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By: Tom Childs
Chiefs headlines for Saturday, February 18
2023 NFL Free Agency: Landing spots for the top free agent wide receivers | NFL News, Rankings and Statistics | PFF
JUJU SMITH-SCHUSTER, KANSAS CITY CHIEFS
2023 team prediction: Carolina Panthers
Smith-Schuster showed up on the biggest stage of his career with seven receptions for 53 yards in the Super Bowl, as well as drew the defensive holding call on Philadelphia Eagles cornerback James Bradberry that effectively sealed the victory. Over the course of the season, Smith-Schuster hit key statistical benchmarks that earned him a ton of extra money, in particular by eclipsing 65 receptions (78) and 900 receiving yards (933).
Smith-Schuster’s one-year flier with the Chiefs carried a base value of just $3.76 million, but he earned an additional $6.5 million in incentives. He earned $2 million of that from the AFC championship game and the Super Bowl, a potential benefit that only the Kansas City Chiefs provide a great shot at earning on an annual basis.
The former second-rounder will still be just 26 years old for the first half of the 2023 season, his seventh in the league, and earned a 72.2 receiving grade in 2022 — his best since 2018. He has been credited with just six regular-season drops over the past three seasons on 247 targets, with a drop percentage below 4% in each season. While he has sustained a few injuries over the years, Smith-Schuster has proven his toughness, notably pushing hard to play in the Pittsburgh Steelers‘ 2021 playoff game, which was quarterback Ben Roethlisberger’s last NFL outing.
The Carolina Panthers effectively have no receiving weapons to speak of beyond wide receiver D.J. Moore, and Smith-Schuster profiles as a strong No. 2 option.
NFL’s eight biggest Super Bowl windows right now? Chiefs, Eagles and Bengals top list; Bills at No. 7 | NFL.com
1- Kansas City Chiefs
2022 record: 14-3 · Won Super Bowl
No surprise at No. 1. With Andy Reid and Patrick Mahomes leading the way, Kansas City enters every season as a genuine world-beater. In No. 15’s five years as a starter, the Chiefs have made five AFC Championship Games and three Super Bowls (winning two). This remarkable run has cemented their legacy as a gold-jacket tandem, while sparking talk of an emerging dynasty in the Midwest — if the team hasn’t already established itself as such. K.C. absolutely owns the AFC West (seven straight titles), seizing control of the conference as a whole by routinely claiming the No. 1 seed, forcing the road to the Super Bowl to run through Arrowhead Stadium. Mahomes, who now has 14 postseason starts under his belt, has yet to play a true road playoff game.
After losing one of the NFL’s most explosive playmakers last offseason (Tyreek Hill), the Chiefs promptly won the franchise’s third Super Bowl with a hodgepodge receiving corps and a rookie-laden defense, particularly in the secondary. Not to mention, DT Chris Jones fully established himself as one of the most destructive forces in the game.
Long story short: The Chiefs championship window is so wide open they might want to insert a screen for the summer.
2022 NFL rookie grades, AFC West: Chiefs’ Super Bowl triumph fueled by numerous newbies | NFL.com
B+ Kansas City Chiefs
It’s rare to see a Super Bowl champion be so rookie-dependent, but Kansas City identified its depth issues last offseason and showered the defense with draftees — especially in the secondary, with five selections, including four who contributed in major ways in Year 1. Trent McDuffie, Jaylen Watson, Joshua Williams and Bryan Cook all cracked the rotation this season, and each of them played at least 10 snaps on defense in Super Bowl LVII. They all endured some rough patches, but each contributed something significant along the way. Even with some potential veteran DB departures this offseason, the future of the Chiefs’ secondary appears to be bright thanks to this crew.
Defensive end George Karlaftis started all season, but really made his impact down the stretch, with 5.5 of his six sacks, seven of his eight tackles for loss and both of his fumble recoveries coming in the final seven regular-season games. After some humbling snaps early on, Karlaftis started to show his true impact potential.
Isiah Pacheco was one of the 2022 NFL Draft’s great finds, coming off the board in the back end of the seventh round. Despite some issues taking care of the football, the hard-charging back was a revelation in Year 1, supplanting former first-rounder Clyde Edwards-Helaire as K.C.’s lead back and averaging 5.0 yards per carry from Week 7 (his first start) through the Super Bowl. Skyy Moore also experienced ball-security problems — muffing three punts as a returner — but he was still able to carve out a role of 25-to-30 snaps on offense and special teams. And he actually provided a massive 29-yard punt return with under a minute left in the AFC Championship Game, helping set up Harrison Butker’s game-winning field goal.
Saints’ Alvin Kamara Among 4 Indicted for Alleged 2022 Vegas Nightclub Battery | News, Scores, Highlights, Stats, and Rumors | Bleacher Report
New Orleans Saints running back Alvin Kamara, Cincinnati Bengals cornerback Chris Lammons and two other men have been indicted and charged with conspiracy to commit battery and battery resulting in substantial bodily harm in connection with an alleged confrontation in Las Vegas in Feb. 2022, according to David Charns of 8 News Now.
Darnell Greene, who has accused Kamara and his group of assault, has also filed a lawsuit and is seeking damages exceeding $10 million, per Michael Bell of Fox 5 Vegas.
Per Charns, “Videos and an audio recording taken in an SUV after the reported assault have not been released. The lawsuit includes still images from surveillance video and transcription of the recording.”
