Travis Kelce

AFC West Notes: Chargers, Broncos, Kelce

Jim Harbaugh talked up ex-Michigan pupil J.J. McCarthy extensively before the draft — potentially leading to the unexpected Justin Herbert trade inquiries — but the latter’s prospect status affected the Chargers‘ plans. Drake Maye going off the board at No. 3 stonewalled Chargers hopes of trading down from No. 5 overall, according to’s Jeremy Fowler. Maye prompted the Giants and Vikings to propose the Patriots deals involving 2025 first-rounders. The Vikings spoke with the Chargers, but it is clear McCarthy did not drive interest the way Maye did. A trade from No. 11 to No. 5 would have cost the Vikings, who memorably interviewed Harbaugh in 2022, a future first-rounder. No major interest in the pick led to the Bolts staying at 5 and choosing Joe Alt, who is set to begin work at right tackle in Los Angeles.

Here is the latest from the AFC West:

  • Staying with the Chargers, they will have both their Ravens RB imports at full strength during the offseason program. Following his second major injury — an Achilles tear sustained in Week 1J.K. Dobbins deemed himself “100%.” “I’m 100% now,” Dobbins said, via’s Cameron Wolfe. “It was like a walk in the park, it was like a sprained ankle. It was very easy, because I had the knee [injury] — the knee was pretty hard. The Achilles was, I would say, easy, just because that’s my mentality. Got the injury-prone [label] out there, but I think that the storm is over with. I think that I’m going to take off now. There will be no setbacks.” The past injuries limited Dobbins in free agency; he signed a one-year, $1.6MM deal that comes with just $50K guaranteed. Gus Edwards landed a two-year, $6.5MM pact to rejoin Greg Roman in L.A.
  • After Sean Payton — upon the Broncos trading Jerry Jeudy — made it clear he wants an expanded Marvin Mims role on offense,’s Jeff Legwold notes the second-year Denver HC drove the effort to draft Troy Franklin near the top of the fourth round. Payton texted Broncos GM George Paton before the fourth round about wanting to move up toward the top of the board to draft Franklin, whom the Broncos had Franklin graded much higher than his ultimate draft slot (No. 102). The Broncos traded Nos. 121, 136 and 207 to move up (via the Seahawks) for Bo Nix‘s top Ducks target. The Broncos still roster Courtland Sutton, though teams have called about a trade for the somewhat disgruntled wideout, but the team has now added a host of WRs — Mims, Franklin and Josh Reynolds chief among them — under Payton. Sutton and Tim Patrick remain from the John Elway GM era.
  • Broncos third-round pick Jonah Elliss underwent shoulder surgery late last year, but the Denver Gazette’s Chris Tomasson notes the Utah alum has been cleared. Denver returns its top three edge rushers from last season (Nik Bonitto, Baron Browning, Jonathon Cooper), but Browning and Cooper are in contract years. Jonah Elliss, the latest son of ex-Bronco DT Luther Elliss to enter the NFL, will likely mix in as a rotational OLB to start his pro career.
  • The Chiefs signed off on a straight-up raise for Travis Kelce, as no new years are included in the superstar tight end’s latest deal. The future Hall of Famer remains signed through 2025, and’s Albert Breer notes no void years were added for cap purposes. The re-up increased Kelce’s 2024 cap number from $15.6MM to $19.6MM, per OverTheCap. Kelce’s 2025 cap number checks in at $19.8MM; the bulk of the 34-year-old pass catcher’s 2025 salary will become guaranteed on day 3 of the 2025 league year.
  • The Paton-Payton duo made a recent staff addition as well. Joey DiCresce will move from intern to full-time football data scientist with the Broncos,’s Seth Walder tweets.

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).

[RELATED: Details On Chiefs’ Landmark Chris Jones Deal]

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.

Chiefs, TE Travis Kelce Agree To Deal

The Chiefs have kept their decision-making nucleus in place for years to come, and the same is also true of All-Pro tight end Travis Kelce. The latter has agreed to a two-year extension, Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reports. The team has since announced the move.

This deal will make Kelce the league’s highest-paid tight end, Rapoport adds. That comes as little surprise considering the success Kelce has had in recent years and the pivotal role he has played in Kansas City’s three Super Bowl titles across the past four seasons. The future Hall of Famer is now on the books through 2027.

Rapoport’s colleague Tom Pelissero notes Kelce will receive $34.25MM in new money tacked onto the two years which were in place on his previous pact. Guaranteed compensation is now in place for 2024, and Pelissero notes year-over-year vesting will lock in money for future years.

