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NFL Playoffs League - FFL: Preseason | NFL: Week 1

Chiefs owner Hunt touts reduced preseason, 17-game schedule

Wed Nov 13 2:56pm ET
By DAVE SKRETTA
AP Sports Writer

Players: Tyreek Hill, Patrick Mahomes

Kansas City Chiefs football team owner Clark Hunt leaves the NFL Fall league meeting, Wednesday, Oct. 16, 2019, in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)


KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) The chairman of the Kansas City Chiefs believes the NFL must “seriously consider” reducing the preseason and expanding the regular season to 17 games, giving the league additional inventory that would allow for more games internationally.

Clark Hunt, the most visible face of the Chiefs ownership family, also said such ideas have been batted around since the last round of collective bargaining in 2011. But with another round of CBA talks heating up, Hunt believes the schedule will become a crucial issue.

“I think reducing the preseason is something everybody would be in favor of,” Hunt said during a wide-ranging availability Wednesday. “If you replaced a game, perhaps two, with one regular-season game it would give you an odd number of games with 17. One thought is you could play at least some of those games at a neutral site and obviously internationally would be one way to do that.”

Hunt has long been a proponent of expanding the NFL to new markets. The Chiefs beat the Lions at Wembley Stadium in London during the 2015 season, and they face the Chargers in Mexico City on Monday night - a do-over of sorts after their game there last year was moved because of field conditions.

Hunt said the new playing surface at Azteca Stadium has allayed any lingering concerns.

“I think all the international games are important to the league, and they are important to the Chiefs from a branding standpoint,” Hunt said. “Frankly, I did not think we’d be going to Mexico City so fast. It was not something I lobbied the league for. When I looked at our schedule, I didn’t think it would work out from a scheduling standpoint.

“I guess at the end of the day,” Hunt said, “the Chargers were willing to give up a home game to play down there, even though we’re a divisional team.”

In other news, Hunt said the Chiefs hope to sign MVP quarterback Patrick Mahomes to an extension that keeps him in Kansas City his entire career. But he declined to say whether that will happen after this season, when Mahomes becomes eligible to sign a deal, or after the following year.

“That’s a decision we will have to make with his representatives, if this is the right time,” said Hunt, who also declined to say whether Mahomes could become the NFL’s highest-paid player.

Hunt did acknowledge feeling a sense of disbelief when Mahomes dislocated his kneecap on a sneak against Denver earlier this season. The freak injury caused him to miss two games, though Mahomes came back to throw for 446 yards in last week’s last-second loss in Tennessee.

“I was concerned he was lost for the season,” Hunt said, “and perhaps beyond that.”

Among other topics Hunt discussed Wednesday:

PASS INTERFERENCE

Like most NFL fans, Hunt has mixed feelings about the rule changes this year allowing for pass interference penalties to be challenged. He also thinks it’s an issue that will be revisited by the competition committee and that changes are likely for next season.

“I definitely think it’s a learning experience for everyone involved,” Hunt said. “I’ve seen the statistics that show the very few times coaches are being successful in their challenges, particularly after we got past the first two games of the season.”

FEELING A DRAFT

The NFL awarded the 2023 draft to Kansas City, and Hunt predicted it could be “the biggest event ever” to take place in the city. He said most of the work on the draft will begin after this season, though the franchise is in constant communication with civic leaders.

PAYING BIG FOR HILL

Tyreek Hill spent the offseason banished from the team amid allegations of domestic abuse - he was ultimately cleared by the league and prosecutors. And when that happened, the Chiefs wasted little time in giving their star wide receiver a $54 million, three-year extension.

The deal, though, includes plenty of safeguards for the organization.

“We obviously had some level of comfort with the information we received,” Hunt said. “We looked at the season and thought it was important to get Tyreek done early in the year. We were able to reach an agreement with his representatives that rewards Tyreek for the level of play we’ve seen out of him the past three-plus years but also protects the organization.”

ALSO JONESING FOR A DEAL

The Chiefs also have been discussing a contract extension for Chris Jones, who has emerged as one of the NFL’s premier defensive tackles. Jones held out all offseason, hoping to pressure Kansas City into getting a deal done, but was left to play out the fourth year of his rookie contract.

“We’re very hopeful we can extend Chris’ contract and bring him back to Kansas City for many years to come,” Hunt said. “He’s obviously a fantastic player, great guy in the locker room, and we like what he brings to the Kansas City Chiefs.”

Player Notes
Kendrick Bourne Apr 6 6:40pm ET

San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Kendrick Bourne signed his one-year tender on Monday. Bourne had 30 receptions on 44 targets for 358 yards and a career-high five touchdowns in 16 games (zero starts) for the team in 2019. There is plenty of opportunity for Bourne and others to start in three-receiver sets in 2020 behind Deebo Samuel. With nine touchdowns in his last two seasons with the Niners, the 24-year-old has proven to be a nice red-zone presence for quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, but it remains to be seen if he can become a consistent starting option. There will be plenty of competition at the receiver position in San Fran, and they're also likely to address the position in the draft.

