NFL Analyst Believes Travis Kelce’s ‘Best Days Are Behind Him’

Travis Kelce

Getty Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce leaves the field during a timeout on December 5, 2021.

Travis Kelce has led the NFL tight end position in receiving yards with the Kansas City Chiefs in three out of the past five seasons and he ranked second the two years he came up short.

Over that span, the future Hall of Famer has accumulated 6,144 yards through the air off of 473 receptions. Kelce also totaled 330 first downs and 39 touchdowns from 2016-2020.

Few football players have ever accomplished a stretch this dominant and with the Chiefs superstar leading his position in yardage once again in 2021, many wonder when the playmaker might finally relinquish his crown. One NFL analyst believes the decline could begin as early as 2022.

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Analyst Projects Regression

Brent Sobleski of Bleacher Report wrote an article detailing one player from each NFL franchise whose “best days are behind him heading into 2022.” For the Chiefs, the analyst chose Kelce.

“To be clear, Travis Kelce remains one of the league’s best tight ends. But his days of setting records for the position are in the past,” Sobleski began.

He elaborated: “Kelce is now 32 years old and a victim of his own greatness. In a 17-game schedule, the three-time first-team All-Pro is on pace to snag 99 passes for 1,201 yards. His current production is a slight downturn compared to the previous three seasons during which the tight end averaged 102 receptions and 1,327 receiving yards. Basically, the argument here is that Kelce is no longer putting up historic numbers year in and year out, though he’s more than capable of staying a featured weapon in the Kansas City Chiefs offense. And that’s OK. Tyreek Hill has assumed the mantle as the Chiefs’ leading receiver. Kelce is still a mismatch, but his usage rate should decline in the coming years as he gets older.”

A 33-year old regression would put him on the path of former Chiefs legend Tony Gonzalez yet again. The Hall of Fame TE had his final 1,000-yard season as a 32-year old in 2008.

‘Tony G’ never really fell off his game but he did hover around 850 yards receiving until he retired following his age 37 campaign. Sobleski is suggesting a similar trajectory for Kelce.

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We’ll Believe It When We See It

If the argument is that Kelce is racing against himself every season, sure, he might lose the battle with father time. Putting that in the category of “best days are behind him,” or past his prime is another story.

Until younger competitors like George Kittle, Mark Andrews and Darren Waller start beating out Kelce in yardage on a consistent basis, his number one rank is just fine in my book.

Through 12 games this season, the Chiefs’ tight end has 70 catches for 848 yards. The next closest is Andrews with 64 catches for 811 yards and rookie Kyle Pitts is third with 49 for 709 yards.

While someone like the 21-year old Pitts is on track to challenge Kelce in the near future, I’ll still put my money on the veteran until proven otherwise.

The Chiefs star is currently under contract through 2025, which would be his age 36 campaign. With no real signs of slowing down this season, Kelce will look to prove Sobleski and the rest of his doubters wrong for as long as he can.


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