‘I wanted to keep it, safe’: Chiefs QB Mahomes reflects on Tyreek Hill’s decision

Patrick Mahomes wasn’t surprised that he wanted to keep star receiver Tyreek Hill for this season, but he was confident in Kansas City Chiefs general manager Brett Veach’s plan.

The 28-year-old Hill was drafted by the Chiefs in the fifth round of the 2015 draft, and is likely on his way to being inducted into 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 between 2016 and 2022, earning his fourth First Team All-Pro selection this season after setting career-highs with 119 receptions and 1,710 yards with the Miami Dolphins.

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

“It became clear when free agency started, given the way wide receiver contracts were going up, that it was going to be hard to do both. [extend Hill and address the defense],” he said.

The Chiefs knew tough decisions were ahead after Mahomes signed his NFL-record 10-year, $450 million contract as his salary increased from $8 million in 2021 to $35 million this season.

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

“Everyone knew what the next two or three years would look like and how many players we would potentially have to cut and how difficult things would be,” he said. “We would have had 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 will be times when we have to go 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 how you do things and don’t be afraid to commit to moving a year early when you have more capacity.” to make those changes work better.

Veach said his willingness to make such a game-changing decision for the franchise is attributed to his belief that no season can be wasted by the franchise with Mahomes at the helm.

“When you have Pat Mahomes, we’re prepared 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 it, safe,” he said. “However, they had a plan for that.

“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 it.”

“We know that to continue to be successful in this league we have to continue to evolve, to continue to improve. I always want to be successful this year, but at the same time, I’m going to be here for the long haul.”

“If we’re going to have a long time here, I want to have a chance 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 that could mean for him.

“Yes, that was a question,” he said. “But once I saw how hard guys were working, paying attention to detail, how Pat continues to progress as a quarterback … Right now, we’re in a good rut that we continue to improve on.

“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 spectacular season he is the favorite to add a second MVP to his résumé, as well as a fourth All-Pro selection, as he prepares for a shot at his second championship.

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