In lieu of the 2019 NFL season, Kansas City Chiefs star Wide Receiver Tyreek Hill was cleared by the Chiefs to resume practice with the team as normal. The news came days after the NFL made the decision to not suspend Hill following allegations of child abuse against his 3-year old son.
As we know, allegations are nothing new for Tyreek Hill. In Dec. 2014, Hill was arrested and charged, while attending Oklahoma State, with domestic abuse of his pregnant girlfriend. Following the arrest Hill was removed from the Oklahoma State Cowboys football team, before landing at West Alabama and ultimately being drafted in the 5th round in the 2016 NFL draft by Kansas City.
Days before training camp Kansas City Chiefs Coach, Andy Reid, was questioned about Hill’s return. “We have trust in Tyreek..” “Ive had the chance to talk to him, on the phone, in person, and Ive spent quite a bit of time with him, actually. He’s remorseful that he’s had to go put all of us through what we went through and he had to go through,” Reid said. ” He wants to get back and wants to do what he needs to do to be a father and to be a player here.” Even though the league made the decision not to suspend Hill, the NFL also decided to leave open the possibility of revisiting Hill’s situation if additional information comes forward. So, where does that leave Tyreek Hill and the Kansas City Chiefs……….?
In the 2019 NFL Draft, the Chiefs traded up in the second round to draft Mecole Hardman, Wide Receiver from The University of Georgia. Hardman was considered by many as “insurance” to Tyreek Hill’s investigation. Hardman, much like Hill, was compared to the likes of Devin Hester coming out of college. All similar in size, prolific in the return game, blazing 4.2 speed, and the tools to be a great NFL player. “He’s the closest thing to Devin Hester that Ive seen in a long time.” Chiefs special teams coach Dave Toub stated regarding Hardman. Kansas City’s wide receiver coach Greg Lewis was also impressed. If you would have asked most scouts, players, or fans , Hardman was drafted simply to replace Tyreek Hill…a task that could still be a possibility in Kansas City.
Prior to Hill’s allegations, Hill’s agent, Drew Rosenhaus, and the Chiefs were in constant discussion of a contract extension that would have cost the Chiefs an unprecedented amount for a wide receiver in today’s league. Hill is entering the final year of his four-year rookie contract and has career highs for catches and touchdown receptions and posted a franchise-record 1,479 receiving yards last season as a Chief. The standard came when Atlanta Falcons paid Julio Jones $20m and the New Orleans Saints and Michael Thomas, very respectively (per source), looking for $20 million a year over at least 5 years. Tyreek Hill, who made his first Pro Bowl as a wide receiver, is 4 years younger than Julio Jones. The Chiefs now have to decide whether to pay Hill or Defensive Lineman Chris Jones, who is also in his contract year. Jones, who has opted to hold out for a long term contract, also missed OTA’s in May. Jones leads the Chiefs with 15.5 sacks during the 2018 football season. With the Chiefs adopting a new defensive strategy, we are told that Jones plays a very critical role in their 4-3 defensive scheme.
With the Kansas City Chiefs defense ranking 31st in the NFL last season, the firing of Bob Sutton, and releasing of some of the biggest names on the Chiefs roster this offseason, I can see the Chiefs opting to spend that available money on the defensive side of the ball. Kansas City has added defensive Coordinator Steve Spagnuolo, Safety Tyron Mathieu, Defensive End Frank Clarke, Defensive End Alex Okafor, and more to fit the new Spagnuolo 4-3 defense.
Now with young superstar Quarterback Patrick Mahomes being touted as the face of the Kansas City offense, Travis Kelce back, and Sammy Watkins predicted to have a standout season, I believe the biggest tell for Tyreek Hill’s future with the Chiefs lies in the hands of Rookie receiver Mecole Hardman. If Hardman proves to be able to contribute right away, and learn from Hill during training camp, don’t be surprised if the Chiefs find a way to have Hill putting up ‘deuces’ leaving Kansas City.