Chiefs Rumors

This Date In Transactions History: Chiefs Release Jeremy Maclin

Three years ago today, the Chiefs shocked everyone with their release of Jeremy Maclin. Despite a down 2016, Maclin still profiled as one of the most talented wide receivers in the NFL and was slated to enter the year as the Chiefs No. 1 wideout. Instead of waiting to see what the 29-year-old could do, they opted for more cap space and more targets for their younger receivers, including second-year pro Tyreek Hill.

At the time of his release, Maclin was not far removed from his 1,000+-yard 2015 season, or even his stellar 2014 with the Eagles, when he set a career high of 1,318 yards. His 2015 debut with Kansas City was, in some respects, even more impressive – Maclin caught 70.2% of his targets, easily topping his career 61.3% mark.

Still, the Chiefs saw an opportunity to save in an area where they already had a surplus of talent. Dropping Maclin saved the club $10MM in cap room with just $2.4MM left in dead money. The move made sense from a club perspective, but the timing was less-than-fair for the veteran.

Had he been released in March, Maclin would have had an opportunity to secure a solid multi-year payday. The league wasn’t all that juiced about the free agent WR market – Alshon Jeffery led the way with a one-year, $14MM deal and Terrelle Pryor settled for a one-year, $6MM deal, despite his camp’s best efforts to position him as an eight-figure salary player. In June, he was viewed as the bell of the ball, ahead of options including Anquan Boldin, Steve Johnson, Eddie Royal, and Marquess Wilson, but most of the money had dried up. He wound up signing with the Ravens on a two-year, $11MM deal.

Maclin never got the opportunity to justify his hefty five-year, $55MM pact in KC, and he clearly wasn’t the same player when he moved on to Baltimore. He finished out with just 40 catches for 440 yards for an average of eleven yards per grab – all career lows. Then, an injury wiped out his 2018 season. Last year, Maclin wasn’t able to scare up much interest as a free agent, prompting him to retire at the age of 30.

The decision to drop Maclin was puzzling at the time, but it’s hard to argue with the call in retrospect. Hill went on to have a breakout 2017 with 75 catches, 1,183 yards, and seven touchdowns. And, last season, their explosive offense propelled them to Super Bowl glory.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Latest On Chiefs, Chris Jones

While the Chiefs have begun negotiations with Patrick Mahomes, they are moving slower with their franchise-tagged player. Chris Jones and the Chiefs have not engaged in any extension talks since the Super Bowl champions used their tag in late February, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets.

Jones has not participated in the Chiefs’ virtual offseason program and has no plans to do so, Rapoport adds. The fifth-year defensive tackle has kept in touch since being tagged, per ESPN.com’s Jeremy Fowler, but this is a slow-moving process (Twitter link). It is also in line with the slow pace of last year’s negotiations.

The former second-round pick skipped Kansas City’s 2019 offseason program, though he reported to training camp. But the sides did not make much progress last year, and Jones played out his rookie deal. He is now attached to a $16.1MM tag for a team that already has a $20MM-plus-AAV defensive lineman (Frank Clark) and has begun talks for what will almost certainly be a record-setting extension with Mahomes.

GM Brett Veach said in April the team would like to extend Jones, and franchise tag negotiations often move slowly due to the four-plus-month gap between the deadline to apply tags and the deadline to extend tagged players. Jones, understandably, is not exactly thrilled about his current arrangement.

It’s like a mix of emotions,” Jones said in March“Because you figure, you know, after four years, you do everything the right way, within the team way, you try to stay under the line, out of trouble, and be a good citizen for a team and for the city, you expect to be rewarded. … It’s like, ‘Man, what else you want me to do?’”