In terms of annual compensation, Darren Waller entered this offseason atop the tight end pecking order ($17MM). This new Kelce deal will surpass that mark, meaning he will receive a raise compared to the remainder of his existing contract. That deal carried an AAV of just over $14.3MM, which ranked fourth at the position. The 34-year-old was due $13MM in 2024 and $17.25MM the following year, but his remaining base salaries those seasons were not guaranteed.

Kelce was inactive for the Chiefs’ regular season finale in 2023, and that left him just short of the 1,000-yard mark for the campaign. That ended a streak of reaching 1,000 or more yards in seven straight seasons, but it still yielded a ninth consecutive Pro Bowl nod. The Cincinnati product has added four first-team All-Pro nods and a place on the 2010s All-Decade team list to his decorated resume.

Of course, Kelce’s significance to the Chiefs’ title-winning teams will be a major aspect of his legacy. The former third-rounder is one of only three players in NFL history to lead a Super Bowl champion in receiving yards three times (the other two being Jerry Rice and Michael Irvin). Kelce will be counted on as Patrick Mahomes‘ top target for years to come.

Kansas City dealt with inconsistencies in the receiving corps during the 2023 season, and many of the team’s top WR options are still in the fold. Rashee Rice faces a potential suspension, and the likes of Kadarius Toney, Skyy Moore and Justin Watson have not lived up to expectations so far. The Chiefs signed Marquise Brown in free agency and selected Xavier Worthy in the first round of the draft, but Kelce is by far the most known commodity in the team’s skill position room.

Concerns about the latter’s age will likely be raised with this new pact, one which runs counter to his previous stance regarding being paid below market value. Kelce made it clear during the postseason that retirement is not on his mind, though, and this agreement confirms he will be in place for years to come. As such, the foundational elements of Kansas City’s success are set to return for the 2024 campaign and beyond.

Chiefs HC Andy Reid To Return In 2024

FEBRUARY 12: When speaking after Sunday’s victory, Reid confirmed he will indeed remain in place for 2024. As he foreshadowed last month, tight end Travis Kelce also stated he will play a 12th campaign in Kansas City, which comes as little surprise. Reid, Kelce and Co. are certainly well-positioned to contend for a third straight Super Bowl next season as they aim to continue building their respective legacies.

FEBRUARY 11: Andy Reid retirement rumors are becoming something of an annual tradition. Prior to Super Bowl LVII last February, the Chiefs’ head coach was non-committal about his future, and we heard just last month that the team had a potential Reid retirement on its radar.

However, ESPN’s Dan Graziano’s sources say they would be surprised if Reid walked away (subscription required). Now 65, Reid said in July 2020 that he would be open to coaching into his 70s, and at that time, quarterback Patrick Mahomes said Reid told him that he plans on remaining with KC for the duration of Mahomes’ thru-2031 contract.

In July 2020, Reid and Mahomes were coming off their first AFC championship and first Super Bowl victory. Since then, they have won three more AFC titles and one more Lombardi Trophy, and they will have the chance to secure their third Super Bowl ring today. Their run to Super Bowl LVIII has been perhaps their most impressive championship pursuit yet, as the offense rarely looked like its usual explosive self throughout the 2023 regular season. A top-flight defense, coupled with just enough flashes of brilliance from Mahomes — who muddled through the worst statistical season of his career — was ultimately enough to will the Chiefs to yet another title game.

Graziano does expect the Chiefs to address their HC’s contract this offseason. The belief is that Reid is presently earning $12MM per year, while AFC West rivals Sean Payton and Jim Harbaugh earn (or will earn) salaries of $17MM and $16MM, respectively. Given Reid’s tremendous success during his Kansas City tenure — he has a 128-51 regular season record and a 15-7 playoff mark to go along with his two Super Bowl wins — it stands to reason that he should not be the third-highest-paid coach in his own division.

Of course, when Reid joined the Chiefs in 2013, he did so with a reputation as an offensive mastermind and a terrific head coach who was perhaps not quite good enough to win a championship. During his stint as the Eagles’ HC from 1999-2012, Reid guided Philadelphia to the NFC championship five times but advanced to the Super Bowl just once, and that appearance ended with a difficult loss to the Patriots. After his club failed to qualify for the playoffs at all in 2011 and 2012, Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie had run out of patience, as Jeff McLane of the Philadelphia Inquirer recalls.

