Between the offseason and the upcoming trade deadline, two of the top teams in the AFC are building absolute juggernauts. This blog is the result of the Chiefs signing Le'Veon Bell and the Ravens trading for Yannick Ngakoue. These moves are literally Thanos putting the final infinity stone in his gauntlet. The Chiefs are the clear favorites to win the Superbowl and begin to form a dynasty, but the Ravens are right there on top to contend as well.
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The Ravens bolstered their defense, while the Chiefs added another offensive weapon. Everyone is already questioning, "who will win the Superbowl?", but the question I have is, "Which team-building tactics were more impressive?" Let's breakdown how both teams ended up where they are today.
Looking at this graphic, you have to shoutout Ravens Executive Vice President and General Manager, Eric DeCosta. He flipped four mid-round picks and a backup linebacker for three defensive stars. The resumes these players have are quite more impressive than the rookies they would have drafted.
Marcus Peters: 3x Pro Bowl, 2x First-Team All-Pro, 2x Second-Team All-Pro, NFL Defensive ROY, 2015 NFL Interceptions Co-Leader, All-Rookie Team
Calais Campbell: 5x Pro Bowl, 1x First-Team All-Pro, 2x Second-Team All-Pro, NFL 2010's All-Decade Team, PFWA NFL DPOY
Yannick Ngakoue: 1x Pro Bowl, All-Rookie Team
In addition to these moves, they placed the franchise tag on Pro-Bowl rusher Matthew Judon, drafted LSU star Patrick Queen and Ohio State RB J.K. Dobbins, signed DL Derek Wolfe, plus a variety of depth moves. They are also in a position to sign former Cowboys receiver, Dez Bryant. Pairing these acquisitions with their already star-studded offense in defense is a formula for success.
Every year, when the offseason hits, you hope your team makes moves that will put them in a position to seriously contend and win. The Ravens did not disappoint.
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Yes, you read that right, one hundred and seventy-seven dollars ($177). They won last year's Super Bowl, but Kansas City has its sights on building a dynasty with the immense talent they have. The only problem was the financials, but the Hunt family and the Exec's figured that out somehow.
The biggest news this offseason was the monster contract extension Patrick Mahomes received, 10-years worth $503 Million. Per OverTheCap.com, Mahomes carries a 2020 cap hit of just $5,346,538.
The next move was re-upping one of their best defensive players, DT Chris Jones, with a four-year, $80 million deal, dropping his 2020 cap hit from $16.126 million to $15,001 million. Receiver Sammy Watkins got his contract restructured, which saved the team around $5 million in cap space. They then gave TE Travis Kelce's a 4-year, $57.25 million deal. Similar to Jones' deal, no new money this year, sizable guaranteed roster bonus due early next year. According to TouchdownWire, the Chiefs turned $177 in March into a remaining cap space of $13,921,310 in August. I still don't understand how they made this work, but that is why I am blogging and not managing a contender.
With all of that said, the Chiefs secured their coaching and front-office futures by agreeing to terms of contract extensions through 2025 with coach Andy Reid and general manager Brett Veach, drafted one of the leagues top running backs this season in Clyde Edwards-Helaire, and signed former top-5 back Le'Veon Bell last week. The team retained a large majority of their winning squad last year, and just got a whole lot better this season.
I am a firm believer that defense wins championships, and the Ravens making these trades are like me making Madden trades (see creating a juggernaut blog here). The Ravens have a very smart and savvy front office and the moves they made are quite impressive.
With that being said though, I would have to say the Chiefs moves were better than that Ravens. To secure your core depth of talent for multiple years while having minimal salary cap, and still be able to sign and draft perennial talent is something they will make a movie on.
We are (hopefully) 15 weeks away from Super Bowl 55. Both these teams will make deep runs in the playoffs, but only one can make the final dance. Who is your pick?
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