Patrick Mahomes

Chiefs GM Brett Veach On Mahomes, OL, Watkins

The Chiefs are coming off a very disappointing Super Bowl loss, and although they’re coming off back to back AFC titles, they know they’ve got some work to do this offseason. GM Brett Veach met with the media on Monday, and dished on what lies ahead.

Perhaps most notably, Veach provided an update on Patrick Mahomes. Everything appears to have gone smoothly with Mahomes’ foot surgery, as the GM said he’ll definitely be ready for training camp and the team is hoping he can participate in mandatory minicamp in June. Mahomes was hobbled down the stretch, but it doesn’t sound like this is going to be an issue of much importance for 2021.

Kansas City’s offensive line (deservedly so) took a lot of blame for the Super Bowl loss, and Veach acknowledged it’s a priority. He highlighted the two COVID-19 opt-outs the team had on the O-line, as well as the loss of left tackle Eric Fisher in the AFC Championship Game, but made it clear the team wasn’t going to stand pat.

“From the offset here, the draft looks to be really talented on the offensive line. So I think it’ll be a combination of what we have in-house and blending that in with some new talent. Potentially in free agency and potentially in the draft,” Veach said, via Charles Goldman of the Chiefs Wire.

Speaking of the offensive line, Veach said that right tackle Mitchell Schwartz, who was limited to six games in 2020, had disk surgery on his back and the team is hopeful he’ll be ready for training camp as well. He said the same thing about Fisher, although that might be a bit of a reach considering he’s coming off a torn Achilles at 30.

Finally, Veach talked about the receiving corp and specifically Sammy Watkins. He said it would take more work than it did last year to bring Watkins back, which could be GM-speak for the team being likely to move on. Veach said the team feels good about Tyreek Hill, Mecole Hardman, and Byron Pringle and that “I can’t see us running out of the gates in the first week of free agency and signing a receiver,” via Sam McDowell of the Kansas City Star (Twitter link).

The last we heard was right before the Super Bowl, when there was apparently mutual interest between Watkins and the Chiefs in sticking together, but it sounds like it might be an uphill battle to get it to work financially. Watkins took a pay-cut last April to stay with the team for 2020.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

The Only NFL Players With No-Trade Clauses

It’s fairly common for disgruntled NFL players to give their teams a short list of acceptable trade destinations. However, it’s still quite rare for players to hold contractual veto power over a trade. Currently, there are only nine NFL players with a no-trade clause in their deals, as ESPN.com’s Field Yates tweets

▪️ Drew Brees, QB (Saints)
▪️ Laurent Duvernay-Tardif, OL (Chiefs)
▪️ Jimmy Garoppolo, QB (49ers)
▪️ Jimmy Graham, TE (Bears)
▪️ DeAndre Hopkins, WR (Cardinals)
▪️ Patrick Mahomes, QB (Chiefs)
▪️ Deshaun Watson, QB (Texans)
▪️ J.J. Watt, DL (Cardinals)
▪️ Russell Wilson, QB (Seahawks)

The Chiefs, who represent 25% of the list, furnished LDT with a NTC as a part of his contract restructure. Historically, there haven’t been many offensive lineman to secure the clause. However, Duvernay-Tardif had a bit of leverage in 2020 when the Chiefs needed extra cap room. He was scheduled to count for nearly $9MM, $6.45MM of which was comprised of base salary. Instead, he converted some of that money into a signing bonus over the remaining three years and came away with a perk typically reserved for quarterbacks.

Watson and Wilson are among the QBs who can block trades. They’re both putting it to use, albeit in different ways. Watson wants out — even after finally meeting with new head coach David Culley – and he’s steering himself towards a small group of teams, including the Dolphins and Panthers. Wilson, meanwhile, says that he doesn’t want to get traded and doesn’t expect to get traded. But, if the Seahawks do shop him, he wouldn’t mind joining up with the Bears, Cowboys, Saints or Raiders. In beating out several other teams for Watt, the Cardinals included the clause in the star defender’s contract.

Russell Wilson Not Expecting To Be Traded; QB Clashing With Pete Carroll?