Reid’s contract with Philadelphia was not renewed following the 2012 campaign, but if he had stayed, Reid likely would have been forced to cede his personnel authority to Howie Roseman, who had become the club’s general manager several years prior. Obviously, the change of scenery (along with the drafting of Mahomes) ultimately proved to be the right call for Reid, though the Eagles — who won their first Super Bowl at the end of the 2017 season and who nearly toppled Reid’s Chiefs in Super Bowl LVII last year — also found some success in their post-Reid era.

Chiefs TE Travis Kelce: ‘I Have No Reason To Stop Playing’

Tonight’s wild-card game marks another opportunity for the Chiefs to continue building their track record of success established during the Patrick Mahomes era. Tight end Travis Kelce has of course been a major part of the team’s Super Bowl runs, but questions have been raised about how much longer his decorated career will last.

The 34-year-old sat out Kansas City’s regular season finale, leaving him just shy of another 1,000-yard campaign. Kelce eclipsed that benchmark every year from 2016-22, picking up at least a Pro Bowl nod in each campaign along the way. He has also been named first-team All-Pro four times in his career, one which includes a pair of championships. When speaking in advance of the team’s latest postseason beginning, though, he made it clear he intends to continue for the foreseeable future.

“I have no reason to stop playing football, man,” Kelce said, via Nick Wagner of the Kansas City Star (video link). “I love it. We still have success. Come in with the right mindset, and I just love the challenge it gives me every single day to try and be at my best. Like I said, I have no desire to stop anytime soon.”

Kelce has two years remaining on his contract, and he is due $30.25MM over that span. As he acknowledged this summer, he is aware his compensation is lacking relative to many other high-profile pass catchers. However, he is in line to remain a focal point of the team’s offense for the time being with cap hits of roughly $15.5MM and $19.8MM over the next two years. Barring a significant injury, he will no doubt remain a welcomed member of the Chiefs given his sustained high level of productivity.

The former third-rounder currently ranks 38th on the NFL’s all-time receiving yards list, and fourth amongst active players. Kelce sits at 11,328 yards, putting him just shy of Antonio Gates for the third-most by a tight end. If he holds true to his intention of carrying on his career, he will continue to climb the leaderboards while providing Mahomes a consistent option in the passing game as Kanas City looks to add further silverware in the years to come.

Chris Jones, Travis Kelce To Play In Week 2

SEPTEMBER 15: After practicing during the week, Kelce will indeed take the field in Week 2, Reid confirmed on Friday (via Teicher). With both he and Jones in the fold, the Chiefs will be well-positioned to rebound from their season-opening performance as they look to repeat last year’s postseason win over the Jaguars.

While it was already known Jones would be in the lineup on Sunday, SI’s Albert Breer notes the team will monitor his workload closely. No pitch count is planned as of now, but after missing all of training camp, it will be interesting to see how much he will see the field in his return.

SEPTEMBER 13: Patrick Mahomes looks like he will have more help against the Jaguars than he did against the Lions. The Chiefs will have Travis Kelce back at practice Wednesday, marking a good step for the future Hall of Fame tight end.

Kelce will log a limited practice session today, which represents a positive sign for his prospects of suiting up in Jacksonville. Kelce missed Week 1 after suffering a hyperextended knee and a bone bruise during the Tuesday practice leading up to Kansas City’s Week 1 game against Detroit. Seeing as the Chiefs had not been without Kelce due to injury since 2013, his absence proved noticeable in a game in which both Mahomes and Kansas City’s inexperienced receiving corps struggled.

Andy Reid also confirmed (via ESPN’s Adam Teicher) Chris Jones will return to action against the Jags. The Chiefs reached a revised agreement with Jones to end his lengthy holdout. While Jones is not guaranteed to recoup what he lost by holding out and missing Week 1, an incentive package is present for the dominant defensive tackle.

Jones pushed his holdout longer than Zack Martin or Nick Bosa and did not achieve what he sought — an Aaron Donald-level extension. While he is a strong candidate to reach free agency, the Chiefs have not given up on an extension that would keep him in Missouri on a long-term third contract. The Chiefs having franchise-tagged Jones in 2020 would run his 2024 tag number past $32MM. For perspective, it cost the Commanders $18.94MM to tag D-tackle Daron Payne this year.

