Chiefs TE Travis Kelce ‘extremely grateful’ for new deal

May 1, 2024 – 2:22 PM PDT

Kansas City Chiefs' Travis Kelce before the game REUTERS/Mike Blake/File Photo
Kansas City Chiefs’ Travis Kelce before the game REUTERS/Mike Blake/File Photo

Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce wanted more money but was not interested in executing a leverage play as a means to get it.


Kelce, as it turns out, got what he wanted as the Chiefs reworked his contract, pumping up his salary to $34.25 million over the next two seasons. The $17.125 million per year represents the highest average annual salary among all NFL tight ends.

“I’m not a guy that sits out,” Kelce said on the “New Heights” podcast with his brother, Jason. “I’m not a guy that holds out. I’m a guy that loves coming into the building, and the Chiefs know that. So, for them to want to get this done for me knowing how much blood, sweat and tears that I put into this thing, I’m extremely grateful.”

Kelce, 34, was in line to earn $12 million in 2024 and $16.25 million in 2025 prior to the deal.

“I’m so excited and so thankful to this organization for getting it done, making me feel appreciated and compensated the right way, and on top of that I got to move the needle for the tight end room,” Kelce said. “It’s everyone else’s job to keep making that tight end AAV (average annual value) go up and up with every single contract that’s better than mine in the future.

“I’m so fricking thankful to (general manager) Brett Veach, (president) Mark Donovan, Coach (Andy) Reid — Big Red, I love you, big guy — and obviously (team owner) Clark Hunt. The Hunt family has been unbelievable to not only myself and this Kansas City community, but they’ve just been so generous since I’ve been here in making it feel like home. For the past (11) years I’ve been able to make this place exactly that and I’ve loved every single second of it and I’m going to love the next two years playing here in Kansas City and we’ll see what happens after that.”

Kelce was set to become a free agent after the 2025 season as part of a four-year, $57.25 million deal he signed in August 2020.

The nine-time Pro Bowl selection was due to be fourth among NFL tight ends in annual salary in 2024, behind Darren Waller (New York Giants), T.J. Hockenson (Minnesota Vikings) and George Kittle (San Francisco 49ers).

Kelce led the Chiefs with 93 receptions for 984 yards and five touchdowns in 2023. Kelce sat out Week 17 against the Los Angeles Chargers, forgoing a chance to stretch his streak of consecutive 1,000-yard seasons to eight in order to enter the playoffs healthy.

Kelce has 907 receptions for 11,328 yards and 74 touchdowns in 159 regular-season games with the Chiefs since he was drafted in the third round in 2013.

–Field Level Media

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