From RotoBaller

Christian McCaffrey Apr 6 6:30pm ET

Carolina Panthers general manager Marty Hurney said that the team has "had internal discussions" about an extension for running back Christian McCaffrey. The stud running back is heading into the final year of his rookie deal, but the Panthers may wait and have him play on the fifth-year team option in 2021 before signing him to a long-term extension. Whether or not McCaffrey is playing with a new deal or not, he should be the No. 1 overall fantasy selection this fall. The 23-year-old former eighth overall pick ran the ball 287 times for a career-high 1,387 yards and 15 touchdowns, while also catching 116 passes for 1,005 yards and another four scores.

From RotoBaller

Quincy Enunwa Apr 6 11:10am ET

New York Jets general manager Joe Douglas acknowledged that wide receiver Quincy Enunwa (neck) remains a "big question mark" heading into the 2020 season and beyond. Enunwa played in just one game in 2019 before being shut down for the year, and he was diagnosed with spinal stenosis. He also played in just 1 games in 2018 due to neck and back issues, and it's unknown if he'll ever be 100 percent again, which makes it hard for the Jets to rely on him behind Breshad Perriman and Jamison Crowder. If healthy, the 27-year-old (28 in May) wideout would likely be the team's No. 3 receiver, but he'll have to compete with Josh Doctson and Vyncint Smith and prove he's healthy in training camp.

From RotoBaller

Chris Jones Apr 6 9:56am ET

The Kansas City Chiefs have had contract talks with defensive tackle Chris Jones, but there haven't been any offers up to this point. The Chiefs will also be trying to work out a long-term extension with Super Bowl MVP Patrick Mahomes, but that is unlikely to happen until sometime after the draft. The Chiefs placed the franchise tag on Jones earlier this offseason, but they'll have until July 15 to figure out an extension. The 25-year-old made the Pro Bowl for the first time in 2019, registering nine sacks, 36 tackles (23 solo), eight tackles for loss and 20 QB hits. Jones has become an essential inside presence on KC's defensive line and has 33 sacks in his four seasons in the league.

Irv Smith Jr. Apr 6 9:55am ET

Minnesota Vikings tight end Irv Smith should see an increased role in the offense in 2020 now that Stefon Diggs is playing for the Bills. When wide receiver Adam Thielen was out for almost two months with an injury last year, Smith caught 36 passes for 311 yards and two touchdowns and emerged as a reliable target for quarterback Kirk Cousins. Minnesota's offense also relies heavily on tight ends under coach Gary Kubiak; tight ends have received an average of 23 percent of targets per season in Kubiak's 21 seasons as a head coach or offensive coordinator. Even battling for targets with Kyle Rudolph, Smith could become worth rostering as a TE2 in standard leagues in his second season in the NFL.

Michael Gallup Apr 5 11:23pm ET

Dallas Cowboys WR Michael Gallup had 39 catches for 686 yards and five touchdowns in November and December last season compared to 27 catches, 421 yards and one touchdown in the first two months of the year.

Fantasy Spin: Gallup had more receptions, yards and touchdowns in the final two months of 2019 than he did in his entire rookie season, and he and Amari Cooper suddenly look like one of the better receiver duos heading into 2020. For his part, Gallup should be a WR3 with upside.

From TheHuddle

Tyler Higbee Apr 5 11:23pm ET

Los Angeles Rams TE Tyler Higbee had 43 catches for 522 yards and two touchdowns in the month of December last season compared to 26 catches, 212 yards and one score over the first three months combined.

Fantasy Spin: Jared Goff actually led the NFL in pass attempts last year, and now that Todd Gurley is not in the mix, Higbee's strong finish to 2019 could be a sign of things to come if the Rams continue to embrace a pass-heavy attack. Target him as a TE1 in 2020.

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Mark Andrews Apr 5 11:03pm ET

Baltimore Ravens TE Mark Andrews caught 31 passes for 440 yards and five touchdowns at home in 2019 and had 33 receptions for 412 yards and five scores in road contests.

Fantasy Spin: It didn't matter where the Ravens were playing. Andrews was routinely Lamar Jackson's favorite target and the most consistent member of the passing attack in an otherwise run-heavy offense. He's locked in as a TE1 heading into 2020.

From TheHuddle

Will Fuller Apr 5 10:43pm ET

Houston Texans WR Will Fuller played in 11 games in 2019, and the team averaged 26.3 points in those contests compared to 19.6 in the five games he missed. Houston had an 8-3 record when Fuller played and went 2-3 without him in the lineup.