NFL Free Agency 2023 Primer: Projected free agents, cap space, needs for every team in offseason | CBS Sports
Kansas City Chiefs
Unrestricted free agents: Orlando Brown (LT), JuJu Smith-Schuster (WR), Carlos Dunlap (EDGE), Derrick Nnadi (DT), Andrew Wylie (RT), Ronald Jones II (RB), Brandon Williams (DT), Blake Bell (TE), Michael Burton (FB), Mecole Hardman (WR), Deon Bush (S), Jerick McKinnon (RB), Juan Thornhill (S), Justin Watson (WR), Khalen Saunders (DT), Nick Allegretti (LG)
Projected cap space: -$3,507,734
Team needs: WR, OT, S
The Chiefs were deep at wide receiver this year, but the Super Bowl champions could use an upgrade there. Look for a few restructured contracts to make that happen. Kansas City also needs to bring back Jerick McKinnon, who teamed up well with Isiah Pecheco during the stretch run.
The mystery of a Kansas City Chiefs superfan charged with robbery | ESPN
Babudar’s bail was reduced from $200,000 to $80,000, on condition that he wear a GPS monitor and did not leave Oklahoma. Four days before the Super Bowl, he was released on bond. In his bond document, his mother listed a Tulsa Residence Inn as her address. A day later, Mahomes won the NFL’s season MVP award, and Babudar petitioned the court for permission to travel to Arizona, site of the game, for what he said was a pre-planned family trip with his mother. The petition said that the inability of Babudar to attend this trip “will cause considerable financial hardship for the defendant and his family.”
When reached by ESPN, Babudar’s attorney, Tracy Tiernan, said he couldn’t comment on the financial hardship that his client stood to face if he didn’t get to Arizona. Asked if the trip was for the Super Bowl, Tiernan said, “… he’s a big fan. The fans want him there, clearly.”
He was not allowed to leave the state to attend the Super Bowl.
In emails with ESPN from jail, Babudar said he watched the AFC Championship Game between the Chiefs and Cincinnati Bengals on a small TV in the day room outside of his cell. He said he got so excited that he was told numerous times to keep it down.
“You can put the Wolf in a cage,” he wrote, “but he’s still going to howl for his team!”
NFL Mock Draft 2023: Bears trade Justin Fields, select QB with No. 1 pick; run on skill players to end Round 1 | CBS Sports
Jahmyr Gibbs RB
ALABAMA • JR • 5’11” / 200 LBS
Jahmyr Gibbs? In this offense?! The rest of the NFL should make sure this doesn’t happen, or the jack-of-all-trades Gibbs is going to put up big numbers with Patrick Mahomes.
Around the NFL
Niners QB Trey Lance clears up Titans rumors after Ran Carthon post: ‘I don’t want to be anywhere else’ | NFL.com
Trey Lance created a social media stir last month when he reposted the announcement that the Tennessee Titans hired former San Francisco 49ers director of player personnel Ran Carthon to be the team’s general manager with three crossed-finger emojis.
Lance told quarterback trainer Quincy Avery during an interview on “The Q with Quincy Avery” live stream that the post was a “mistake,” and he never meant it to sound like he wanted out of San Francisco.
The QB said he only found out about the hullabaloo after 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan joked about it.
“Kyle told me the next morning because we had an install meeting. Kyle asked me, ‘Have you seen everything? People say you’re going to the Titans and stuff,’” Lance said Thursday, via the San Francisco Chronicle. “I go, ‘What are you talking about?’ And he goes, ‘I just saw it. People are talking crazy. They don’t know what they’re talking about. I just thought it was funny.’ He was the one who told me about it. I didn’t see anything.”
Sources – Ex-Raiders QB Derek Carr will visit with Jets | ESPN
Carr was released by the Las Vegas Raiders on Tuesday after the veteran quarterback declined to waive his no-trade clause and just before more than $40 million of his contract would have become guaranteed.
Carr, who turns 32 in March, holds virtually every Raiders passing record. He has passed for more than 4,000 yards in four of the past five seasons. Carr went 63-79 as the team’s starter after being selected in the second round of the 2014 draft out of Fresno State.
Until his benching near the end of this past season, Carr had started 91 straight games, and he has 142 starts since entering the NFL in 2014, tied with Tom Brady for the most by a quarterback in that span.
In case you missed it on Arrowhead Pride
Chiefs-Eagles Super Bowl LVII: How Kansas City’s linebacker trio set the tone
Entering Super Bowl LVII, all the talk nationally was about how the Philadelphia Eagles’ bruising rushing attack would control the tempo of the football game. Doubters of the Kansas City Chiefs often cited how the defensive line and linebackers would not be up to the physical challenge Philadelphia presents.
And boy, were those doubters wrong. Sure, the defensive coaching staff led by Steve Spagnuolo put together a tremendous game plan for the Eagles’ run game that limited their running backs to just 45 rushing yards total. Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts added 70 rush yards of his own, but this still left Philadelphia with just 115 total rushing yards — well below their season average of 147.6 yards per game.
At the linebacker position, Nick Bolton had an MVP-worthy performance for Kansas City, while Willie Gay Jr. and Leo Chenal also contributed at critical moments.
Let’s go to the film to see how these players helped the Chiefs get their third Lombardi Trophy.
A tweet to make you think
Looks like appropriate parade behavior to me @PatrickMahomes https://t.co/T69dLoWxmS
— Tom Brady (@TomBrady) February 17, 2023
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Originally posted on Arrowhead Pride