Although the Lions’ run game moving the chains on a Jones-less defensive front helped key the upset victory, the Chiefs’ passing attack became a bigger story. Kansas City won Super Bowl LVII after trading Tyreek Hill, but the team also relied on Kelce and, to a lesser extent, JuJu Smith-Schuster last season. Reid confirmed the Chiefs were not close to matching the Patriots’ three-year, $25.5MM Smith-Schuster offer, and while plans for Kadarius Toney as a WR1 existed early this offseason, the ex-Giants first-rounder has proven inconsistent at every turn since being drafted. The injury-prone wideout’s drops plagued the Chiefs in Week 1, with their other young receivers not moving the needle much during a sluggish opener. A first- or second-team All-Pro selection in seven straight years, Kelce returning will at least provide a sturdy safety net for Mahomes.

In other Chiefs news, they restructured veteran guard Joe Thuney‘s deal. The move, which ESPN’s Field Yates notes frees up $8.7MM in cap space, will make room for Jones’ $19.5MM base salary. Jones had resided on K.C.’s reserve/did not report list. Thuney, who signed a $16MM-per-year deal in 2021, is under contract through the 2025 season. The Chiefs will need to make a decision on the 31-year-old blocker by next year, when his cap number spikes to $26.97MM. Thuney will almost certainly not be brought back at that rate, pointing to another contract-related move coming.

Chiefs TE Travis Kelce To Miss Week 1

4:56pm: While Kelce pleaded with Andy Reid and trainer Rick Burkholder to go, the Chiefs will hold out their top skill player, per ESPN’s Ed Werder and’s Ian Rapoport. This will be Kelce’s first injury-induced absence since Week 17 of the 2013 season, but he is not expected to miss much time.

8:57am: In the unfamiliar position of having Travis Kelce uncertain for a game due to injury, the Chiefs are not ruling out their superstar tight end for Week 1 just yet. Though, the team exercising caution still looks like where this is headed.

The hyperextended knee and bone bruise Kelce suffered in practice Tuesday have him slated as a game-time decision for Thursday’s opener, Tom Pelissero of tweets. While the Chiefs will put Kelce through a workout,’s Ed Werder adds the 11th-year pass catcher is unlikely to play against the Lions. During a Good Morning Football appearance (via’s Ian Rapoport), Chiefs chairman Clark Hunt confirmed Kelce will be a game-time call.

[RELATED: Chris Jones, Chiefs Not Close To Deal]

Last season, the Chiefs did not play any games in which both Kelce and Chris Jones were not on the field. That makes tonight’s outlook quite unusual. Jones’ holdout persists; he remains on the team’s reserve/did not report list. For Kelce, this is a strang spot. Although the perennial All-Pro did need a near-full-season delay to begin his NFL career due to undergoing microfracture knee surgery in 2013, he has stayed remarkably healthy since.

Kelce, 33, has not missed a game due to injury since that 2013 season finale. The Chiefs rested Kelce in two season finales (2017 and 2020) and were without him in Week 16 of the 2021 season due to a COVID-19 contraction.

Not having Kelce would create an interesting game plan for the defending Super Bowl champions. Kansas City let JuJu Smith-Schuster and Mecole Hardman walk in free agency, and while the team chose to keep seven wide receivers on its 53-man roster, few answers have emerged regarding which players will see prominent roles. Marquez Valdes-Scantling and 2022 second-rounder Skyy Moore represent the best bets, but Kadarius Toney — a player the team wanted to rise into the WR1 role, before yet another injury took place — has recovered from July meniscus surgery and is on track to suit up. At tight end, the Chiefs have third-year backup Noah Gray (28 receptions for 299 yards last season) and the recently re-signed Blake Bell. Jody Fortson landed on season-ending IR in mid-August.

That said, Kelce will be nearly impossible for the Chiefs to replace. He is riding an unparalleled streak of seven consecutive 1,000-yard receiving seasons. While rules to open up passing attacks give modern-era wideouts and tight ends advantages, no other tight end has totaled more than four 1,000-yard years throughout a career. Kelce, who became an even more prominent piece after the Chiefs traded Tyreek Hill, finished last season with career-high numbers in receptions (110) and touchdowns (12) to go along with 1,338 yards.

Travis Kelce Dealing With Knee Injury; Kadarius Toney On Track For Week 1

SEPTEMBER 6: While Kelce is dealing with significant swelling, Rapoport indicates he suffered a bone bruise. Considering the range of outcomes possible in the wake of this knee injury, the Chiefs appear to have dodged a bullet here.

