Travis Kelce is one of the very best that the NFL has to offer at the tight end position. The Chiefs star was ranked inside CBS Sports Senior NFL Analyst Pete Prisco’s top 100 players list entering the 2022 season and the No. 2 tight end overall, only looking up to San Francisco’s George Kittle. While Kittle may have a leg up on him in those rankings, Kelce is on pace to accomplish a feat in 2022 that only four other tight ends in NFL history have done before.
The 32-year-old will enter this coming season with 9,006 career receiving yards. If he can total 994 yards this year, he’ll become the fifth tight end in league history to reach the 10,000-yard plateau, joining Tony Gonzalez, Jason Witten, Antonio Gates and Shannon Sharpe. Currently, Kelce is sixth all-time in receiving at the position, but only needs 280 yards to reach former Patriots and Buccaneers tight end Rob Gronkowski for the No. 5 spot.
Dating back to 2016, Kelce has averaged roughly 1,211 receiving yards per season, which would be plenty for him to surpass Gronkowski and reach that milestone. If he keeps that pace, he’d also leap the Hall of Famer Sharpe for fourth all-time and find himself inside the top 50 on the all-time receiving yards list among every pass catcher in NFL history.
This season, Kelce is expected to be an even bigger piece to the Kansas City offense following the trade of wideout Tyreek Hill this offseason. While new receivers like JuJu Smith-Schuster, Marquez Valdes-Scantling, and rookie Skyy Moore will likely adopt the bulk of Hill’s 159 targets from last season, Kelce will almost certainly see a piece of that target pie come his way, setting up what could be a historic season as he enters Year 10 of his career.
With Gronkowski retiring this offseason, Kelce may be the last tight end we see reach this hurdle for a while. Among active players, Jimmy Graham (currently a free agent) is behind him with 8,506 career receiving yards. After that, Jared Cook (7,237) and Zach Ertz (6,841) are the next within spitting distance. Meanwhile, Kittle and Las Vegas’ Darren Waller — two of the more highly regarded tight ends in the game today alongside Kelce — are nowhere close at 4,489 and 3,184 career receiving yards, respectfully.