Chiefs TE Travis Kelce’s Backup Presumably ‘Not Coming Back’ - Sport News

Chiefs TE Travis Kelce’s Backup Presumably ‘Not Coming Back’

The Kansas City Chiefs are working to improve their roster ahead of the 2024 NFL season. After re-signing Chris Jones to a five-year, $158.57 million extension, they won’t be wildly active in free agency. But they are making moves.

Blake Bell says re-signing with Kansas City Chiefs was a 'no-brainer'

On Tuesday, March 12, ESPN’s Adam Schefter broke the news that former Cincinnati Bengals tight end Irv Smith Jr. is joining the Chiefs. Smith is signing a one-year, $1.3 million deal, per The 33rd Team’s Ari Meirov.

While Smith’s signing isn’t a big splash move, it appears to signal that tight end Blake Bell won’t remain in Kansas City.

Bell, drafted in the fourth round of the 2015 NFL draft, closed out his fourth season with the Chiefs. After helping the Chiefs win the 2020 Super Bowl, he spent a year with the Dallas Cowboys before returning to Kansas City in 2021. Last March, he signed a one-year, $1.2 million contract with the Chiefs.

Behind starting tight end Travis Kelce and Noah Gray on the depth chart, Bell finished the regular season with just five receptions for 26 yards and a touchdown. Referred to as “The Belldozer” by supporters, his contributions come more as a blocking tight end and special teamer.

Fox 4 KC’s P.J. Green posted, “Presuming that Blake Bell is not coming back… Irv Smith Jr. was lauded for his athletic ability coming out of Bama but has surprised folks with his blocking since being drafted to the Vikings and then to Cincy… Chiefs could actually get some useful reps from TE3 this season.”

610 Sports KC’s Cody Tapp called Smith, “The Blake Bell replacement,” while his co-host, Alex Gold, posted, “Blake Bell is retiring isn’t he.”

Blake Bell’s Wife Is Incredibly Close With Brittany Mahomes & Taylor Swift

Bell’s limited contributions won’t have Chiefs Kingdom missing the 32-year-old veteran on the roster. The Kansas City Star’s Sam McDowell urged the Chiefs to let him walk in free agency.

“The backup tight end job in Kansas City isn’t what it used to be,” McDowell wrote. “It comes with a bit of an increased work load. The Chiefs are using more multiple tight-end sets and trying to give Travis Kelce additional plays off. They’ll be asking for more from these spots.”

Off the field, however, Bell’s wife, Lyndsay Bell, became best friends with Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes‘ wife, Brittany Mahomes. This past season, she also grew close with Kelce’s girlfriend, Taylor Swift.

Speaking to reporters before earning his third Super Bowl ring in Las Vegas, Bell was asked about Lyndsay’s friendship with Swift. Bell admitted that his wife was a Swiftie before the singer joined Chiefs Kingdom. Overall, he was just happy Lyndsay created such tight bonds in Kansas City.

“She’s been blessed to have great friends on the team,” Bell said. “The wives have been so kind to her. They have their little crew and she’s enjoying it.”

Irv Smith Is Seen as an Upgrade Over Blake Bell

The reaction to the Chiefs signing Smith was lukewarm at best. Originally drafted by the Minnesota Vikings in the second round of the 2019 NFL draft, he’s largely failed to live up to expectations.

His best season was back in 2020, he caught 30 receptions for 365 yards and five touchdowns in 13 game appearances. After signing with the Bengals ahead of the 2023 NFL season, Smith registered 18 receptions for 115 yards and one score in 12 game appearances. However, as a depth piece, he’s seen as an upgrade over Bell.

Smith’s addition could signal the Chiefs’ plan to use more of a 13-personnel next season. AtoZ Sports’ Charles Goldman wrote of the 25-year-old, “He’s had less than 100 total blocking snaps in each of his past two seasons, but in his first two years with Minnesota, he was used more frequently and effectively as a blocker.”

Unlike Bell, “Smith is more of a H-Back type, who can align on the wings in the backfield. He could even wind up playing some fullback for Andy Reid… He’s no slouch as a receiver, though he has no single season with over 365 yards receiving. In his four seasons in the NFL, Smith has 109 receptions for 979 yards and 10 touchdowns.

“His value as a receiver seems to come from the variety of different spots that he can align, especially once you get into red zone territory.”

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