'Grateful' Kelce wasn't going to hold out for deal



KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Travis Kelce informed the Kansas City Chiefs he wanted a pay raise for the two seasons remaining on his contract but knew he was making the request at a major negotiating disadvantage.

Kelce wasn’t going to hold out to get it. He wasn’t even going to threaten a holdout, and the Chiefs, after 11 seasons with Kelce, were well aware.

“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.”

The Chiefs this week gave Kelce the raise, one that makes him the highest-paid NFL tight end with an average salary of $17.125 million over the next two seasons. Kelce had been scheduled to make $12 million next season and $16.25 million in 2025.

“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,” he 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’s raise follows the new contract the Chiefs gave to defensive tackle Chris Jones in March. The Chiefs also gave quarterback Patrick Mahomes a raise last fall.

“We got the nucleus together and paid, baby,” Kelce said. “Everybody got paid this offseason. I love it.”



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