‘I wanted to keep him, for sure’ – QB Mahomes reflects on Tyreek Hill decision

Patrick Mahomes surprisingly revealed that he wanted to keep star wide receiver Tyreek Hill for this season, but he had confidence in Kansas City Chiefs general manager Brett Veach’s plan.

Hill, 28, was drafted by the Chiefs in the fifth round in 2015, and is likely on track to make the Pro Football Hall of Fame after becoming one of the most devastating offensive weapons in league history.

He made the Pro Bowl every year from 2016-2022, and this season earned his fourth First Team All-Pro selection after setting career highs with 119 receptions and 1710 yards with the Miami Dolphins.

Veach said there were warning signs early in free agency that Hill would demand an exorbitant contract for a receiver, and he had to make the painful decision to prioritize the defensive side of the ball instead.

“It was clear as free agency began, given the progression of wide receiver contracts, that it would be difficult to do both. [extend Hill and address the defense],” he said.

The Chiefs knew some tough calls were in the offing after Mahomes signed his 10-year, $450 million contract with the NFL, as his salary increased from $8m in 2021 to $35m this season .

Hill ended up signing a four-year, $120m deal – and in a league with a salary cap, something had to give.

“Everyone knew what the next two or three years would look like and how many players we could cut and how difficult things would be,” he said. “We would have a lot of expensive players.

“It’s hard to be successful in this league year after year. It’s hard to win games year after year. There’s going to be times when we have to step out there and do something uncomfortable.

“Nobody wanted to lose Tyreek – he’s a great player. But if you’re going to do something, trust the process and trust to do things and don’t be afraid to commit that you change a year earlier when you have more capacity. to make those changes work better.”

Veach said he is willing to make such a franchise call because of his belief that the franchise cannot afford to lose any seasons with Mahomes at the helm.

“When you have Pat Mahomes, we tend to go after him every year,” he said.

Mahomes himself said it was no secret that he wanted to re-sign Hill and keep the band together after winning the Super Bowl in 2020, but he understood all the moving pieces.

“I wanted to keep him, for sure,” he said. “They had a plan for him, though.

“They told me the plan and we were going to get these draft picks. We were going to go out there and bring in some free agent receivers, and I think they executed that.

“We know we have to keep developing, keep getting better. I always want to be successful this year, but at the same time, I’m here for the long haul.

“If we are going to be long here, I want to have the opportunity to win Super Bowls every year.”

The Chiefs’ other offensive star, Travis Kelce, said he had concerns after the Hill trade, including how effective the Chiefs could be on offense and what it might mean for him.

“Yes, it was a question,” he said. “But when I saw how hard people were working, paying attention to details, how Pat continues to progress as a quarterback… Right now, we’re in a good routine so we’re getting even better.

“You could feel that from the day we started in May until now.”

Mahomes is in his fifth year as a starter, and after another stellar season he looks to add a second MVP to his resume, as well as a fourth All-Pro selection, as he prepares for a chance at his second championship.

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