KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The Kansas City Chiefs will have a different look to the wide receiver room again in 2023.
While Beckham Jr. ended up signing with the Baltimore Ravens, Hopkins’ $19.45 million salary is no small price to trade for.
Of the wide receivers currently on the Chiefs roster, Kadarius Toney, Skyy Moore, Justin Watson and Marquez Valdes-Scantling are the only ones that caught passes in games for the Chiefs last season. Free agent pickup Richie James was the New York Giants’ second leading receiver.
Some fans have shared disdain for the Chiefs’ aerial pieces that will be led by tight end Travis Kelce, but the team feels that Toney and Moore will flourish in their increased roles this season.
“You start off with getting those both those guys in year two of the offense and letting them expand their roles. I think you can, you can see it, especially with Skyy at end of the season on how he was getting more and more of them involved in the offense,” quarterback Patrick Mahomes said.
“And I think he’ll he’ll continue to take those steps and be even better this next year. When he’s being he’s more comfortable, he can utilize his talents even more.
Mahomes sees the potential in Toney, too.
“With Kadarius, I mean, I think y’all saw the upside this last year of how special of a talent he can be.
“And so to have him in that offense another year, have him working with Coach Reid and how we practice in training camp, I think he’ll have his body in the best shape that you could possibly be in to go out there and be healthy all season long and so we’re excited for those guys to take that those next steps within this offense.”
Head coach Andy Reid said it’s important they both continue to grow.
“KT… he’s not like a seasoned veteran in the league. He’s still a relatively young guy and young in this offense. So growth will be important. How they handle this offseason how they handle training camp that whole workload that comes with it, but I’m expecting good things from them for sure,” Reid said.
“They’re wired the right way, and they just gotta keep improving and developing that relationship with Pat.”
Mahomes and several receivers are down in Texas training, and Moore and MVS have been teaching some of the other receivers about the routes in the offense.
Second-year receiver Justyn Ross missed his rookie year to rehab a foot injury. His training clips have energized the fanbase to be hyped for the receiver who was once regarded as a first-round draft pick at Clemson.
Mahomes understands why that is.
“The talent’s through the roof,” Mahomes said.
“I think he’s gotten better and better, and even though he wasn’t active all year long, he was in the building. He was able to see the guys and how we do things and listening and being in some of the meetings and stuff like that,” Mahomes said.
“And so I’m excited for him to get out there and be able to get the reps in practice and get the little fine details that we like to do in this offense.”
The 23-year-old receiver garnered 159 catches, 2,389 yards and 20 touchdowns in college. His 1,000-yard, nine-touchdown freshman-year performance took the college football world by storm as Ross impressed with his jump ball ability and athleticism at 6’4, 205 pounds.
As he works to play in his first NFL season, Mahomes has to slow him down sometimes in training.
“He works his tail off. I’m — man, you gotta ease up a little bit,” Mahomes said. “He wants to run every route 100 times, but you’d rather have to ease up on the guy, make him kind of ease up on himself. But you know he wants to work and to be the best player that he could possibly be.”
The 2022 stats don’t say much for Moore (22 catches, 250 yards) and Toney (171 yards, three total touchdowns), but the Chiefs will be relying on them in 2023 and it sounds like they are preparing well to step up to the challenge.