Latest On Travis Kelce’s Chiefs Contract

The AAV gap between wide receivers and tight ends can partially be traced to the below-market contract Travis Kelce was tied to — and Rob Gronkowski‘s long-running, Patriots-friendly deal before that — but the gulf narrowed ever so slightly thanks to the new deal the Patrick Mahomes right-hand man inked Monday.

While initially labeled an extension, Kelce’s new contract does not contain any additional years. The all-time great remains under contract for two more seasons, according to’s Albert Breer, with $34.25MM in compensation coming his way. This new agreement does bump Kelce past Darren Waller as the NFL’s highest-paid tight end but checks in just north of the current Giant’s AAV ($17MM).

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Kelce, 34, will see $17MM guaranteed at signing and most of his remaining money vest on day 3 of the 2025 league year,’s Adam Schefter tweets. Overall, this will amount to a $4MM pay bump from the Chiefs, who had Kelce on their books at two years and $30.25MM through 2025 previously. This will provide Kelce with a much better guarantee structure, as none of his remaining money — on a four-year, $57.25MM contract in 2020 — was locked in.

Obviously proving worthy of this modest raise, Kelce has been invaluable to the Chiefs’ Mahomes-years surge. One of the three pillars of this Kansas City dynasty — along with Mahomes and Chris Jones — Kelce has now agreed to four contracts with the team. The Chiefs extended the future Hall of Famer early, inking him to a five-year, $46.8MM extension in 2016 — his first year of eligibility — and gave him the new deal around the same time the 49ers paid George Kittle four summers ago.

Wide receiver contracts have soared in the years since, and teams have been reluctant to reward tight ends on deals too far north of Kelce and Kittle’s pacts. T.J. Hockenson‘s Vikings extension came in at $16.5MM just before last season. Despite the salary cap having ballooned by more than $50MM since the Kelce and Kittle extensions came to pass, the Chiefs icon’s AAV checks in nearly $15MM south of A.J. Brown‘s new receiver-market-topping Eagles accord. The WR AAV number is expected to rise again — perhaps by a significant margin — this offseason, with Justin Jefferson and CeeDee Lamb on the extension radar. No tight end appears likely to provide much distance from this Kelce number in the near future.

Kelce is in uncharted territory as far as post-30 production at tight end goes. While former Chiefs legend Tony Gonzalez played 17 seasons, he did not eclipse 1,000 yards past age 32 (his final Kansas City season). Kelce surpassed 1,000 at ages 32 and 33. Yes, teams are passing more now — as rule changes regularly help aerial attacks — and the NFL added a game to its schedule, but Kelce holds the top post-merger yardage marks for a tight end’s age-31, age-32, age-33 and age-34 seasons. While some signs of decline showed during a clunky — by Mahomes-era Chiefs standards — offensive season, Kelce produced once again in the playoffs.

Kelce has certainly been vital to the Chiefs’ post-Tyreek Hill plan, as his Q rating — thanks to his podcast and Taylor Swift relationship — has skyrocketed. These guarantees ensure the Chiefs, as they attempt to become the first team to win three straight Super Bowls, will keep counting on their top pass catcher into his mid-30s.

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