The Seahawks have run into a seminal issue with their franchise quarterback, with trade destinations coming out Thursday. At this point, Russell Wilson does not expect the Seahawks to trade him, Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com tweets, though multiple NFL executives believe the team will make the decorated quarterback available.

This rift between Wilson and the team stems from several factors. A central component in Wilson’s frustration is Pete Carroll‘s insistence on an offense that features the run more than most NFL attacks do, and The Athletic’s Michael-Shawn Dugar, Mike Sando and Jayson Jenks report Wilson and Carroll have clashed over the past several months on both the Seahawks’ philosophy and personnel (subscription required).

Following a midseason stretch that featured seven Wilson turnovers in two losses, the Seahawks reverted to a more balanced offense. They then finished the regular season with wins in six of their final seven games to post a 12-4 record — the team’s best mark since 2014. Prior to the turnaround, however, Seahawks coaches dismissed Wilson’s ideas for how to repair a suddenly ailing offense, according to The Athletic. This led to Wilson storming out of a meeting.

Wilson fell well off the MVP pace on which he started the season, after he threw 26 touchdown passes in Seattle’s first seven games, and closed the year with an 11-for-27 performance against the Rams in a wild-card loss. After the season, Wilson expressed dissatisfaction with the Seahawks’ offensive line plan publicly. But that came after the nine-year veteran went to Carroll on this matter — one that had bothered him for years. Carroll’s insufficient response to Wilson’s O-line-related concerns, in the 32-year-old passer’s eyes set off the public commentary that has led to trade rumors, per The Athletic.

The Seahawks have not put a tremendous amount of resources into their offensive line in recent years, and Wilson has taken 394 sacks — the most by any quarterback through his first nine seasons. QBs, of course, bear responsibility for sacks alongside offensive linemen.

Past flirtations with trades or other quarterbacks have pushed this situation to this point as well. The Seahawks’ trade talks with the Browns in 2018 — however brief they were — led to Wilson’s 2019 extension containing a no-trade clause. GM John Schneider being on-hand for Josh Allen‘s pro day factored into Wilson’s situation as well, and The Athletic adds that Schneider’s fascination with Patrick Mahomes would have led to the Seahawks taking him had he fallen to them at No. 26 — an unrealistic scenario based on the future MVP’s pre-draft rise — in the 2017 draft. The Cardinals and Saints were prepared to draft Mahomes ahead of the Seahawks.

Beyond the four teams that Wilson’s agent mentioned today as trade destinations his client would approve — the Bears, Cowboys, Saints and Raiders — The Athletic’s report indicated Wilson’s camp discussed trades to the Dolphins and Jets with the Seahawks. Considering both teams’ draft capital and their respective links to Deshaun Watson, it makes sense they would be connected to Wilson as well. It is certainly notable that they were omitted in Mark Rodgers’ Thursday comments, however. The Seahawks have yet to approach Wilson about any potential trades, Fowler notes.

Wilson’s $35MM-per-year contract runs through the 2023 season. It would tag the Seahawks a record $39MM in dead money were they to trade Wilson before June 1, per Spotrac (on Twitter), with a post-June 1 trade defraying $26MM of the hit to 2022. To avoid such a scenario becoming the lead trade in a seismic offseason for quarterback movement, the Seahawks and Wilson may have some fence-mending to do in the coming weeks.

Patrick Mahomes Expected To Undergo Foot Surgery

Patrick Mahomes was visibly hobbled during last night’s Super Bowl loss, and it sounds like his turf toe injury will result in surgery. Before the game, NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport reported (via Twitter) that the quarterback was likely to go under the knife once the season ended.

Rapoport noted that Mahomes will first meet with a foot specialist before determining how he should proceed, but he’s expected to undergo surgery to repair the issue for the “long term.” The surgery would require a “multi-month” recovery process that would likely knock Mahomes out for much of the spring. Rapoport estimates that that the 25-year-old will be fully recovered by the start of training camp.

The injury has been lingering since the Chiefs playoff win over the Browns. Mahomes was still able to toss three touchdowns in the AFC Championship against the Bills, and the quarterback pointed to that performance when he was asked if injuries were to blame for his performance yesterday.

