KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — The Kansas City Chiefs weren’t done when they signed star quarterback Patrick Mahomes to a record-setting extension, or when they put together a pricey package to keep Pro Bowl defensive tackle Chris Jones on the line.
Now, they’re shelling out more big money to keep tight end Travis Kelce in the fold.
The Chiefs and the two-time All-Pro agreed to a four-year, $57.25 million extension Thursday that will keep him with the Super Bowl champions through 2025, a person familiar with the contract told The Associated Press. The person spoke on the condition of anonymity because the deal had not been announced.
The deal came the same day the San Francisco 49ers and their All-Pro tight end, George Kittle, agreed to a five-year, $75 million extension, a person familiar with that contract told AP. Kittle and Kelce, who were on opposing sidelines during the Super Bowl in February, long ago established themselves as the clear-cut top two tight ends in the game.
The Chiefs rallied in the second half to win their first championship in 50 years. And as the Chiefs spent the offseason securing their core players by giving Mahomes a 10-year extension that could be worth a half-billion dollars, and Jones a four-year, $85 million deal, it left Kelce confident that it was merely the first of what could be many Super Bowls.
“The guys coming in this office, they know what this team is capable of,” he said as the Chiefs reported to training camp, which is being held at their practice facility because of the coronavirus pandemic. “It shows in what we did last year and who all we have coming back, which means we have just about every single leader that we had in this locker room.”
Kelce quickly grew into a leader after a standout college career marked by some off-the-field issues that caused his draft stock to plummet. The Chiefs selected him in the third round in 2013 and, after missing most of his rookie season because of a knee injury, he immediately moved into the lineup and became a match-up nightmare for opposing defenses.
The affable and outspoken Kelce has been voted to five consecutive Pro Bowls, and he’s put together four straight 1,000-yard receiving seasons. He also has excelled under the brightest of lights, catching 10 passes for 134 yards and three TDs in a playoff win over Houston, three more passes in an AFC championship win over Tennessee, and then grabbing six passes for 43 yards and a touchdown in helping the Chiefs to a 31-20 victory over the 49ers.
“He’s athletic. I think he’s instinctive. His routes don’t look like anybody else’s routes,” Titans coach Mike Vrabel said. “I mean, the route is to get open at whatever depth the quarterback wants. He can freeze guys, and then burst across the field. He’s got great catch radius. I mean, he’s tall, he’s long, he’s athletic, he’s tough, and it’s a tough challenge.”
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