The countdown to the Patrick Mahomes II era in Kansas City began the moment the Chiefs traded up to select the strong-armed quarterback in the first round of last year’s draft.
Officially Sylvester Williams Color Rush Jersey , it is down to about six weeks.
Practically, it has already reached zero.
The Chiefs agreed to trade veteran quarterback Alex Smith to the Washington Redskins late Monday, a deal that will become official with the start of the new league year on March 14. In doing so, the Chiefs made a bold statement that they’re ready for Mahomes, a prolific passer during his college days at Texas Tech, to assume the starting job for the foreseeable future.
Mahomes dazzled coach Andy Reid and his staff during training camp, making the kinds of downfield throws that Smith could never accomplish. And when he made his regular-season debut in Week 17, when the Chiefs were already assured of the AFC West title and the No. 4 seed in the playoffs, he not only played well but returned in the fourth quarter to lead the winning drive against the Broncos.
It was the kind of performance – and the kind of moxie – that made Reid draw comparisons to another of his prot锟絞锟絪 from his days with the Packers: Brett Favre.
Those are big shoes to fill. Then again, so are the ones Smith is leaving behind.
For all the angst he caused fans by going 1-4 in the playoffs, Smith succeeded in stabilizing a franchise that had been turning over quarterbacks for years. He went 50-26 as a starter and made a couple of Pro Bowl appearances, setting a slew of franchise records in the process.
”Alex, you are the definition of a true leader and your professionalism helped me grow as a player,” Chiefs offensive guard Laurence Duvernay-Tardif said in a statement posted to Twitter.
”Can’t say enough about the type of friend and teammate Alex Smith has been since getting to Kansas City,” Chiefs fullback Anthony Sherman said, adding ”the Sherman family will miss the Smith family.”
Yet the Chiefs knew they were going to move on from Smith in part because of the hefty price tag that came with the final year of his contract. And his strong performance last season made Smith a hot commodity with at least five teams along with the Redskins.
That bidding war, even this early in the offseason, drove up the Chiefs’ asking price.
They wound up solving more than one problem in the trade with Washington: The Chiefs, drained of draft picks by previous trades, got a third-round choice in April; they acquired Kendall Fuller, one of the league’s top slot cornerbacks and a potential starter on the outside opposite Marcus Peters; and they freed up nearly $16 million in salary cap space to make additional moves in free agency.
Kansas City now has a pick in the second round and two in the third Kerryon Johnson Color Rush Jersey , along with selections in the later rounds, which could be used to address other pressing issues on defense.
Fuller certainly addressed one of them. He was a first-round talent who dropped to the third round coming out of Virginia Tech because of injury concerns, yet has played to a first-round grade – and stayed healthy – during his first two seasons with in the league. Scot McCloughan, the former Redskins general manager who drafted him in 2016, said on Twitter shortly after news of the trade broke: ”I would never have traded Kendall. He can play inside and outside, he’s high character, young and a football player.”
He’s also a bargain. Fuller will count $647,500 against the salary cap in 2018 and $750,000 the next season, giving the Chiefs a starting-caliber cornerback at a discount rate.
The Chiefs are expected to free up additional cap space by restructuring or moving on from some of their veterans, such as linebackers Tamba Hali and Derrick Johnson. That in turn gives them some financial flexibility to sign some of their young stars to long-term deals – Peters and wide receiver Tyreek Hill, for example – or pursue help for their shortcomings in free agency.
They could still use help in the defensive backfield, linebacker and pass rush remains an issue, the offensive line needs additional depth and the wide receiver corps could use another target.
Now that the Chiefs have found a trade partner for Smith, the work in those areas begins.
Cubs manager Joe Maddon tried almost every move in the book, but it wasn’t enough to prevent a second consecutive shutout loss to the Milwaukee Brewers.
Lorenzo Cain homered and Jhoulys Chacin combined with three relievers on a six-hitter to pace the Brewers past Chicago, 1-0 on Wednesday, even as Maddon used two pitchers and a catcher in left field in the eighth inning.
The Brewers improved to 3-8 this season against the Cubs and moved 1 1/2 games ahead of second-place Chicago in the NL Central. Seven of the 11 games between the two have been shutouts, five by Chicago.
”We’re a good baseball team and we know they’re a good baseball team,” Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. ”This series wasn’t going to decide anything, but we know that that’s a team that’s going to be there in the end Tracy Walker Color Rush Jersey , so wins against them are important.”
