The 8 biggest wide receiver contracts in Chiefs history

Given that the Chiefs weren't willing to make Tyreek Hill the top paid WR in the game, what have they been willing to pay in the past?
Buffalo Bills v Kansas City Chiefs
Buffalo Bills v Kansas City Chiefs / David Eulitt/GettyImages

Given that the Chiefs weren't willing to make Tyreek Hill the top paid WR in the game, what have they been willing to pay in the past?

It's possible that the Kansas City Chiefs have drawn a few conclusions in recent months.

General manager Brett Veach made the decision in 2022 to send future Hall of Famer Tyreek Hill to the Miami Dolphins in exchange for a handful of draft picks, thus removing the pressure to make him the game's highest-paid wide receiver. A deal was in the works, but when Hill wanted to crest the $30 million mark, it proved to be too much and Hill was sent packing.

Since that time, the Chiefs have gone semi-cheap at the position with a series of short-term deals for veterans and golden opportunities for younger players. A signing like Hollywood Brown was only for a single season with a $7 million floor. JuJu Smith-Schuster was approximately half that price.

Why have the Chiefs gone cheap in the last couple of seasons? No complaints here, because it's definitely working. But let's look at the last several expensive deals to see what lessons have been learned, if at all.

1. Tyreek Hill - 3 years, $54 million - 2019

The idea of paying Tyreek on an extension was nothing new since the aforementioned close deal was going to be his third NFL contract. It's just that other wide receivers had reset the market to the point that $30 million was going to be the going rate annually for a player who so obviously deserved it. That's a tough amount for any front office to swallow, and Hill ultimately became cost-prohibitive.

2. Sammy Watkins - 3 years, $48 million - 2018

When Brett Veach took over the Chiefs GM post, it was a chance for him to spend money the way he wanted and he began with the signings of wide receiver Sammy Watkins and linebacker Anthony Hitchens. Both represented attempts to upgrade at key positions but neither worked out as hoped—with Watson's injuries taking their toll while Hitchens would never hit the ceiling expected of him outside of Dallas.

3. Dwayne Bowe - 5 years, $56 million - 2013

John Dorsey is a helluva draft expert, but he's taken his lumps from some of the free-agent deals he offered, and the Dwayne Bowe extension is certainly one of those. Bowe would catch only five more touchdowns for the Chiefs in the next two seasons before leaving the franchise altogether—not at all the finish in KC that was envisioned when offering Bowe's agent this deal in the first place.

4. Jeremy Maclin - 5 years, $55 million - 2015

After finally shedding Bowe's deal, Dorsey had the chance to replace him with an outsider and a familiar face for Andy Reid. The signing of Maclin should have been an ideal signing of a talented player coming home to help steer a talented offense. Instead, a groin injury robbed him of a productive second season and the Chiefs released him before year three of the deal.

5. Marquez Valdes-Scantling - 3 years, $30 million - 2022

MVS was never supposed to be a direct replacement for Tyreek Hill, but he was supposed to help the Chiefs maintain a credible downfield threat offensively for a much lower price. As it turns out, you get what you pay for with the deep ball these days. The good news is even a limited offense in KC is potent enough to get the job done, but that still didn't stop the Chiefs from wiggling out of the agreement this offseason.

6. Chris Chambers - 3 years, $15 million - 2010

In the twilight of his impressive career, mostly with the Miami Dolphins, Chambers had switched teams to the San Diego Chargers only to be released with just over a month left in the 2009 season. The Chiefs picked him up and Chambers looked reinvigorated for the Chiefs, which led to a new three-year deal that offseason. The magic would never return, however, as Chambers disappointed in his first full year in KC and was subsequently released.

7. Steve Breaston - 5 years, $22.55 million - 2011

Five years and $22 million generated 68 catches and 2 touchdowns over the course of two NFL seasons for the Chiefs. (Sense a pattern here?) Breaston would never play again after being released from KC.

8. Johnnie Morton - 7 years, $25.7 million - 2004

Morton deserves credit for putting up solid production for the Chiefs into his mid-thirties over the course of three seasons with the team after almost a full decade with the Lions. But seven seasons? What was Carl Peterson thinking?