The Kansas City Chiefs managed to get some production out of their auxiliary weapons in Week 16 but a popular theme this season has been that Patrick Mahomes could use some more help outside of Travis Kelce and Tyreek Hill.
Mecole Hardman still ranks third in receiving yardage on the year but his usage has dropped a cliff since Week 9. Over the following six games, the former second-round pick has only been targeted five times once and Week 14 was his only outing with 50-plus receiving yards.
Byron Pringle has replaced Hardman as the starter at times but even he’s been hit or miss. The undrafted product had a monster performance against the Pittsburgh Steelers with six catches for 75 yards and two touchdowns. At the same time, he’s only exceeded 30 receiving yards twice from Weeks 8-15.
Mahomes still needs another reliable target and one NFL analyst suggested a solution.
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Crowder to Kansas City?
On a recent segment of Heavy’s NFL podcast, “I’m Just Saying with Brian Mazique,” the crew of insiders were tasked with finding the ideal landing spots for the top three New York Jets free agents — safety Marcus Maye, tackle Morgan Moses, and wide receiver Jamison Crowder.
For Jamison Crowder I looked at three teams, I’m going to give you three right here because there’s always teams that need wide receivers. The first one would be the Chiefs, they always need a third receiver and they never really got it from Mecole Hardman. Of course, they have Tyreek Hill and they’ve had Sammy Watkins in the past and Kelce’s pretty much the 1A-1B with Hill and Kelce but I think the Chiefs would be a wonderful destination for him and he still has it, man. Some people wrote him off a year or two ago and he still has it… the injuries were a concern heading into his tenure with the Jets but look, he’s a guy that can flat-out ball underneath and if he has a quarterback that can be in rapport with him, I guarantee you can get at least 70 catches [out of Crowder] in an offense [like] Kansas City.
Sanudo makes an interesting point, Crowder’s skill set thrives underneath and we’ve seen Mahomes check the ball short in 2021 more than any other season since his arrival. If defenses want to take away the long ball, Brett Veach should find the Chiefs QB a legitimate possession receiver that can run more dynamic routes than Hardman and Pringle from the slot.
Crowder is that at his core and while he offers more on occasion, his presence could help open things up for Hill, Kelce and the others.
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How Much Would Crowder Cost?
The next question when discussing potential free-agent acquisitions is always the price. Crowder took a 50% pay cut to remain with the Jets in 2021, so you wouldn’t have to break the bank to get him.
During their initial 2022 free agency ranking, Pro Football Focus projected that the 28-year old wide receiver (29 next season) will make approximately $4.5 million on the open market ($3.5 guaranteed) in a one-year deal.
PFF wrote: “Crowder is a reliable slot receiver, dropping just four passes on 135 targets since 2020, and has garnered at least six targets in seven of his eight games played this season. However, his 3.3 yards after the catch per reception so far in 2021 is a career-low by almost 1.5 yards.”
They concluded: “Crowder would be an upgrade at slot receiver for most NFL teams. Seventy-six percent of his career snaps have come inside, and he is a specialist in that role.”
Kansas City doesn’t roster a true slot receiver right now, even though they should. This could be the perfect fit for both parties involved.