Massive WR Contract Extension Proves Travis Kelce is Laughably Underpaid

Travis Kelce had 355 yards and three TDs in the Chiefs' playoff run this year
Travis Kelce had 355 yards and three TDs in the Chiefs' playoff run this year / Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Travis Kelce is one of the most successful NFL player's of his era, a no-doubt Hall of Famer with three Super Bowl rings on his hands already. However, there's also a reasonable case to make that he's the most underpaid pass-catcher of the modern era.

Vikings WR Justin Jefferson signed a record-breaking contract extension on Monday morning, getting $140 million over four years with $110 million guaranteed. That's an AAV of $35 million, a dramatic increase compared to the just over $17 million AAV Kelce got on his new two-year deal.

Kelce has plenty of lucrative off-field opportunities, though Jefferson's contract is a reminder of how laughably underpaid Patrick Mahomes' best weapon is.

Justin Jefferson's New Contract Proves How Underpaid Travis Kelce Is

It makes sense that Jefferson would make more than Kelce. He's only 24 years old with a ludicrous 5,899 receiving yards and 30 TDs in his four-year career. Jefferson is clearly deserving of an outsized contract, though so is Kelce.

During the Chiefs' playoff run that ended in this year's Super Bowl victory, Kelce caught 32 passes for 355 yards and three TDs. He's the most dangerous pass-catcher on the era's best team, an invaluable asset to Kansas City.

However, his earning potential is damaged by the tight end market. Making $17 million per year gives Kelce the NFL's highest salary at the position but isn't even half of what Jefferson will make annually with his deal.

Since Kelce makes less than he's worth, the Chiefs are able to pour resources into other areas like the defense or offensive line. Mahomes is the offense's pilot of course, but he's got a much easier plane to fly thanks to Kelce's contract.

There's a somewhat arbitrary distinction between wide receivers and modern tight ends. Kelce does stay on the line to block at times, though his value in the passing game is what makes him so dangerous.

If you were drafting every offensive player for the upcoming season, it wouldn't take you long to select Kelce. He's clearly worth more than he's making, though I'm grateful for the competitive advantage his salary gives Kansas City.

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