14/04/2024

Marquez Valdes-Scantling. (Chiefs.com)

On February 28, 2024, the Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs released veteran wide receiver Marquez Valdes-Scantling. 

Valdes-Scantling was selected by the Green Bay Packers in the fifth round of the 2018 NFL Draft from South Florida. After four seasons with star quarterback Aaron Rogers and the Packers, the Chiefs signed Valdes-Scantling on a three-year, $30 million deal.

In his first season with the Cheifs, Valdes-Scantling had 42 catches for 687 yards in 17 games, including a dominant AFC championship performance in which he had 116 yards and scored a touchdown. 

In the 2023 season, Valdes-Scantling recorded career-low statistics in various categories, with only 21 receptions, 315 receiving yards, and one touchdown in 16 games played.

In the Chiefs’ Week 11 matchup against the Philadelphia Eagles, which served as the 2023 Super Bowl rematch, Valdes-Scantling famously dropped what could have been a 55-yard game-winning touchdown.

After the much-publicised dropped catch, Valdes-Scantling and his family became victims of online harassment. 

“I was told to kill myself,” Valdes-Scantling says, “that they were going to kill me. And I got voice memos about how someone was going to shoot me, everything that you could possibly think of was said.”

Marquez’s mum, Tahisia, also received various calls to her home phone number. One caller strangely told her to watch her back; in another call, a man strongly encouraged her son to start catching the ball.

Flipping the script on all the negativity, Valdes-Scantling had a more than impressive post-season with the eventual back-to-back Super Bowl champions. 

In the Chiefs 2024 divisional round matchup against AFC rivals the Buffalo Bills, Valdes-Scantling came alive in the second half and recorded two receptions for 62 yards. 

(Image: @TheChiefsWire Twitter)

Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes praised Valdes-Scantling in his post-game interview, saying that “no matter what happened all year long, he has kept the mentality that he’s going to keep working for moments like this.”

On January 28th, the Chiefs faced the highly-favoured Baltimore Ravens in the AFC Championship Game. Late in the fourth quarter, the Chiefs held on to a seven-point lead and needed one more first down to put the game out of reach for the Ravens.

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On third-and-9, Mahomes dropped back and lofted a deep ball towards Valdes-Scantling. He caught the ball while falling heavily on his back, sealing the Chiefs’ spot in the Super Bowl.

Valdes-Scantling then went on to score the Chiefs’ first touchdown in Super Bowl LVIII after a muffed punt, which was a crucial contribution to securing their back-to-back title. 

As the Chiefs prepare for a busy off-season, transitioning from celebratory to business mode, they face some challenging decisions ahead. Valdes-Scantling, who was headed for the final season of his three-year deal with the Chiefs, was released on February 29th.

This money-saving move would see the Chiefs save $12 million in cap space.

Parting ways with Valdes-Scantling has helped the Chiefs place a non-exclusive franchise tag on star cornerback L’Jarius Sneed, which was announced on March 5th. 

The move has also assisted the Chiefs in resigning their star defensive tackle, Chris Jones, who agreed to a five-year deal with $95 Million guaranteed.

Marquez Valdes-Scantling concluded a whirlwind season, securing his second Super Bowl championship. Now, at 29 years old, he eyes free agency with aspirations of joining a third NFL team.

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