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Chiefs sign All-Pro tight end Travis Kelce to a 2-year extension through the 2027 season

The extension would make Kelce the National Football League's highest-paid tight end, though specific financial details were not disclosed.
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Posted at 4:42 PM, Apr 29, 2024

The Chiefs signed Travis Kelce to a two-year contract extension Monday that general manager Brett Veach said would make him the league's highest-paid tight end while keeping him with the Super Bowl champions through the 2027 season.

Kelce signed a four-year, $57.25 million extension with Kansas City in 2020, which followed a $46 million, five-year deal that he signed in 2016. The new extension would keep the 34-year-old Kelce with the club until he is 38 years old.

Veach did not provide a financial breakdown of the latest extension, but he did call it a priority to "adjust his contract" and that "it is very fitting that Travis is now the highest-paid tight end in these two years."

"Hard to put into words what Travis means to this organization and this city," Veach told local reporters on Zoom. "Just a really special day and moment for this organization to once again recognize arguably one of the greatest tight ends to ever do it."

Kelce, who was chosen by the Chiefs in the third round of the 2013 draft, already is their career leader with 11,328 yards receiving. He needs eight receptions to reach 917 and pass Hall of Fame tight end Tony Gonzalez for that record, and three touchdown catches would give him 77, dropping Gonzalez to No. 2 on that franchise list.

Most importantly, Kelce has helped Kansas City win back-to-back Super Bowls and three titles in the past five years.

"Every now and then you have one of these guys that are outliers," Veach said, "and Travis is one of those players. It's not even May yet and today we had a chance to get out there in phase two (off the offseason) and Travis was the first one in line."

It's not just on the field where Kelce is a star, either.

His relationship with pop icon Taylor Swift has taken him to another level of celebrity, while appearances on shows such as "Saturday Night Live" have helped to make him a household name. He hosts one of the most popular podcasts across several genres with his brother and former Eagles center Jason Kelce, and he will soon host a quiz show on Amazon Prime.

Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce waves.

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But it all began on the field, where Kelce has long been considered one of the best tight ends in the game.

He missed the season opener with a knee injury last season, and he skipped the regular-season finale when the Chiefs already were assured of their playoff seeding. Those two games cost him the chance to extend his streak of 1,000-yard seasons to eight; he finished with 984 yards on 93 catches with five touchdown receptions.

When the postseason rolled around, Kelce once again took his performance to another level.

He had seven catches for 71 yards in a wild-card win over Miami, the fourth-coldest game in NFL history. He had five catches for 75 yards and two scores in a divisional win in Buffalo. He had 11 catches for 116 yards and a touchdown in the AFC title game in Baltimore, and capped it all with nine catches for 93 yards in the Super Bowl against San Francisco.

Along the way, Kelce batted down rumors of retirement, saying: "I have no reason to stop playing football. I love it."

"The odds of someone playing this far into their 30s is low," Veach acknowledged, "but it does happen. There are unicorns in the profession and Travis is one of those. He's shown no signs of slowing down."

The extension for Kelce comes one week after the Chiefs announced they had signed Veach, coach Andy Reid team president Mark Donovan to contract extensions. The team did not say how long those deals would last, but they are expected to keep the three most central leadership figures with the franchise through the 2029 season.

Patrick Mahomes, whom Kelce considers one of his closest friends, is under contract through the 2031 season. All-Pro defensive tackle Chris Jones, the third piece of their three-player core, signed a five-year, $158.75 million deal in March.

Along with rewarding Kelce for his continued superlative play, Veach pointed to several young players who will be due contract extensions in the next couple of years as another reason for getting the tight end's long-term situation sorted out.

"We do have some younger guys coming up and like always, once the draft settles down, we'll have a chance to address that," he said. "Travis is an outlier here. We all know that. When you talk about Travis and his career and his legacy here, this is something we wanted to knock out of the park early on and shift our focus onto the young guys coming up."