“I can’t say the toe was a problem when I played two weeks ago and I played well on it,Mahomes said. “If you’re playing football, you have to battle through injuries. We’ll look at it tomorrow and make a final decision on it if we’re going to have to have surgery on it or not.”

Still, the injury sounds like it may have been more significant than Mahomes let on. A source told Rapoport that “it’s amazing how good [Mahome’s] looked considering the issue.”

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Patrick Mahomes Clears Concussion Protocol

Jan. 22, 2:00pm: Mahomes has cleared the concussion protocol, as the star QB announced to reporters this afternoon. Players who are in the protocol don’t meet with the media, so the fact that Mahomes had press availability suggested that he had been given the all-clear, and that is indeed the case. With that, the much-anticipated showdown between Mahomes’ Chiefs and Josh Allen‘s Bills will have its headliners.

Jan. 20, 3:28pm: The Chiefs listed Mahomes as limited in today’s practice, though Mike Garafolo of NFL.com notes this was more of an estimation on his status since the team partook in a light workout overall (Twitter link). But had Kansas City gone through a full practice, its all-world quarterback would have been limited. Reid said Mahomes has yet to be cleared for full contact work, per the Washington Post’s Mark Maske (on Twitter). This points to Thursday being a pivotal day for Mahomes, who is in the final stages of the concussion protocol.

Jan. 20, 10:31am: Patrick Mahomes will practice on Wednesday, but he’ll be taking it easy, as NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport tweets. The Chiefs quarterback remains in the NFL’s concussion protocol but plans to slowly ramp things up over the course of the week.

Fortunately, Mahomes is symptom-free after taking an ill-fated hard hit against the Browns. Mahomes was left dazed in the third quarter, forcing him out of the game in favor of Chad Henne. Henne had never thrown a postseason pass before — he went on to record his first ever playoff victory.

At this point, Mahomes is on track to be cleared in time for Sunday’s AFC Championship Game. Still, there are hurdles to clear. Per the league’s protocol, the QB must go through five steps; his light Wednesday workout is part of step No. 4. After going through a full practice, Mahomes will need the green light from team doctors and an independent neurologist.

So listen, I just leave that with [team trainer] Rick [Burkholder] and the docs,” head coach Andy Reid said earlier this week. “Because of the protocol, it’s a no-brainer from the coach’s standpoint. You don’t have to think about it, you just have to make sure you go forward and have an answer if he’s there and an answer if he’s not there. I can’t tell you from a medical standpoint where he’s at. I mean, I don’t know that. That’s their decision and I just follow it.”

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Latest On Patrick Mahomes’ Injuries

While Patrick Mahomes must continue to clear hurdles in order to suit up for his third AFC championship game, the Chiefs continue to express optimism the former MVP and Super Bowl MVP will do so.

Mahomes cleared the necessary steps in concussion protocol Monday but remains in the protocol as of Tuesday. And he is indeed dealing with foot trouble as well, Adam Schefter of ESPN.com notes (Twitter links). The fourth-year quarterback appeared to be hobbling prior to his second-half concussion and will be battling multiple issues in order to face the Bills.

Mahomes is expected to practice Wednesday, though returning to workouts does not mean a player has completed the five-step protocol. Participation in light workouts, however, is the fourth phase of this process, with full practices being the final step. Chiefs doctors and an independent neurologist must clear Mahomes to play against the Bills.

Kansas City managed to beat a playoff-bound Minnesota team without Mahomes last season and held off Cleveland with Chad Henne at the controls. However, the Bills having won eight straight games — were it not for DeAndre Hopkins‘ miracle game-winner, said streak would be at 12 since Buffalo’s Week 6 loss to Kansas City — would make for an incredibly difficult Chiefs task without Mahomes. The superstar passer has missed just two games due to injury in his career.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Patrick Mahomes Out For Game With Concussion

Bad news to pass along, as Patrick Mahomes has been ruled out for the rest of the Chiefs’ divisional round game against the Browns with a concussion.

Mahomes got hit hard on an option play late in the third quarter, and appeared to be woozy while getting up. He was quickly whisked back to the locker room, and now has been ruled out after not too long. That means Kansas City will be riding Chad Henne, who had never thrown a playoff pass entering today, for the rest of the game. It’s an incredibly unfortunate turn, as obviously Mahomes’ importance can’t be overstated.