SEPTEMBER 5, 3:48pm: Kelce remains uncertain to play in Week 1, per Rapoport and’s Tom Pelissero, but this is not believed to be a serious knee injury. The Chiefs plan to wait for the swelling in the injured knee to subside before making a decision. Kelce’s ACL is intact, ESPN’s Adam Schefter adds. While it would not surprise to see the Chiefs exercise caution here given Kelce’s importance to the offense, it does not look like a long-term absence would be in the cards. Indeed,’s Albert Breer adds it is unlikely Kelce plays Thursday.

1:13pm: After missing nearly his entire rookie season due to a knee injury, Travis Kelce has become one of the NFL’s most durable players. But his status for Week 1 is suddenly in question.

Kelce suffered a hyperextended knee, per Andy Reid, and is not a lock to play in the Chiefs’ season opener. The injury occurred at practice Tuesday,’s Ian Rapoport tweets. The perennial All-Pro tight end has not missed a game due to injury since his 2013 rookie season.

On a better note for the defending Super Bowl champions, Kadarius Toney is practicing. Reid expects the injury-prone receiver to play against the Lions, ESPN’s Ed Werder tweets. Toney, who has battled a number of maladies since entering the league in 2021, missed several weeks after suffering a torn meniscus minutes into training camp. The Chiefs listed Toney and Kelce as limited practice participants.

Moving into Hall of Fame lock territory since pairing with Patrick Mahomes, Kelce did not truly begin his career until his age-25 season due to undergoing microfracture surgery during his rookie year. Unlike Jadeveon Clowney, who underwent the same procedure a year later, Kelce has not battled knee trouble in the seasons since. He has only missed three regular-season games — two due to Reid sitting starters in season finales, one due to COVID-19 — since returning in time for the 2014 opener.

Going into his age-34 season, Kelce has become one of the NFL’s all-time greats at tight end. He is riding a seven-year streak of 1,000-yard seasons; no other tight end has tallied more than four 1,000-yard years in total. The Chiefs relied on Kelce last season, trading Tyreek Hill and using a cast of lesser wide receivers, and got by in large part due to the receiving tight end’s consistency. Kelce set a new career high with 110 receptions, and his 1,338 yards approached his tight end-record 1,416 from 2020. It would obviously be quite the adjustment for the Chiefs to play without Kelce, considering their receiver makeup.

Toney represents a key part of that receiving group, but the Chiefs may look to limit the shifty wideout. Lower-body injuries have followed Toney from New York to Kansas City. Ankle, quad, oblique and knee trouble has plagued Toney, with an onslaught of hamstring issues – which at one point saw the talented youngster sidelined because of injuries to both legs – impeding his 2022 efforts. While Toney still recovered in time to make key contributions in Super Bowl LVII, his track record has reached the point he might not be able to handle a full receiver workload.

The Chiefs kept seven wide receivers on their active roster, adding to the uncertainty at the position following the free agency exits of JuJu Smith-Schuster and Mecole Hardman. Marquez Valdes-Scantling is the only proven option left at receiver for the Chiefs, though GM Brett Veach said 2022 second-rounder Skyy Moore is set for an every-down role after showing improvement this offseason. Kansas City also rosters second-round rookie Rashee Rice, free agent slot pickup Richie James, veteran backup Justin Watson and second-year UDFA Justyn Ross.

Additionally, the daily Chris Jones update does not bring good news for the Chiefs. Still no progress in negotiations, per Reid. Both Kelce and Jones played all 20 Chiefs contests last season. While Jones has been trending toward missing this game for a bit now, the eighth-year defensive tackle is close to missing a $1.1MM game check.

Aaron Donald skipped Week 1 while holding out in 2017, but he was attached to a rookie contract and the Rams ended up waiving his fines and paying him for the game week missed. The current CBA prevents the Chiefs from waiving the fines Jones incurred for missing training camp; that number has surpassed $2MM. Jones continues to target a deal closer to Donald’s $31.7MM AAV than the D-tackle’s second salary tier. Rumblings about a $28MM-per-year middle ground have surfaced, but Jones remains unsigned.

Chiefs TE Travis Kelce Discusses Contract

Tight end Travis Kelce outperformed most wide receivers in 2022, finishing with the third-most receptions (110) in the NFL. However, thanks to a four-year extension he signed with the Chiefs in 2020, he’s making an average of $14.3MM a year…a far cry from what some of the league’s top receivers are earning.

In a long ranging interview with Tom Kludt of Vanity Fair, Kelce acknowledged that he’s underpaid when you consider his production. The veteran joked that his managers and agents often remind him of that fact, encouraging him to seek more money from the Chiefs. However, Kelce also recognizes that his affordable deal plays a part in the Chiefs’ ability to remain competitive, and it sounds like he values the championships more than the extra money he could get on the open market.