Fantasy Spin: Fuller will be asked to be the No. 1 receiver for Houston in 2020 following the trade of DeAndre Hopkins, and while good things tend to happen when he is on the field, he has yet to play a full season. In fact, Fuller has played 11 or fewer games in each of the past three seasons. Fuller will have WR2 upside, but fantasy owners need to make sure to have depth at the receiver position if they choose to take a chance on him.

From TheHuddle

Deshaun Watson Apr 5 7:03pm ET

Houston Texans QB Deshaun Watson threw for 14 touchdowns versus only three interceptions in seven home games last season. In eight road outings, he accounted for 12 passing scores versus nine interceptions.

From TheHuddle

Nick Chubb Apr 5 6:33pm ET

Cleveland Browns RB Nick Chubb averaged 100.4 yards rushing, 0.75 touchdowns and 3.1 catches in eight games while Kareem Hunt served his eight-game suspension to begin last season. After Hunt was activated, Chubb averaged 86.4 yards rushing, 0.25 TDs and 1.4 catches.

Fantasy Spin: Hunt was very successful in his backup running back/slot role over the second half of the season, so it's fair to wonder if new head coach Kevin Stefanski has any designs on changing something that worked so well under the previous regime. Working in Chubb's favor is the likelihood Cleveland will be holding leads more often this season, meaning he could in a position to break off some more long scoring runs against tired defenses late in games. With Hunt around, however, Chubb should be considered a high-end RB2.

From TheHuddle

James Conner Apr 5 6:13pm ET

Pittsburgh Steelers RB James Conner broke a tackle once only every 23.2 rush attempts last season. In 2018, he broke a tackle once every 10.8 carries.

From TheHuddle

Mark Ingram Apr 5 6:03pm ET

Baltimore Ravens RB Gus Edwards averaged 2.5 yards per carry before contact and 2.8 yards per carry after contact in 2019, slightly outperforming starter and backfield teammate Mark Ingram (2.4 and 2.6, respectively) in each category.

From TheHuddle

DeVante Parker Apr 5 5:33pm ET

Miami Dolphins WR DeVante Parker finished third in the league with 939 yards before the catch last season, while his 13 yards before catch per reception was good for sixth among qualified players.

From TheHuddle

Sony Michel Apr 5 5:13pm ET

New England Patriots RB Sony Michel averaged 19 carries for 73 yards and scored four touchdowns in three games with Rex Burkhead injured last season. In those same contests, Michel compiled six of his 12 catches for the year. In the 13 games Burkhead was active, Michel averaged 14.6 carries for 53 yards and scored only three times.

From TheHuddle

Jaron Brown Apr 5 2:33pm ET

Free-agent WR Jaron Brown (Seahawks) likely will not re-sign with the Seattle Seahawks this offseason since the Seahawks signed WR Phillip Dorsett earlier in the offseason.

From TheHuddle

Quincy Enunwa Apr 5 1:33pm ET

New York Jets WR Quincy Enunwa (neck) is not considering retirement even though he is recovering from a neck injury. He is scheduled to receive $10.1 million in guaranteed money over the next two seasons.

Fantasy Spin: Enunwa has been limited to 12 games over the last three seasons because of injury and his status for the 2020 season is still uncertain. Fantasy players should keep an eye on his situation, but he should be considered a risky option in all leagues.

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Matt Breida Apr 5 1:20pm ET

San Francisco 49ers running back Matt Breida didn't have much of a role on offense to end last season behind Raheem Mostert and Tevin Coleman. If Jerick McKinnon is actually healthy in 2020, he gives the 49ers a legitimate route-runner and third-down option out of the backfield. San Fran could be willing to trade Breida's rights for a low-round draft pick. Of all the backs in this crowded backfield, Breida is the most likely to be playing for another team come the start of the season. The 25-year-old from Georgia Southern has been productive with 5.0 yards per carry on 381 career rushing attempts in his three years with the Niners, but he's also consistently battled nagging injuries and is now buried on the depth chart. A move out of this crowded backfield and onto another team with more opportunity would be best for Breida's real-life and fantasy value.

From RotoBaller

Jadeveon Clowney Apr 5 9:23am ET

The Seattle Seahawks may only be willing to pay free-agent LB Jadeveon Clowney $13 million to $15 million annually to return, according to 710 ESPN Seattle's John Clayton. Clowney is reportedly seeking a deal which will pay him at least $17 million per year.

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Eric Ebron Apr 4 10:03pm ET

Pittsburgh Steelers TE Eric Ebron is one of six tight ends with at least 20 red zone touchdowns over the last five seasons, and he joins a Pittsburgh offense that ranked last in red zone scoring in 2019.

Fantasy Spin: A healthy Ben Roethlisberger under center should also go a long way to helping the Pittsburgh offense, but Ebron addresses a big need. He's a lower-end TE1 candidate, even if he could be a little touchdown dependent.

From TheHuddle