KANSAS CITY, Mo. The Kansas City Chiefs signed Tyreek Hill to a three-year, $54 million contract extension Friday, locking up the playmaking wide receiver whose off-the-field issues left his future in the NFL in question just a couple months ago.
The deal includes a $5.8 million signing bonus and $35.2 million in guarantees, a person with knowledge of the details told The Associated Press. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the Chiefs do not disclose the terms of contracts.
”I hope he can still run that fast with all that money in his pocket,” coach Andy Reid quipped after Friday’s walk-through ahead of the Chiefs’ opener Sunday in Jacksonville.
The length of the deal protects the Chiefs from investing too heavily in a dynamic player with a checkered past while also giving the 25-year-old Hill the chance for another payday down the road.
”We’re pleased we were able to reach an agreement with Tyreek to keep him in a Chiefs uniform for the foreseeable future,” general manager Brett Veach said. ”He understands our expectations of him as a member of this team and community. This extension is contingent upon the conditions Tyreek agreed to adhere to upon his return to the team in July.
”Tyreek is an elite player in this league and has played a major role in our team’s success,” Veach said, ”and we’re pleased that he’ll continue to make an impact for us.”
Hill was barred from the Chiefs facility all offseason after audio surfaced in which his then-fiancee accused ill of hurting their 3-year-old son. It prompted an investigation by the district attorney, another by the NFL and another by the Kansas Department for Children and Families.
Local authorities were the first to clear Hill after finding no evidence to support the alleged abuse. The NFL cleared Hill the week before training camp, at which point the Chiefs announced that he was free to resume working with the team in advance of this season.
”I’m grateful for the opportunity to continue my playing career here in Kansas City,” Hill said in a statement. ”Kansas City is my home, and I appreciate the love and support from (team owner) Clark Hunt, coach (Andy) Reid and Brett Veach, along with my coaches and teammates.”
Hill, who was kicked off the team at Oklahoma State for another domestic violence incident, was a lightning rod the moment he entered the league. But he’s largely stayed out of trouble while becoming one of the best wide receivers in the NFL, and that has endeared him to the Chiefs fanbase.
He received a standing ovation when he took the field for their first open practice of camp.
”You know all the things we do with him and all the places we put him,” Reid said. ”He’s a special player. You look through the league, you talk to people in the league, I think you understand that. And then you can tell by our offense and how we use him that he’s important to the offense.”
The Chiefs had been working on an extension before the summer-long suspension, and those talks quickly resumed once Hill was cleared to play. He was entering the final year of his rookie deal and the Chiefs were limited in their options – they could have franchised him after this season, but that would have prevented them from potentially using the tag on star defensive tackle Chris Jones.
The structure of the deal, along with the timing of it, also helps the Chiefs when it comes to the eventual signing of MVP quarterback Patrick Mahomes to an extension after this season.
”I mean if you ever watch him, he has to have, like a 45- to 50-inch vertical. I mean, the dude can just jump out of the gym,” Mahomes said. ”When you know you have a guy like that and for a small guy he is really muscular so he uses his body well, so I just try to put it up there and give him a chance to make a play, and he’s been making them like he did all last season.”
Hill is coming off his best season, catching 87 passes for a club-record 1,479 yards with 12 touchdowns. He also ran 22 times for 151 yards and another score, and was again one of the best punt returners in the game, taking one back for a touchdown for the fourth time in his career.
Perhaps most importantly, he developed into a well-rounded wide receiver.
He has always been among the fastest players in the game, but Hill has worked meticulously on his route-running and hands. Even when he was suspended this past offseason, he participated in long, on-their-own workouts with Mahomes and the rest of the Chiefs’ wide receivers.
”His teammates were always on board with him. That wasn’t an issue at all,” Reid said. ”They worked out all summer together. So him stepping back in was no big deal. I don’t think there ever was a question with his teammates when he wasn’t here. They understood the situation.”