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.”
Five Hot Starts: Week 4
Green Bay Packers wide receiver Davante Adams (hamstring) returned to practice in a limited fashion on Thursday after sitting out of the team's Week 3 win over the Saints. Adams did very little (three catches, 36 yards) when he was hurt in Week 2, but he went off for 14 receptions, 156 yards and two scores in the season-opener on 17 targets against the Vikings. It looks like Adams is on track to return for the Monday night matchup with the Falcons and their shaky secondary, so Green Bay's All-Pro wideout will once again be a must-start high-end WR1 for his fantasy managers. Allen Lazard, who had over 100 yards receiving and a touchdown last week in Adams' absence, will be a boom/bust WR3/flex with Adams on track to return this week.
Green Bay Packers wide receiver Allen Lazard (core), who stepped up with 146 receiving yards and a touchdown in Week 3 against the Saints, has a new core muscle injury and did not practice on Thursday. It helped that Davante Adams (hamstring) was inactive last Sunday night, but Lazard has gained a lot of chemistry with quarterback Aaron Rodgers and seems to be the preferred target behind Adams. His status will be one to watch for Monday Night Football against the Falcons this week, but if he's questionable for that one, fantasy managers should look for better options. If Lazard were to sit out this week, Marquez Valdes-Scantling could step up as a flex option in deeper leagues.
Dallas Cowboys left tackle Tyron Smith (back) returned to practice on a limited basis on Thursday for the first time in a few weeks. Smith played in the season-opener but hasn't been on the field since, but it looks like he has a chance to return to the starting unit this Sunday against the Browns. Dallas really needs the 29-year-old in the fold, as they're already short-handed on the offensive line. Smith's return would be great news for quarterback Dak Prescott, who has performed admirably the last two weeks without his starting blind-side protector. Cleveland has a pretty nasty pass rush, so Smith would help a depleted offensive line as the Cowboys seek their second win of the season.
Cleveland Browns wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. (back) was added to the injury report on Thursday with a back injury that he's working through. Beckham was officially limited in Thursday's practice, so it looks like he still has a good shot at suiting up in Week 4 against the Cowboys. Through three games in 2020, OBJ has 11 catches for 155 yards and a touchdown and is seeing consistent enough targets to make him a solid WR2 each and every week. This Sunday against a Dallas offense that hasn't had trouble putting points on the board, the Browns figure to throw the ball frequently. The Cowboys secondary is also allowing the second-most fantasy points per game to the receiver position.
New York Jets quarterback Joe Flacco (neck) is active for the Thursday night game against the Broncos as Sam Darnold's backup. With Flacco active, the team released quarterback Mike White. The 35-year-old Flacco is purely a clipboard holder for Darnold as long as he's healthy, which makes him useless in fantasy football. Never much of a fantasy asset even during his prime with Baltimore, the Jets would be in even more trouble if they were forced to use him as their starter in the event of a Darnold injury. New York also has rookie signal-caller James Morgan on their roster behind Flacco.
Atlanta Falcons WR Julio Jones (hamstring) was limited during practice Thursday, Oct. 1.
Fantasy Spin: Jones was not able to play last week because of the injury but appears to be on track to play this week. He has been one of the top receivers in the NFL for several season and should be a weekly starting option when healthy.
New Orleans Saints OG Andrus Peat (ankle), TE Jared Cook (groin), DE Marcus Davenport (elbow) and CB Marshon Lattimore (hamstring) did not participate in practice Thursday, Oct. 1. CB Janoris Jenkins (illness), WR Michael Thomas (ankle) and LB Chase Hansen (hip) were limited. DT David Onyemata (calf) was not given a practice designation.
Atlanta Falcons WR Russell Gage Jr. (concussion) was limited during practice Thursday, Oct. 1.
Fantasy Spin: Gage still needs to pass his concussion tests before he is cleared to play, so fantasy players should know more about his status in a few days. He will receive a handful of targets if he plays and could be a flex option in deeper leagues.
Carolina Panthers wide receiver D.J. Moore faces a tough matchup in Week 4 against Arizona. No team has allowed fewer fantasy points to the wide receiver position than the Cardinals, though fellow number-one wideouts Terry McLaurin and Kenny Golladay were able to post good numbers against this defense. Moore is of a similar talent level to those two and commands a whopping 49.4% of his team's targeted air yards, which ranks second in the league. The second-year pro also ranks 11th in the league in targets, so he's seeing ample opportunity. In a game where Carolina may be forced to throw more, fantasy managers can plug Moore in as a solid WR2 with upside.