Chacin (6-1) allowed four hits in six innings, striking out seven and walking four to win his sixth consecutive decision. Jeremy Jeffress pitched the seventh, Josh Hader struck out the side in the eighth and Cory Knebel worked a perfect ninth for his sixth save.
”Their guy was really good at keeping us off-balance,” Maddon said. ”He is not overpowering by any means but he pitches well. Sometimes that gives us a lot of trouble when a guy can pitch like that. We had a couple opportunities. We didn’t square him up at all really.”
Mike Montgomery (2-2) allowed only two hits in six innings, both by Cain. He struck out four and walked one in his fourth start since replacing injured Yu Darvish in the rotation.
Cain drove a 3-1 pitch over the wall in left with one out in the third for his eighth homer. He also opened the first inning with a single.
”It was the only run today, but it ended up winning us a ballgame,” Cain said. ”That just shows how great of a job the pitching has been doing. We’ve definitely got to get going and score some more runs. We’re definitely putting too much pressure on our pitchers as a whole.”
To open the eighth, Maddon brought in right-hander Steve Cishek, who gave up an infield single to Orlando Arcia. Cishek then moved to left field for the first time in his eight-year career as left-hander Brian Duensing came on and struck out pinch-hitter Eric Thames.
Duensing then moved to left, also for the first time in his career, and Cishek returned to the mound to retire Cain on a fielder’s choice. Duensing came back to pitch with left field being turned over to catcher Willson Contreras, who made a running catch on Christian Yelich’s drive into the corner for the third out.
”It just popped,” Maddon said. ”(Kyle) Schwarber making the last out, the pitcher coming up third. And the way their batting order set up, it just played out perfectly. You can’t always do it but it worked out today.”
The Cubs won Monday’s series opener 7-2 with five runs in the 11th, but managed just two hits in Tuesday’s 4-0 loss.
”We played well the first game but we only got two runs up to the 11th inning of that game and then shutout-shutout,” Maddon said. ”We almost should be grateful we won one out of three.”
The Brewers stranded runners at third in each of the first two innings. In the second, rightfielder Jason Heyward prevented a run, charging in for a sensational sliding grab on Erik Kratz’s one-out sinking liner and then recovering quickly to hold Hernan Perez at third.
Duensing, who said he last played left field in high school in 2001, was apprehensive when Cain came to the plate in the eighth. ”I was praying he would stay away from Lorenzo Cain Da'Shawn Hand Color Rush Jersey ,” Duensing said of Cishek. ”It looked like he was trying to hook one (to left) and I was not appreciative of that. Cishek got the job done so were able to get through there and give our team a chance.”
Maybe because it didn’t affect the outcome, Counsell admired Maddon’s ingenuity. ”It was creative. It was smart. They got matchups they wanted. He did a nice job.”
With a day off on Thursday, struggling third baseman Kris Bryant was held out to give him two days rest. Bryan is hitless in his last 15 at-bats and has not homered since May 14. Even trailing 1-0 in the ninth, Maddon resisted the urge to use Bryant as a pinch-hitter. ”He has been struggling a lot,” Maddon said. ”Theoretically it sounds wonderful. But I thought (Chris) Gimenez had some good swings today. It’s an easy dialogue to conjure up but I was really trying to give him the day off.”
CAIN JOINS COUNSELL IN BREWERS LORE
The Brewers 1-0 victory over the Cubs was only the second in the all-time series. Milwaukee’s only other 1-0 win was on July 5, 2004 at Miller Park in which Counsell provided the only run with a first-inning homer.
Cubs: RHP Yu Darvish, on the 10-day DL (right triceps tendinitis) and RHP Carl Edwards, also on the DL (right shoulder inflammation), each came through Tuesday’s bullpen session well, Maddon said.
Brewers: RHP Matt Albers, on the 10-day DL (right shoulder discomfort), will continue treatment throughout the weekend, and then be reassessed. … RHP Zach Davies, on the 10-day DL retroactive to May 30 (right rotator cuff inflammation), threw a bullpen session Wednesday, but is at least three weeks away and will need two or three rehab outings, Counsell said.
Cubs: Chicago is off Thursday, then heads to St. Louis for a three-game series against the Cardinals. Left-hander Jon Lester (7-2, 2.22) starts for the Cubs, oppose
Spam goes here
1 post • Page 1 of 1