Backing His Words From Days Ago With Robust Action, Patrick Mahomes Shows Why Chiefs Might Not Need DeAndre Hopkins Despite Fist Fight With Buffalo Bills

Published 06/01/2023, 3:50 AM EDT

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Does Patrick Mahomes really need a top wide receiver on his side to reach the pinnacle of footballing success? The 2022-23 season proved anything but so. After the NFL’s fastest pass catcher, Tyreek Hill darted off to join the Dolphins, Mahomes made do with his future Hall of Famer tight end Travis Kelce. And for the most part, No 87 has been the perfect weapon for PM15. This week a social media video from the Chiefs showed another secret receiving force in the making that might make free agent DeAndre Hopkins’ Kansas City goal hard to achieve. 

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When Mahomes expressed his faith in his receiving core recently, fans assumed the conversation included Kadarius Toney, Skyy Moore, and Marquez Valdes-Scantling. However, the depth chart goes far beyond that. So who is this secret weapon that Patrick Mahomes is choosing over 5x Pro Bowler Hopkins?

Justyn Ross impresses Patrick Mahomes and fans in OTAs with his electric display 

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Clemson wide receiver Justyn Ross missed the entire 2022 season with a foot injury. However, that didn’t stop the Chiefs from claiming their second Lombardi trophy in four years. This year, the red-and-white threat looms larger on rival franchises with Ross up and running. Pat Mahomes and Ross showed off their chemistry recently during the Kansas City Chiefs OTAs. And lo-and-behold, it was a treat for the sore eyes. 

The 2x Super Bowl MVP connected with the Clemson Tigers pass-catcher on a dime route that left even Mahomes surprised. 

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Justyn Ross caught 112 passes over 1865 yards, and scored 17 touchdowns in 28 appearances during his first two Clemson years, catching for present-day Jaguars QB1 Trevor Lawrence. However, his stellar form was cut short by a congenital spinal fusion treatment, causing him to sit out the entire 2020 season. Although he returned in 2021, Ross went undrafted in the 2022 NFL draft. Luckily, the Chiefs signed him within days of the draft. “The talent is through the roof,” Pat Mahomes had described Ross back in April. And boy, is it paying off for Andy Reid’s men! 

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So much so that they are not even giving a second thought to former Cardinals WR1 DeAndre Hopkins, who has openly expressed his desire to join Mahomes. “I think we’re deep at receiver,” Mahomes recently said about their need for the 10-year veteran wideout. However, a more significant threat lingers. 

Will the Hopkins decision backfire on the Chiefs?

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The AFC is already a hotbed of Super Bowl contenders. Josh Allen and the Buffalo Bills definitely rank high on that list. They also rank high on the list of the teams DeAndre Hopkins wants to join next season. With Stefon Diggs already in his arsenal, Josh Allen could do much more with 31-year-old Hopkins on the side.

It’s not just the wide receiver depth chart that is dissuading the Chiefs from pursuing DeAndre Hopkins. There is also the complication of available cap space. DeAndre Hopkins was the highest-paid wide receiver in the league before leaving Arizona with a $27.25 million annual payout. And the Chiefs have less than $2 million in cap space available.

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Will Hopkins and Josh Allen make Mahomes regret his decision? Or will Justyn Ross prove to be the undrafted gem that the NFL is quite accustomed to witnessing?

WATCH THIS STORY: Tom Brady pays tribute to the GOAT of the Kentucky Derby as Patrick Mahomes performs a very special duty

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Written by:

Soumyapriyo Ganguly

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Soumyapriyo Ganguly is an NFL writer at EssentiallySports. Ganguly (or Rivu, as he is affectionately known) is a sports enthusiast and a comprehensive all-rounder when it comes to dissecting high-profile matchups. He brings his academic background in Economics and Finance to the fore to provide insights into franchise finances and player contracts.
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Edited by:

Abigail Kevichusa

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