“When I saw Tyreek [Hill] go and get 30 [million] a year, in the back of my head, I was like, man, that’s two to three times what I’m making right now,” Kelce said. “I’m like, the free market looks like fun until you go somewhere and you don’t win. I love winning. I love the situation I’m in.

“You see how much more money you could be making and, yeah, it hits you in the gut a little bit. It makes you think you’re being taken advantage of. I don’t know if I really pressed the gas if I would get what I’m quote-unquote worth. But I know I enjoy coming to that building every single day.”

Kelce has been one of the league’s most productive offensive players over the past seven years, averaging an incredible 96 receptions, 1,230 receiving yards, and eight touchdowns per season. However, his career earnings sit below $65MM; there are 13 current wide receivers earning more than that on their current contracts alone.

Kelce doesn’t even lead his own position from an AAV perspective. George Kittle set the market right before Kelce signed his most recent extension, and Darren Waller has since reset the position when he inked a new deal with the Raiders in 2022.

Fortunately for the Chiefs, it doesn’t sound like Kelce is overly concerned about his contract status, and the tight end told Kludt that he intends to see out his current contract. The four-year, $57MM extension that the tight end signed in 2022 is set to expire at the end of the 2025 campaign.

AFC West Notes: Broncos, Kelce, Chargers

Already battling lat and shoulder issues while proceeding through a rocky navigation in Nathaniel Hackett‘s offense, Russell Wilson sustained a hamstring injury Monday night. The injury occurred during a fourth-quarter scramble, Wilson said. The Broncos are calling their quarterback day-to-day. But there is some concern about Wilson’s Week 7 availability, with Tom Pelissero of adding this may be a “fairly significant” injury (Twitter link).

Wilson has only missed three games in 10-plus seasons; each came because of his finger injury last year. He has experienced a worse-than-expected acclimation process in Hackett’s offense, which has generated more than 20 points just once this season. Playing through multiple injuries likely will not help matters, but given Wilson’s career path, that should be the expectation. Here is the latest from the AFC West:

  • The Chiefs held less than $1MM in cap space at this time last week. They are now close to $4MM. Kansas City got there by restructuring Travis Kelce‘s contract for the second time this year. The move created $3.46MM in space, Field Yates of tweets. The Chiefs made the move last week, per CBS Sports’ Josina Anderson, who notes the team did so to have some additional room for practice squad promotions (Twitter link). Kelce remains signed through 2025.
  • Dustin Hopkins became the hero in another low-scoring Broncos primetime game Monday, making four field goals despite hurting his hamstring early in the contest. Brandon Staley said his kicker suffered a hamstring strain and is expected to miss two to four weeks. Taylor Bertolet, the Chargers‘ practice squad kicking option, will step in for the veteran leg. Hopkins, whom the Chargers added after Washington surprisingly cut him during the 2021 season, also missed Week 5 due to a quadriceps injury.
  • Bolts backup running back Joshua Kelley will miss time as well. Staley said Kelley sustained an MCL sprain during Monday’s game. The Chargers have used Kelley as an Austin Ekeler backup since drafting him in the 2020 fourth round. Sony Michel will have the team’s RB2 gig to himself for the time being, as it would not surprise to see Kelley land on IR.
  • The Broncos extended their Week 1 right tackle revolving door to 10 seasons, opening the campaign with Cameron Fleming in that spot. The two players the team signed to vie for the gig — Billy Turner and Tom Compton — began the season injured. Turner has returned and moved into the lineup during Monday’s game, sending Fleming to left tackle and Calvin Anderson (Garett Bolles‘ initial replacement) to the bench. But Compton remains on Denver’s PUP list. The veteran lineman is unlikely to debut for the Broncos until after their Week 9 bye, Troy Renck of Denver7 tweets. Compton, 33, signed a one-year, $2.25MM deal. He worked as the 49ers’ starting right tackle for much of last season, replacing the injured Mike McGlinchey.
  • Monday’s game also produced yet another Broncos ACL tear. An awkward collision with a media member on the sideline led to backup linebacker Aaron Patrick suffering that severe knee injury. The Broncos announced Patrick’s setback. Tim Patrick, Javonte Williams, Ronald Darby and running back Damarea Crockett have also suffered ACL tears since training camp. Primarily a special-teamer, Aaron Patrick is in his second season with the team. He arrived as a UDFA out of Eastern Kentucky.