Wed Nov 13 2:56pm ET
By DAVE SKRETTA
AP Sports Writer
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:
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.”
Following a series of ho-hum weeks through the middle of the season, Los Angeles Chargers wide receiver Keenan Allen has been on a hot streak of late, racking up 27 catches and 290 yards receiving over the last four games. Allen was able to haul in a pair of touchdowns over the stretch as well, and he has put up 68 or more receiving yards in each of the games. That said, Allen will be facing a tough matchup as he'll possibly be lining up across from Pro Bowl cornerback Xavier Rhodes (ankle) and the rest of an intimidating Minnesota secondary. With the Vikings on a hot offensive streak, don't be surprised if LA is playing catch-up and Allen sees plenty of chances. He'll just have to fight his way through a lot of coverage to bring them in.
Miami Dolphins wide receiver Devante Parker (concussion) has cleared the league's concussion protocol and will play on Sunday against the New York Giants. The Giants are starting four rookies in the secondary and Parker and the Dolphins shouldn't have too hard a time moving the ball. Parker is a strong WR2 with a nice ceiling for the fantasy semifinals this week. Parker's fellow Dolphins receiver Albert Wilson also cleared the protocol and will suit up for Sunday's game.
New York Giants RB Saquon Barkley said he is feeling 'healthier and healthier' ahead of a Week 15 matchup with a Miami Dolphins team ranked 31st in the NFL in rushing defense.
Fantasy Spin: Barkley hasn't had a 100-yard rushing game since Week 2, and he has gone five straight games without scoring. He has been one of the bigger fantasy disappointments this season, but RB2 numbers should be possible in Week 15 with a friendly matchup on tap.
Seattle Seahawks RB Rashaad Penny (knee) was placed on the Reserve/Injured list, Saturday, Dec. 14.
Fantasy Spin: The knee injury certainly won't help the former first-round pick establish himself as the potential starter in Seattle in 2020. If you own Penny in a dynasty league, you just have to stash him and hope he eventually turns things around.
Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Mecole Hardman has seen his targets decrease since Tyreek Hill and Sammy Watkins returned healthy. He's seen one target over the last two games, but that catch was a 48-yard touchdown. Hardman doesn't see enough targets to warrant owning in most formats. He's a touchdown-dependent receiver that is only worth using in the deepest of leagues. It's unclear how he'll be worked into the game plan, so he's risky for fantasy formats.
Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce has been arguably the best tight end in the NFL alongside George Kittle. Kelce is expected to easily surpass 1,000 receiving yards on the season during the Week 15 matchup with the Denver Broncos. Kelce should be in for a solid game against the average Broncos Defense. Fantasy owners have been able to count on Kelce basically every week this season. He'll remain a TE1 for this home matchup with Denver.
Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Sammy Watkins has been unable to live up to his epic Week 1 performance. He's been able to carry enough fantasy value worth rostering him in most 12-team leagues, but hasn't scored since Week 1. Watkins heads into a matchup against the Denver Broncos in Week 15. The Broncos Defense has allowed the sixth fewest fantasy points to wide receivers this season, according to Yahoo Sports. Fantasy owners should consider Watkins a WR3 or flex option for Sunday.
Kansas City Chiefs running back Darwin Thompson has seen increased involvement in the offense the last two games. Damien Williams (ribs) and Darrel Williams (hamstring) both being sidelined has given Thompson an opportunity in the backfield. Damien has a chance to play in Sunday's Week 15 contest against the Denver Broncos. Having him back might push Thompson out of the backfield rotation. Thompson showed promise in the passing game when he caught four passes for 36 yards versus the Patriots in Week 14. Thompson could again have value in the passing game if Williams is forced to sit out again. He's only a deep league option at this point, but he could have some flex value if Williams remains out.
Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Tyreek Hill has been a reliable fantasy option throughout most of the season. However, Hill has been unable to find the end zone through the last three games. He's heading into a matchup with the Denver Broncos in Week 15. The same team that he caught three passes for 74 yards and a touchdown on in Week 7. Fantasy owners should feel confident that Hill can be a WR1 for this home matchup with Denver. Hill has caught at least five receptions in each of the last two games.
Kansas City Chiefs running back LeSean McCoy has been the lead back lately with Damien Williams (ribs) sidelined. However, Williams is listed as questionable for Sunday's Week 15 matchup with the Broncos. McCoy saw 11 rushing attempts for 39 yards during the Week 14 victory over New England. He might end up getting another start, but will battle with Darwin Thompson and Spencer Ware for carries. McCoy is basically a touchdown-dependent option that will be handcuffed to around 10 to 12 carries.
Kansas City Chiefs running back Damien Williams (ribs) is listed as questionable for Sunday's Week 15 matchup with the Denver Broncos. The Chiefs backfield is a mess with LeSean McCoy, Darwin Thompson, and Spencer Ware all in the mix. Williams has missed the last two games and could be limited, assuming he plays on Sunday. It's uncertain how many touches Williams would see even fully healthy. He's going to be a touchdown-dependent fantasy option that most owners should avoid for Week 15.
Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes has thrown three touchdowns and two interceptions over his last three games. Mahomes is normally an elite fantasy option every week, but has been slowed down recently. He should bounce back nicely against the Denver Broncos in Week 15. Mahomes completed 10 of 11 passing attempts for 76 yards and one touchdown last time he faced the Broncos in Week 7. However, Mahomes was injured during the game, but was playing very well before that. Fantasy owners should feel confident that Mahomes will bounce back here.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers QB Jameis Winston (knee, thumb), will play Sunday, Dec. 15, against the Detroit Lions, according to Jenna Laine of ESPN Saturday, Dec. 14. He is officially listed as questionable.
Fantasy Spin: Winston has produced much better fantasy numbers than real-world results this season. He threw for a season-high 456 yards last week against the Indianapolis Colts while matching a season-high with four touchdowns but he also threw three interceptions for the fourth time this season. He's a low-end QB1.
Free-agent LB Terrell Suggs (Cardinals) will strongly consider not reporting to any team that claims him on waivers by 4 p.m. ET Monday, Dec. 16, if not the Baltimore Ravens, according to league sources Saturday, Dec. 14.
Miami Dolphins WR Albert Wilson (concussion) cleared the NFL's concussion protocol Saturday, Dec. 14, and is expected to be available for the game Sunday, Dec. 15, against the New York Giants.
Fantasy Spin: Wilson hasn't reached the end zone since Week 8 and he hasn't topped 33 receiving yards in a single game this season. He isn't a fantasy consideration in anything but the deepest of leagues, even in the great Week 15 matchup.
Miami Dolphins WR DeVante Parker (concussion) cleared the league's concussion protocol Saturday, Dec. 14, and will be available to play against the New York Giants Sunday, Dec. 15.
Fantasy Spin: Parker has enjoyed a breakout season and had topped 130 receiving yards in two of his previous three games before leaving early due to injury last week. He's a WR2 in a great matchup against the Giants this week.
Cleveland Browns LB Joe Schobert has not heard from the team in months in regard to a contract extension and will likely be allowed to walk in free agency, according to a league source Saturday, Dec. 14.
Washington Redskins WR Paul Richardson (hamstring) was placed on the Reserve/Injured list Saturday, Dec. 14. OT Timon Parris was signed to the active roster from the practice squad.
Houston Texans RB Taiwan Jones (hamstring) won't travel with the team and has been ruled out of the game Sunday, Dec. 15, against the Tennessee Titans.
New Orleans Saints TE Jared Cook (concussion) practiced in full again Saturday, Dec. 14, and was taken off the Week 15 injury report.
Fantasy Spin: Cook is a top-flight TE1 due to his red-zone usage in the second half of the season. He has four touchdowns over his last four games.