Will Travis Kelce ever make financial demands from the Chiefs?

Travis Kelce knows he's underpaid, and recently got hurt. Is a time coming when he's going to want more money?
Detroit Lions v Kansas City Chiefs
Detroit Lions v Kansas City Chiefs / David Eulitt/GettyImages

The Kansas City Chiefs really have three stars right now: Patrick Mahomes, Travis Kelce, and Chris Jones. When it comes to contracts, the first two seem settled. Until recently, Chris Jones was a bit more murky, to say the least.

With Jones settled, for now, could Kelce's contract be the next "uh-oh" moment for the Chiefs? Kelce himself has said that he knows he's underpaid, but he "likes winning" more. That sounds like music to the ears of Chiefs fans, who are happy to see Kelce remain the game's greatest tight end ever while in a red uniform.

The recent contract extension of tight end TJ Hockenson with the Minnesota Vikings may through a wrench in things, however. Hockenson signed a 4-year deal worth up to $68 million with $42.5 million guaranteed. The average annual value is a little over $17 million a year.

That's in contrast to Kelce's current rate of $14.3 million, which he's already said is "underpaid". It's hard to argue against it, too. Hockenson may be good, but nobody is drafting him over Kelce in real life or fantasy football even as Kelce hits the mythical old age of 34.

Travis Kelce knows he's underpaid, and recently got hurt. Is a time coming when he's going to want more money?

While $3 million dollars may not seem like a sizable difference, when you add in the fact that Kelce routinely puts up elite wide receiver stats, it only further proves just how underpaid Kelce really is. His former teammate, Tyreek Hill, is getting over $23 million per year with the Dolphins.

It kind of reminds me of Scottie Pippen to Michael Jordan. Jordan needed Pippen, and yet Pippen went vastly underpaid for the majority of his career. Unlike Kelce (so far), Pippen ultimately did voice his displeasure at his contract. And sure enough, when Pippen was finally traded by the Bulls, he was given a lucrative contract, despite his age.

If the Chiefs were to get rid of Kelce today, it's likely there would be an insane bidding war for him. I'd imagine he would make at least $17 million and maybe even push $20 million a year—even on a short 2-3 year contract.

All of this is compounded by Kelce's recent injury that caused the veteran tight end to miss the team's season opener against the Detroit Lions. When all the real wide receivers decided to have bricks for hands, it was glaring that Patrick Mahomes was missing his favorite target.

Kelce has so far decided to stay quiet about his contract and not ask for more money. This is in contrast to his teammate Chris Jones, who had a lengthy holdout that eventually netted him a new payday of almost $30 million (with incentives). Comparing that to Kelce's $14 million seems ridiculous.

Sure they play two different positions, but it's hard to argue that Kelce is worth that much less than Jones. Since Jones's holdout culminated in somewhat of a raise (though some are debating that), I have to wonder if Kelce might start to think the same thing. It didn't help matters that Jones handled his holdout poorly by watching the game from a comfy box seat while Kelce was hyping up his teammates on the field.

To many Chiefs fans that contrast screams, "Pay Kelce instead of Jones!" I don't know if that's the answer, but it only puts the Chiefs into more of a pickle.

With the salary cap expected to rise considerably over the next few years, I think the Chiefs would be wise to get in front of this and give Kelce a raise before his 'I'm underpaid but I like winning.' comments turn into, 'I'm underpaid, I'm getting older, I could get hurt, I'm not playing until I get more.' He's shown good faith and the Chiefs should honor that.