The Kansas City Chiefs are going into 2022 without their best receiver, Tyreek Hill.
The team would trade him to the Miami Dolphins for five draft picks.
Without Hill, quarterback Patrick Mahomes will need tight end Travis Kelce more than ever.
Kelce is one of the best tight ends in the NFL.
He has six straight seasons of 1,000 or more receiving yards.
Overlooked a bit in tonight’s result: Travis Kelce now has 1,066 receiving yards on the season, extending his record for consecutive 1,000-yard seasons for a TE to six.
He needs 350 yards in the next three games to match his record for most yards in a season by a TE.
— Matt Derrick (@mattderrick) December 17, 2021
The production he gives Mahomes is key to the Chiefs’ success.
But without Hill, what does the future hold for Kelce?
Defenses Have More Freedom To Focus On Kelce
Having both Hill and Kelce meant that defenses going against the Chiefs had to pick one to double-team.
Without the threat of Hill, defenses can now focus on Kelce in the game.
Travis Kelce after going from double teamed to triple teamed pic.twitter.com/UAx9RVyOd1
— Gavin Houser (@houser_gavin) March 23, 2022
The stats that he puts up warrant this from defenses.
Kelce’s best season was in 2020, where he had 105 receptions for 1,416 yards and 11 touchdowns.
Some number one receivers on teams don’t even get numbers like this in a season.
Kelce’s stats are pretty consistent too in his years with the team.
That now makes him the clear number one on the team with Hill moving on to Miami.
The pressure of being the top guy will see if he can keep up his production or if teams can finally stop him.
Can Kansas City’s New Receivers Keep The Pressure Off Kelce?
The Chiefs signed two new receivers during the off-season to help the team.
Those two players are JuJu Smith-Schuster and Marquez Valdes-Scantling.
Smith-Schuster was the number one in Pittsburgh after Antonio Brown left the team.
However, he never played up to that number one receiver status.
Valdes-Scantling played behind Davante Adams in Green Bay, making him a solid number two.
These two are now going to be the players to take the heat off Kelce during games.
But will they be able to accomplish this feat?
They can do that, more so with Valdes-Scantling than Smith-Schuster.
That is because of his experience with the Packers in being that guy to take off pressure from the best receiver.
Kelce will need them at their best to continue his phenomenal production on the field.
Is Kelce Ready To Be The Number One Guy In Kansas City?
When you look at the game film of Kelce, there is no doubt he is ready to be number one.
The stats over his last six years with the team show he is a beast on the field.
Any NFL player would love to have the production he has year after year.
He is a physical player, and he isn’t afraid to go for the ball when needed.
Mahomes also trusts him with the ball, as he is one of Mahomes’ top targets in the red zone.
With everything that we have seen, Kelce is ready to be the number one guy in Kansas City.
However, he will need to stay healthy for Mahomes and the team.
If he can maintain a clean bill of health in 2022, we could see Kelce have a record-breaking season.