After signing Patrick Mahomes and Chris Jones to contract extensions recently, the action has remained steady for the Kansas City Chiefs. Tight end Travis Kelce has now been locked up for the foreseeable future with a brand new four year extension. His current contract runs through the next two seasons. So, the extension means Kelce is slated to be in a Chiefs uniform for the next six seasons, through 2025.
That will essentially take the 30 year old Cincinnati product at or near the end of his career. Meaning, he may very well spend his entire career with the Kansas City Chiefs. Now, let’s dive into the details of this contract, how Kelce earned it and what this means for him moving forward.
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Basically, Travis Kelce received a backloaded contract. His 2020 salary will not change from what it was originally ($9.25 million). It will bump up to $13.25 million in 2021, which will be interesting to watch. Due to the NFL’s expected revenue loss in 2020, Kansas City may have to again be creative with the salary cap. Of the $57.25 million total on the extension, Kelce is set to make $32.25 million in the final two seasons of the new contract.
Due to little guaranteed money in this agreement ($28 million), Kelce likely agreed to allow the Chiefs some flexibility with the salaries. In order for the team to remain hot, they can maneuver and create magic, like they have done already this offseason with the salary cap.
Unlike other contract extensions the Chiefs have done in the past, these latest megadeals during the summer create no problems in terms of dead cap. The team will still have the ability to pay other players, despite spending over $200 million in extensions over the last month or so. The creativity by general manager Brett Veach and Football Operations’ Brandt Tilis and Chris Shea have allowed Kansas City to lock up much of their core for the long haul. That was likely a big reason to get this Travis Kelce contract done now.
Kelce was unable to play in his 2013 rookie season, because of an injury. Since then however, he has played in every regular season game since 2014. His lone absence was due to the starters being rested in Week 17 in 2017.
Not only is he a nightmare mismatch for defenders one on one, but his underrated speed and nimbleness creates problems. People have longed trashed him for blocking, or an apparent lack there of. Nonetheless, Kelce is consistently springing guys open for big plays with his blocking. It is just done differently than other tight ends have done it. Finally, his route running is at the top of the list for tight ends.
In 2019, he became the first ever NFL tight end to record a fourth straight 1,000 yard receiving season. Kelce’s career best season (2018), includes 103 receptions, 1,336 receiving yards and 10 touchdowns. Overall, his targets (525), receptions (368), receiving yards (4,728) and receiving touchdowns (27) all rank first among tight ends since 2016.
Now that Travis Kelce is tied together with Mahomes for six more campaigns, his career can continue to stay steady. It is somewhat rare to see a tight end to continue to ascend like he has, entering his 30s.
The NFL is also a copycat league and circles are fairly tight. It should come as no coincidence, that San Francisco 49ers tight end George Kittle received an extension on the same day. He will receive more money than Kelce will in total. But, the money may not be the main goal for Travis.
The Kelce-Kittle rivalry is playful, although very competitive. To see these two continue to battle it out as the league’s best tight end, will be entertaining. Furthermore, we may see more motivation from Travis Kelce to outdo Kittle as often as he can. In Kansas City, people have learned to never count him out. He will now continue to embark on one of the greater tight end careers with the red and gold.
– Braden Holecek is the Kansas City Chiefs managing editor for Full Press Coverage. He covers the NFL. Like and follow on Follow @ebearcat9//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js Follow @FPC_Chiefs//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js and Facebook.