he was initially angling for. A fifth-round pick in 2016, Hill is heading into the final year of his rookie contract. Assuming they do start talking about a new contract again, it’ll be interesting to see if this ordeal ends up effecting his potential price.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Latest On Tyreek Hill’s Meeting With NFL

Details are emerging on Tyreek Hill‘s eight-hour interview with NFL Special Counsel for Investigations Lisa Friel, and multiple sources with knowledge of the situation tell Nate Taylor of The Athletic that the interview went very well for Hill.

Taylor says that most of the dialogue between Hill and Friel centered around the now infamous audio recording of a conversation between Hill and Crystal Espinal, the mother of Hill’s three-year-old son, that took place this spring. Taylor’s sources say that Hill was able to provide the league with a “massive amount of evidence” to support his claims that Espinal was the primary disciplinarian of their child and that she was the one who caused the boy’s injuries. The league requested full records from the Overland Park Police Department in March pertaining to the criminal investigation into Hill, but since the case involved a child, the PD denied access to those records.

Hill may be suspended for the threatening comments he made to Espinal in the audio recording, but at least one Chiefs official believes the suspension will be for a maximum of four games, and several team officials expect the league to announce its decision as soon as next month.

That would clear the way for Hill to participate in training camp, and we learned just yesterday that Hill is expected to join his teammates when camp opens next month. Indeed, once the league makes its decision, the Chiefs will lift their indefinite ban of Hill.

The NFL may now ask Hill to visit league headquarters to meet with Roger Goodell, but it currently sounds as though Hill will escape this ugly situation about as cleanly as he could have hoped.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.