Last year, Jones sought a deal north of $20MM per year. The Chiefs wanted to keep the price tag below that number. With DeForest Buckner having now agreed to a $21MM-per-year with the Colts, Jones may have an even higher price floor. That will be difficult for the Chiefs to accommodate. Five teams are paying a pass rusher north of $20MM on average; none of them have another pass rusher more than $12MM per year. This will be a key situation to monitor through the July 15 deadline.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Chiefs, Patrick Mahomes Start Extension Talks

The Chiefs have kicked off extension talks with Patrick Mahomes, according to Sam Mellinger of the Kansas City Star (on Twitter). There’s little doubt that a deal will ultimately get done and, once finalized, it should position the quarterback as the highest-paid player in NFL history.

[RELATED: Seahawks Wanted Patrick Mahomes In 2017 Draft]

Mahomes has two years remaining on his original rookie deal, worth $2.794MM and $24.837MM, respectively. After that, the Chiefs would still have the option of using the franchise tag, but that’s a costly game. Instead, the Chiefs would rather pony up the big bucks to lock down one of the game’s brightest stars for years to come.

Some believe that Texans QB Deshaun Watson will ink an extension before Mahomes signs his own mega-deal. That scenario would suit Mahomes just fine, as Watson would provide a favorable comp that the Chiefs passer would easily top.

For a while, we were hearing that Mahomes’ next deal could break the $40MM per year barrier. But, lately, there’s been talk of Watson striking the $40MM-$42MM/year range, which could set Mahomes up for a truly unprecedented ask of around $50MM per season, on average. That doesn’t mean the Chiefs would give it to him, but it wouldn’t be totally out of the ballpark.

After leading the Chiefs to their first championship in 50 years, Mahomes can safely shoot for the moon. Meanwhile, his reps will be keeping a close eye on Watson’s talks, as well as Dak Prescott‘s negotiations with the Cowboys.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Chiefs, Patrick Mahomes Have Not Begun Negotiations

At some point, the Chiefs and star quarterback Patrick Mahomes are going to agree to a long-term extension that will make Mahomes the highest-paid player in NFL history. But while we heard back in February that the two sides could finalize something after the draft, negotiations have not yet gotten underway.

In a Facebook Live event with Dallas radio station 105.3 The Fan yesterday, Kansas City chairman and CEO Clark Hunt spoke about contract discussions with the face of his franchise (story via Jelani Scott of NFL.com).

“The negotiations are something we’ll be getting into this summer,” Hunt said. “But what he has said and what we’ve said, both sides is, he wants to be a Kansas City Chief for life, and that’s our mentality as well. We want him to play his entire career in Kansas City, and that’s what we’re going to be shooting for.”

Hunt had indicated before this year’s Super Bowl that a Mahomes extension would not necessarily get done prior to the end of the 2020 season, but it appears that his timeline has been accelerated (it’s amazing what a Lombardi Trophy can do for someone’s goodwill). At the same time, it also makes sense from the team’s perspective to make sure that there will be a 2020 season before paying a player — even a player like Mahomes — tens of millions of dollars in upfront cash. Perhaps that’s why negotiations have been pushed back to the summer.

Mahomes was hampered a bit by a knee injury in 2019, so his regular season performance was not quite as otherworldly as it was in his MVP romp in 2018. But he was brilliant in the Chiefs’ title run, which culminated in Super Bowl MVP honors.

For his part, the 24-year-old sensation says he has no intentions of going anywhere. “I want to make sure I do [my next contract] the smart way and do it the right way, and so I don’t know exactly which way that is, yet,” Mahomes recently said. “I know that my people and the Chiefs’ people will talk about it, and will do it at the right time and for the betterment for the team. But I’m excited to be a Kansas City Chief for a very long time, and I know that’s going to be handled the right way because of the people the Kansas City Chiefs have in their organization

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Mecole Hardman Could See Reduced ST Snaps

  • Chiefs wideout Mecole Hardman made the Pro Bowl as a returner during his rookie campaign in 2019, but his role on special teams may be scaled back going forward. Kansas City special teams coach Dave Toub says that while he doesn’t want to lose Hardman’s return skills, the former second round pick may not handle as much ST duty as his role on the Chiefs’ offense increases (Twitter link via James Palmer of NFL.com). Hardman posted 26 receptions for 538 yards and six touchdowns a season ago, but those numbers could increase if he leapfrogs Sammy Watkins to become KC’s No. 2 wide receiver.
  • Frank Clark played an integral role in bringing former Cowboys/Dolphins defensive end Taco Charlton to the Chiefs.