It’s not like Henne will be able to cruise either, since as of this publishing the Browns had just scored a touchdown to cut the Chiefs’ lead to just five. If Kansas City is able to hold on, hopefully Mahomes will be able to get cleared in time for next Sunday’s AFC Championship Game.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Jets Notes: Darnold, 2017 Draft, Gase, Maye

Some rare good news for the Jets. NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport reports (via Twitter) that quarterback Sam Darnold‘s precautionary MRI of his right shoulder only showed a “reaggravation.” The 23-year-old will attempt to work through the injury and won’t be sidelined.

Darnold initially suffered the shoulder injury during the Jets’ Week 4 loss to the Broncos, and that forced Joe Flacco into the lineup for Week 5. Darnold returned under center for the past two games, but he’s only completed 56.6-percent of his passes for 253 yards and two interceptions. Prior to the injury, Darnold completed 59.42-percent of his passes for 792 yards, three scores, and four interceptions.

Darnold has missed eight games through his three NFL seasons. If he’s forced to miss more time, the team could either turn to Flacco, third-stringer James Morgan, or practice squad signal-caller Mike White.

Some more notes out of the Big Apple:

  • Prior to the Jets loss to the Chiefs yesterday, ESPN’s Rich Cimini gave the “inside story” of why the organization passed on future MVP and champion Patrick Mahomes during the 2017 draft. There were a variety of reasons that went into the decision: the Jets had already invested in Josh McCown as their bridge quarterback, there was still some optimism that Christian Hackenberg could work out, former GM Mike Maccagnan already had his eye on the 2018 quarterbacks class (including Darnold), and the organization was much more infatuated with their eventual pick, safety Jamal Adams. Still, prior to the draft, Mahomes thought he could end up in New York. “I definitely thought there was interest there,” Mahomes said. “Whenever you go on those visits, you know they’re pretty interested in doing their due diligence. I definitely thought there was interest there.”
  • While we’ve heard a similar sentiment throughout the past few weeks, Ralph Vacchiano of SNY reiterates that the Jets aren’t expected to fire head coach Adam Gase midseason. “They really don’t want to do it,” a source told Vacchiano. “They may have to, at some point. But they know a midseason coaching change doesn’t change their situation. I think they’re going to hold off as long as they can.” Vacchiano provided a variety of reasons why it makes sense for the Jets to hold on to Gase, including the fact that the head coach serves as a “lightning rod” while distracting from general manager Joe Douglas‘ shaky first season with the organization.
  • Safety Marcus Maye‘s rookie contract is set to come to an end, and Cimini believes he could be eyeing a contract that will pay him around $7MM per season. As a result, Cimini reports that rival teams believe the 27-year-old could be had as part of the team’s fire sale. The reporter had a similar sentiment about Bradley McDougald, although the impending free agent safety has since landed on IR.
  • In the same article, Cimini passes along an anecdote from 2018, when the Jets “boxed” out the QB-needy Bills by moving from No. 6 to No. 3 in a deal with the Colts. The move allowed the Jets to select Darnold, who was Buffalo’s top-rated QB. In fact, the Bills were so displeased with the deal, they refused to negotiate with Indy for the remainder of the draft. Buffalo ended up trading up from No. 11 to No. 7, and they proceeded to select Josh Allen.

Latest On Chiefs’ Extensions

Although the Rams once cut Kurt Warner less than three years after he won the second of his two MVP awards, the notion of the Chiefs releasing Patrick Mahomes down the road sounds insane. But the contract categorized by some as team-friendly offers Mahomes extensive protection against a release for the foreseeable future.

The 10-year, $450MM deal — which ties Mahomes to the Chiefs through 2031 — contains lucrative buyout numbers, with Albert Breer of SI.com relaying that even as late as 2024, it would cost the Chiefs an astounding $78.4MM to get out of the contract. A year later, the buyout number still comes in north of $40MM — at $41.95MM, per Breer.