New Orleans Saints defensive end Marcus Davenport (elbow) and cornerback Marshon Lattimore (hamstring) didn't take part in the portion of practice open to the media on Thursday. As key members of the team's defense, their statuses are something to watch heading into Week 4 against the Lions. Lattimore tweaked his hamstring in practice on Wednesday, but the injury isn't considered serious. The 24-year-old has 15 tackles through three games for the Saints, and his absence this Sunday would be good news for Lions star receiver Kenny Golladay, who scored a touchdown in his season debut in Week 3. If one or both of Davenport or Lattimore are inactive, it makes New Orleans' defense a less-appealing fantasy streamer.
New York Jets WR Jeff Smith was activated from the Reserve/Injured list Thursday, Oct. 1. Free-agent CB Javelin Guidry was also elevated from the practice squad. QB Mike White and CB Nate Hairston were released to make room on the roster.
Atlanta Falcons WR Calvin Ridley (ankle) did not participate in practice Thursday, Oct. 1.
Fantasy Spin: Fantasy players will need to monitor the situation to see if Ridley is in any danger of missing the Week 4 game. He has been one of the most productive receivers in the NFL this season and is a must-start option in all leagues if he plays.
Updating a previous report, Buffalo Bills WR John Brown (calf) was limited during practice Thursday, Oct. 1.
Fantasy Spin: Brown appears to have a good chance to play, but fantasy players will know more about the situation in the next few days. He was been playing well this season and can be a No. 3 receiver in fantasy leagues if he plays.
Cleveland Browns DE Adrian Clayborn (hip), LB Tae Davis (elbow), RB Kareem Hunt (groin) did not participate in practice Thursday, Oct. 1. S Ronnie Harrison (illness) also did not practice after being added to the injury report Thursday. OG Joel Bitonio (back), LB Jacob Phillips (knee), C JC Tretter (knee, elbow), DE Olivier Vernon (abdomen), CB Denzel Ward (groin) and Greedy Williams (shoulder) were limited. WR Odell Beckham Jr. (back) was limited after getting added to the injury report. Stephen Carlson (shoulder), OT Jack Conklin (elbow), WR Jarvis Landry (hip) and LB Sione Takitaki (shoulder) practiced in full.
Atlanta Falcons S Ricardo Allen (elbow), PK Younghoe Koo (groin), WR Calvin Ridley (ankle), DE Dante Fowler (ankle), S Keanu Neal (hamstring), DT Grady Jarrett (hip) and DE Takkarist McKinley (groin) did not participate in practice Thursday, Oct. 1. WR Russell Gage Jr. (concussion), DE Jacob Tuioti-Mariner (elbow), LB Foyesade Oluokun (hamstring), WR Julio Jones (hamstring) and OT Kaleb McGary (knee) were limited. DT Marlon Davidson (knee), OT Matt Gono (shoulder) and S Kendall Sheffield (foot) practiced in full.
Carolina Panthers running back Mike Davis will take on the Arizona Cardinals in Week 4. Carolina had no qualms about Davis as their lead back, considering he handled 21 touches in his first game as the starter. While it's foolish to count on McCaffrey-like production from Davis, he can certainly deliver strong fantasy numbers with this kind of volume. The Cardinals' defense ranks 20th in fantasy points allowed to halfbacks, so it's a matchup where the 27-year-old can do some damage. Davis may have slightly more value in PPR formats, as the Panthers may be playing catch-up against the Cardinals, lending him more work in the passing game. Still, he can be played as a high-end RB2/low-end RB1 in Week 4 across all formats.
San Francisco 49ers RB Raheem Mostert (knee) remained absent from practice Thursday, Oct. 1.
New Orleans Saints CB Marshon Lattimore (hamstring) tweaked his hamstring in practice Wednesday, Sept. 30, although the injury is not considered major, according to NFL Media's Ian Rapoport.
Buffalo Bills DT Ed Oliver (knee) did not participate in practice Thursday, Oct. 1. WR John Brown (calf), OT Dion Dawkins (shoulder), QB Jake Fromm (non-injury), S Micah Hyde (ankle), RB Zack Moss (toe) and LB Del'Shawn Phillips (quad) were limited. LB Tremaine Edmunds (shoulder), DT Quinton Jefferson (foot) and TE Dawson Knox (concussion) practiced in full.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back Leonard Fournette (ankle) and wide receiver Scotty Miller (groin, hip) are both missing practice on Thursday for the second straight day. Fournette suffered a minor ankle injury in the Week 3 win over the Broncos, but he'll need to get in at least a limited practice on Friday to have a shot at facing the Chargers in Week 4, where he's be an RB3/flex for fantasy managers. If he can't go, Ronald Jones II would become more intriguing as a flex play in deeper leagues. If healthy, Miller will be Tampa's No. 2 wideout with Chris Godwin (hamstring) out again. But even if Miller suits up, it's worth noting that he played just 43 percent of the snaps last weekend, making him a WR4/5, even if he plays. Justin Watson or rookie Tyler Johnson would be the Bucs No. 2 wideout against the Bolts if Miller is inactive.