Longest-Tenured GMs In The NFL

When we ran down the longest-tenured head coaches in the NFL, we found that less than half of the league’s current coaches have been in their positions for more than three years. That’s not quite the case with general managers, but there have been plenty of changes in recent years.

A handful of general managers have gotten to take their coats off and stay for a long while. Among coaches, Bill Belichick had joined his team prior to 2003. Here, you’ll see that five GMs have been with their teams since before ’03 (Belichick, of course, is also on this list). Two of those five – Jerry Jones and Mike Brown – are outliers, since they’re team owners and serve as de facto GMs. But the Patriots, Steelers, and Saints, have all had the same general managers making their roster decisions for well over a decade.

Here’s the complete list of the NFL’s longest-tenured GMs, along with the date they took over the job:

  1. Jerry Jones (Dallas Cowboys): April 18, 1989[1]
  2. Mike Brown (Cincinnati Bengals): August 5, 1991[2]
  3. Bill Belichick (New England Patriots): January 27, 2000[3]
  4. Kevin Colbert (Pittsburgh Steelers): February 18, 2000[4]
  5. Mickey Loomis (New Orleans Saints): May 14, 2002
  6. Rick Spielman (Minnesota Vikings): May 30, 2006[5]
  7. Thomas Dimitroff (Atlanta Falcons): January 13, 2008
  8. John Schneider (Seattle Seahawks): January 19, 2010[6]
  9. Howie Roseman (Philadelphia Eagles): January 29, 2010
  10. John Elway (Denver Broncos): January 5, 2011[7]
  11. Les Snead (St. Louis Rams): February 10, 2012
  12. David Caldwell (Jacksonville Jaguars): January 8, 2013
  13. Steve Keim (Arizona Cardinals): January 8, 2013
  14. Tom Telesco (San Diego Chargers): January 9, 2013
  15. Jason Licht (Tampa Bay Buccaneers): January 21, 2014
  16. Ryan Pace (Chicago Bears): January 8, 2015
  17. Chris Grier (Miami Dolphins): January 4, 2016
  18. Bob Quinn (Detroit Lions): January 8, 2016
  19. Jon Robinson (Tennessee Titans): January 14, 2016
  20. John Lynch (San Francisco 49ers): January 29, 2017
  21. Chris Ballard (Indianapolis Colts): January 30, 2017
  22. Brandon Beane (Buffalo Bills): May 9, 2017
  23. Brett Veach (Kansas City Chiefs): July 11, 2017
  24. Marty Hurney (Carolina Panthers): July 19, 2017
  25. Dave Gettleman (New York Giants): December 28, 2017
  26. Brian Gutekunst (Green Bay Packers): January 7, 2018
  27. Mike Mayock (Oakland Raiders): December 31, 2018
  28. Joe Douglas (New York Jets): June 7, 2019
  29. Eric DeCosta (Baltimore Ravens): January 7, 2019[8]
  30. Ron Rivera (Washington Redskins): January 1, 2020[9]
  31. Andrew Berry (Cleveland Browns): January 27, 2020
  32. Bill O’Brien (Houston Texans): January 28, 2020

Footnotes:

  1. Jones has been the Cowboys’ de facto general manager since former GM Tex Schramm resigned in April 1989.
  2. Brown has been the Bengals’ de facto GM since taking over as the team’s owner in August 1991.
  3. Belichick has been the Patriots’ de facto GM since shortly after being hired as the team’s head coach in January 2000.
  4. Colbert was initially hired as the team’s director of football operations and received the newly-created general manager title in 2011.
  5. Spielman was initially hired as the team’s VP of player personnel and received the GM title in 2012.
  6. While Schneider holds the title of GM, head coach Pete Carroll has the final say on roster moves for the Seahawks.
  7. Elway was initially hired as the team’s executive VP of football operations and received the GM title in 2014.
  8. In 2018, the Ravens announced that DeCosta would replace Ozzie Newsome as GM for Ozzie Newsome after the conclusion of the season. The Ravens’ ’18 season ended with their Wild Card loss to the Chargers on 1/6/19.
  9. Technically, the Redskins do not have a GM, as of this writing. Rivera is, effectively, their GM, working in tandem with Vice President of Player Personnel Kyle Smith. Smith may receive the GM title in the near future.

