What are the next regular season and playoff career benchmarks that KC Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce can hit by the end of this season?
Future Hall of Famer Travis Kelce is in the midst of another all-pro season. He has set numerous franchise and NFL records in his illustrious career, with more perhaps on the way. The Kansas City Chiefs are poised for another deep playoff run this season, where additional benchmarks for the superstar pass catcher are on the table. There are nine games remaining in the regular season, plus any postseason games Kansas City participates in, that Kelce can add to his career highlights.
Through eight games in the 2022 NFL season, Kelce currently has 57 receptions, 659 yards, and seven receiving touchdowns.
With anywhere from nine to thirteen games remaining for the Kansas City Chiefs, here are nine potential benchmarks (in no particular order) that Travis Kelce can hit by the end of this season:
1. 4th all-time in career receptions by a tight end
Benchmark: Shannon Sharpe with 808
Current Kelce total: 761
48 receptions are required for Travis Kelce to pass Broncos legend Shannon Sharpe for the fourth all-time spot in career receptions by a tight end. That is very achievable, as that is just an average of 5.33 catches per game, and he’s currently averaging 7.13 per game so far in 2022. I’m not sure it will happen against Denver, but it sure would be sweet if he passed the benchmark in the same city where the legend he’s passing played the majority of his career.
2. 4th all-time in career receiving yards by a tight end
Benchmark: Shannon Sharpe with 9,961
Current Kelce total: 9,665
This is a benchmark that Kelce will definitely hit, assuming he stays healthy, by the end of the regular season, as he wouldn’t even have to average 40 yards per game to do so. He could possibly hit 9,962 yards by the end of the month.
3. 5th all-time in career receiving touchdowns by a tight end
Benchmark: Jason Witten with 74
Current Kelce total: 64
This is likely the biggest longshot in this article. I wouldn’t put it past Travis Kelce (the same man who scored four touchdowns in a single game in Week 5) to score 11 touchdowns in nine games, but I’m not calling it a sure thing either. He will absolutely hit 75 career receiving touchdowns at some point next season, at the very latest, assuming he doesn’t retire.
4. Single-season tight end receiving touchdowns record
Benchmark: Rob Gronkowski with 17
Current Kelce total: 7
There isn’t much to say about this one because, like the last benchmark, it also requires Kelce to score 11 receiving touchdowns for the rest of the regular season. If he were to hit 18 touchdowns in a regular season, it would be another argument that Chiefs fans would have to call Travis Kelce the GOAT tight end instead of Rob Gronkowski or our old friend Tony Gonzalez.
5. 2nd all-time in career playoff receptions (any position)
Benchmark: Julian Edelman with 118
Current Kelce total: 106
Kelce still has a long way to go in order to catch Jerry Rice (151) for the most postseason catches in NFL history, but second place is definitely on the table this year. 13 receptions for him is possible if the Chiefs play two playoff games and very likely if they play a third.
6. 2nd all-time in career playoff receiving touchdowns (any position)
Benchmark: Rob Gronkowski with 15
Current Kelce total: 12
This is another benchmark that will require the Kansas City Chiefs to play several playoff games. Kelce has only hit four touchdowns in a single postseason once in his career (2019-20), so this is a benchmark that may have to wait until next year.
7. 2nd all-time in career playoff receiving yards (any position)
Benchmark: Julian Edelman with 1,442
Current Kelce total: 1,291
This is another benchmark that Kelce will almost certainly hit if the Chiefs play at least three postseason games, maybe even just two. 152 yards is a significant number for almost every single tight end in the NFL that isn’t Kansas City’s #87. 152 would be the fifth most ever for a tight end in a postseason game, including a career-high for Travis Kelce (134).
8. Single-season tight end receiving yards record
Benchmark: Travis Kelce with 1,416
Current Kelce total: 659
This is the only NFL record on this list that is currently held by Travis Kelce himself. He set this record in the 2020 season, while only playing 15 games, so in 2022, Travis Kelce has a built-in advantage as he has 17 games to set the record. His current pace is 1,400 yards in 17 games (82.4 yards per game), but he can hit 1,417 yards if he plays all nine remaining games and averages 84.2 yards per game.
9. Career high in receiving touchdowns
Current Kelce total: 7
Similar to the yardage record, Travis Kelce set his career high in receiving touchdowns in the 2020 season. Although it is not a foregone conclusion, I believe he will score at least five more touchdowns during the remainder of the regular season. A lot can go wrong, but the Chiefs’ schedule softening up a little bit will work in Kelce’s favor when it comes to hitting his benchmark touchdown total.
Barring a significant injury and an early playoff exit for the Chiefs, Travis Kelce is very likely to hit several benchmarks before the season is over. Some will be more difficult to obtain than others, but the future Hall of Fame tight end will continue to prove why he’s one of, if not the best, tight ends in the history of football.