While Mahomes’ record re-up does not lead the league in fully guaranteed money, these buyout numbers and the roster bonus structure do not put the 24-year-old superstar in much danger of missing out on money owed — as long as he’s attached to this extension.

Mahomes may have set the market, but Ian Rapoport notes that Deshaun Watson is expected to seek a shorter-term deal in order to maximize his value (video link). A four-year deal would give the Texans quarterback a good chance to sign another extension before he turns 30. Although Mahomes’ contract features unprecedented security on the back end of his deal, Joel Corry of CBS Sports envisions the lower-end (by franchise-QB standards) payouts early in the contract will not make other passers want to sign similarly structured extensions. Both Jared Goff ($84MM) and Carson Wentz ($81MM) will out-earn Mahomes ($63MM) over the first three years of their respective deals.

Mahomes’ 10-year agreement undoubtedly helped the Chiefs extend Chris Jones on Tuesday. Kansas City’s dominant defensive tackle signed a four-year, $80MM pact, with negotiations ramping up after Mahomes’ deal was finalized. Jones received $37.6MM fully guaranteed; that will be due by March 2021. Through two years of the deal, Jones will have pocketed $55.75MM, Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk notes. The $5MM in incentives are $1.25MM-per-year, sack-based escalators, Florio adds.

Kansas City became the first team to give two defensive linemen — Jones and Frank Clark — $20MM-AAV deals. Of the Chiefs’ three $20MM-per-year players, Jones was the only one to negotiate a four-year contract. This would make him eligible to hit the market before he turns 30.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Latest On Patrick Mahomes’ Record Extension

The Chiefs have their quarterback signed to an unprecedented contract, with the 10-year, $450MM deal — which could be worth up to $503MM — tying him to the team through the 2031 season. Mahomes is the only current NFLer signed beyond 2026. Here is the latest on the deal:

  • Although Patrick Mahomes‘ contract contains just $63MM fully guaranteed — fifth among quarterbacks, and more than $30MM behind Matt Ryan‘s record number — that number will bump up to $106MM by March, NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport tweets. By March 2022, that number spikes to $141MM. By March 2023, it rises to $180MM (Twitter links via ex-GM Mike Tannenbaum and veteran NFL reporter Jason Cole).
  • Beginning in 2022, Mahomes has incentives tied to MVPs and AFC titles. Although those are quite difficult to come by, the 24-year-old superstar already has two such accomplishments. Every Mahomes MVP or Super Bowl appearance will trigger a $1.25MM bonus, Adam Schefter of ESPN.com tweets. That totals $25MM and vaults the contract to the $503MM figure.
  • Mahomes’ camp gave in a bit on signing bonus money but secured massive roster bonus payouts, Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com tweets. The “guarantee mechanisms” will generate roster bonuses north of $30MM from 2023-28. This structure peaks with a monster $49MM bonus payout in 2027, according to OverTheCap. As for cap hits, Mahomes’ numbers do not become gigantic until 2022. This year, Mahomes will count barely $5MM toward the Chiefs’ cap; in 2021, that number jumps to $24.8MM. After a $31MM hit in 2022, the quarterback will count at least $39MM toward Kansas City’s cap in the deal’s final nine seasons. This peaks with two $50MM-plus cap years in 2030-31, though the sides could naturally be expected to have a new deal in place by then.
  • Citing the shocking number of years Mahomes gave up to get to a $45MM-AAV number, Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk writes the quarterback would have done better by waiting and securing a shorter-term deal. “It’s like he had no leverage,” an NFL source indicated to Florio regarding Mahomes’ deal. Mahomes will have security amid an uncertain financial time for the NFL, which could see its projected growth fail to materialize for a while. But if Deshaun Watson and Lamar Jackson opt for extensions that allow them the chance to re-sign while still in their 20s, both can be expected to surpass Mahomes’ $45MM number midway through the Chief’s deal.
  • Watson and Jackson can be expected to top $40MM per year, Michael Lombardi of The Athletic writes (subscription required), adding that Dak Prescott‘s agent (Todd France) will argue his client should be paid $40MM annually. The Cowboys are not believed to have offered their franchise-tagged quarterback more than $33MM per year. The Texans, however, were linked to a $40MM-plus-AAV Watson deal before Mahomes signed.