Chiefs Viewed Rookie P As Class' Best

The Chiefs moved on from their longest-tenured player this offseason, jettisoning 15-year punter Dustin Colquitt. Although the team with Patrick Mahomes negotiations looming and Chris Jones attached to a franchise tag created cap space by cutting Colquitt, the defending Super Bowl champions also identified his potential successor in its UDFA class. Chiefs ST coordinator Dave Toub said (via the Kansas City Star’s Herbie Teope, on Twitter) he rated rookie UDFA punter Tommy Townsend as this draft class’ best punter. Twice a semifinalist for the Ray Guy award, Townsend punted at Florida after transferring from Tennessee. The Chiefs signed both Townsend and 2019 UDFA Tyler Newsome this offseason. Toub’s glowing assessment of Townsend almost certainly gives him a leg up in this competition.

  • Frank Clark played a role in bringing Taco Charlton to Kansas City, per Tom Pelissero of NFL.com (on Twitter). Charlton’s ex-teammate and roommate while at Michigan, Clark lobbied Chiefs DC Steve Spagnuolo in an effort to bring the former first-round pick to Kansas City. The Chiefs did not claim Charlton’s rookie contract but did add him at a cheaper rate. Charlton called his departure from Dallas and Miami “mutual,” according to Pelissero (via Twitter). Both teams waived the 2017 first-rounder, the Dolphins doing so despite Charlton leading the team in sacks last season with five. Charlton figures to fill a rotational role vacated by the exits of Emmanuel Ogbah and Terrell Suggs.
  • Despite Bashaud Breeland being arrested on several charges earlier this offseason, he has been part of the Chiefs’ virtual offseason since it began, Spagnuolo said (via NFL.com’s James Palmer, on Twitter). Re-signed on a one-year deal, Breeland will likely face a suspension for his arrest — which included the charge of resisting arrest.

Minor NFL Transactions: 5/18/20

We’ll keep track of today’s minor moves here:

Kansas City Chiefs

Spaight joined the Chiefs early on in 2019 as a reserve/future signing but retired abruptly last May. Now that KC released him from the reserve/retired list, he’ll be free to sign with another club, if that’s what he’s looking to do. A fifth-round pick of the Redskins back in 2015, Spaight suited up in 30 games before moving on to the Jaguars and Dolphins in 2018. His most productive season came in 2017 when he saw time in 15 games (including six starts) and tallied 75 stops.

Bills Say They Had No Interest In Sammy Watkins Reunion

Chiefs wide receiver Sammy Watkins recently told Tyler Dunne of Bleacher Report that the Bills tried to bring him back to Buffalo this past offseason. However, Bills GM Brandon Beane says that’s not true. 

That’s 100% false. We never spoke to Sammy Watkins or any of his representation about trading for him. Secondly, we never discussed him with anyone in our building that matters. End of discussion,” Beane said (Twitter link via Sal Capaccio of WGR 550).

The Bills did have wide receiver on the to-do list, but they checked that box in mid-March by trading for Vikings star Stefon Diggs. Even before that point, Beane says they did not want to get back into business with Watkins. The former No. 4 overall pick performed when he was healthy and on the field, but he played in just 37 of 48 possible regular season games, and he didn’t finish all of them. Watkins averaged 66 catches, 1,064 yards, and seven touchdowns per 16 games, but his rookie year (2014) marked his only full 16-game slate.

Meanwhile, Watkins tells Dunne that he was in a dark place during his time in Buffalo.

I would go out and get wasted. Wasted, wasted,” Watkins said. “I just went into a shell where I blocked out the world. I was down. Real bad. Everything around me was bad…I went home into that dark place and was like: ‘F—.’ My whole life is in shambles.'”

Fortunately, Watkins feels at home with the defending world champs. This offseason, he renegotiated his contract to rejoin the Chiefs for one more year with a base salary of $9MM. The deal also includes a no-trade clause, so any teams that are interested in Watkins during the year will need his approval in order to trade for him.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Longest-Tenured Head Coaches In The NFL

Things move fast in today’s NFL and the old adage of “coaches are hired to be fired” has seemingly never been more true. For the most part, teams change their coaches like they change their underwear. 

A head coach can take his team to the Super Bowl, or win the Super Bowl, or win multiple Super Bowls, but they’re never immune to scrutiny. Just ask Tom Coughlin, who captured his second ring with the Giants after the 2011 season, only to receive his pink slip after the 2015 campaign.

There are also exceptions. Just look at Bill Belichick, who just wrapped up his 20th season at the helm in New England. You’ll also see a few others on this list, but, for the most part, most of today’s NFL head coaches are relatively new to their respective clubs. And, history dictates that many of them will be elsewhere when we check in on this list in 2022.

Over one-third (12) of the NFL’s head coaches have coached no more than one season with their respective teams. Meanwhile, less than half (15) have been with their current clubs for more than three years. It seems like just yesterday that the Cardinals hired Kliff Kingsbury, right? It sort of was – Kingsbury signed on with the Cardinals in January of 2019. Today, he’s practically a veteran.

Here’s the list of the current head coaches in the NFL, ordered by tenure, along with their respective start dates:

  1. Bill Belichick (New England Patriots): January 27, 2000
  2. Sean Payton (New Orleans Saints): January 18, 2006
  3. Mike Tomlin (Pittsburgh Steelers): January 27, 2007
  4. John Harbaugh (Baltimore Ravens): January 19, 2008
  5. Pete Carroll (Seattle Seahawks): January 9, 2010
  6. Andy Reid (Kansas City Chiefs): January 4, 2013
  7. Bill O’Brien (Houston Texans): January 2, 2014
  8. Mike Zimmer (Minnesota Vikings): January 15, 2014
  9. Dan Quinn (Atlanta Falcons): February 2, 2015
  10. Doug Pederson (Philadelphia Eagles): January 18, 2016
  11. Sean McDermott (Buffalo Bills): January 11, 2017
  12. Doug Marrone (Jacksonville Jaguars): December 19, 2016 (interim; permanent since 2017)
  13. Anthony Lynn (Los Angeles Chargers): January 12, 2017
  14. Sean McVay (Los Angeles Rams): January 12, 2017
  15. Kyle Shanahan (San Francisco 49ers): February 6, 2017
  16. Matt Nagy (Chicago Bears): January 7, 2018
  17. Matt Patricia (Detroit Lions): February 5, 2018
  18. Frank Reich (Indianapolis Colts): February 11, 2018
  19. Jon Gruden (Las Vegas Raiders): January 6, 2018
  20. Mike Vrabel (Tennessee Titans): January 20, 2018
  21. Kliff Kingsbury (Arizona Cardinals): January 8, 2019
  22. Zac Taylor (Cincinnati Bengals): February 4, 2019
  23. Vic Fangio (Denver Broncos): January 10, 2019
  24. Matt LaFleur (Green Bay Packers): January 8, 2019
  25. Brian Flores (Miami Dolphins): February 4, 2019
  26. Adam Gase (New York Jets): January 11, 2019
  27. Bruce Arians (Tampa Bay Buccaneers): January 8, 2019
  28. Ron Rivera (Washington Redskins): January 1, 2020
  29. Matt Rhule (Carolina Panthers): January 7, 2020
  30. Mike McCarthy (Dallas Cowboys): January 7, 2020
  31. Joe Judge (New York Giants): January 8, 2020
  32. Kevin Stefanski (Cleveland Browns): January 13, 2020

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.