Travis Kelce on being underpaid: Money is secondary, I’m here for the legacy and the team

Super Bowl LIV - San Francisco 49ers v Kansas City Chiefs
Getty Images

On #PFTPM last week, 49ers tight end George Kittle said Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce is so underpaid it “boggles my mind.” But Kelce says he’s not concerned about it.

Instead, Kelce says that his primary concern is winning games and continuing to build on his status as one of the greatest tight ends in NFL history.

“I appreciate Kittle saying that,” Kelce said. “That’s my guy and he always wants to see every tight end get paid as much as their production is. But at the same time, I signed my contract understanding what I had. I put a lot into this, man. Money, in my mind, is almost secondary at this point in my career. I’m here for the legacy and I’m here to try and make the Kansas City Chiefs the best team possible. So that’s my main focus. That’s why I’m here.”

The 32-year-old Kelce has four years left on a contract that pays him an average of just under $15 million a year.

55 responses to “Travis Kelce on being underpaid: Money is secondary, I’m here for the legacy and the team

  1. Finally a player that gets it. Never been a Tom brady fan but how many times has he been the highest paid at his position or otherwise the nfl as qbs get top dollar. O right never cause he consistently took pay cuts so his team could pay other contributors. When a player takes over a quarter of the teams salary thats a recipe for disaster

  2. Great response by Kelce and it is not like he is having a hard time putting food on the table at $15m per year.

  3. I just can’t understand how a person can live on 15 million a year. Must be Roman noodle night every night of the week.

  4. that should crush any money drama for a couple years….

  5. Kelce’s contract is backloaded. The big numbers start in 2023 (age 34) and the dead money is small at that point. After this year it would be very easy for the team to move on or demand a pay cut for an aging Kelce. Kelce is one of the best bargains in the league. His durability at an injury prone position nhas been amazing. Outside of Mahomes, Kelce is the guy that makes that offense what it is.

  6. refreshing.

    look I get that the TE position is changing, and in the last 10 years we have seen some truly epic players at TE. but, guys like kelce, kittle, gronk ETC- are the exception not the norm.

    kelce prob could have left the chiefs in free agency and singed a record breaking contract for a tight, he chose to stay part of an elite offense and as such prob took a little less money. he also still makes 15m per year, so it’s not like he’s getting paid peanuts. and like he said, he signed the deal.

  7. Travis you forgot the part that there is no more money since your QB got it all and even Tyreek knew that so he left.

  8. Aah, this is why they didn’t keep Tyreek. They’ve got Mahomes who was criticized (here on PFT) for taking too little money over too many years, and Kelce who could also get more. Hill wanted to be paid at the top of the market and that’s fair. He’s great. But the team can’t mix-and-match pay levels like that. After so long the below-market people would feel cheated.

  9. Getting $15M in KC is like earning $25M in LA, SF, NY or Miami. The Kelce brothers may both be Hall of Famers and forever loved in both of their cities. Great guys that are loved. they are richer than most billionares in my mind. Wish them both the best.

  10. Just place the blame where it belongs. Dumb teams overpaying WRs. And QBs. When a $25-30 million receiver helps win a team a SB (heck, wins one by himself at that price), that will be a newsflash. As will a team winning with a QB making north of $25 mil. Teams paying $40+ million to QBs are suckers.

  11. He’s right. I never understand why some of these players ask for so much money not allowing the team to sign anyone else, why would you not want to play on a championship team with other great players?

  12. Hell make 30+ Mil a year as an announcer they day after he retires. Probably will never pay for a meal or drink in entire his life in KC. I think he will be OK

  13. Clearly the best TE in the game. The Chiefs will be battling with the Chargers and Broncos.

    The Raiders need to start their rebuild sooner than later. They are way behind the rest of the division.

    AFC west 2022:

    Chiefs 15-2
    Chargers 13-4
    Broncos 11-6
    Raiders 3-14

  14. I wish Darren Waller would try to be more like Kelce. My Raiders are going to get wrecked by Kelce and the Chiefs.

  15. Playing for the best team in the division and one of the best in the AFC comes with sacrifice.

  16. His reaction after losing the Super Bowl to a team Gronk was on must be stinging. Based on production he’s already one of the best tight ends ever. He just wants to add another ring or more rings to his resume. Respect.

  17. If only Mahomes felt the same way, they could have something truly special in KC.

  18. 15 million a year for a tight end is certainly nothing to sneeze at. That being said, whether he is or isn’t underpaid is up for debate. Kittle/Kelce are 2 of the highest paid te’s in the NFL so not so sure the “money isn’t everything/legacy and team” thing comes into play. Nice to see of their love fest for each other though.

  19. He is hardly “bargain basement” prices. 15M/y is ~5-10% of the cap. With his QB eating 10-20% of the cap, that doesn’t leave a lot of space. Hence the need to move on from Hill.

  20. Too bad Mahome’s didn’t feel the same way, his contract killed the team.

  21. Kudos to Kelce. Plus, after Mahomes contract there ain’t no green left in the cupboard.

  22. KC decided they could not pay Tyreek Hill. $15M is good payday but I agree he is worth more. Kelce’s stats last year were similar to Zach Ertz which hurts his case. Jimmy Graham was in the same position and choose the payday. I can’t fault him, but I agree with Kelce. Stay with Mahomes and KC, a winner, rather than go to a perennial loser with cap space. Gronk made the same choice to stay with Brady. Better career and endorsements will make up some of what he might be leaving on the table.

  23. What a great attitude! Just perfect.

    It doesn’t get any better than this!

  24. Little is probably right but, it’s really none of his business to comment on Kelce’s contract. Winning as a team is more important to him at this point. Refreshing to hear!

  25. Pro athletes, entertainers and CEO’s salaries are an insult to all of us who get up every day at 5 AM and go get it done for peanuts. When they (Kittle) gripe about another guy not getting enough at 15 million/year, it’s especially insulting and when the other guy (Kelce) intimates that he’s getting by at 15 million/year, enough already.

  26. Kelce: Money is secondary. I’m here for the legacy and the team. Brady: Ditto.

  27. Kelce is not underpaid.
    The overwhelming majority of the league is overpaid.

  28. I’m a die hard Raiders fan that never liked this guy – BUT that has changed a lot after this. Respect.

  29. I don’t like to hear guys talk like this to the media. Yeah, it sounds nice to the fans and all, but players owe it to other players to maximize their value. Hopefully, Kelce is singing a different tune behind closed doors with his agent. And when they suddenly drop you when you think you think you are still on top of your game, you’re going to wish you got every penny you could. You fans, are you going to take a paycut so your company can be #1 in sales? I didn’t think so!

  30. Spread the wealth, keep the team strong, and keep winning. Being the greatest of all time and a multiple Super Bowl winner will be more profitable long term than getting that contract now. Good for him.

  31. We all make choices in life based on our priorities. He’s neither obligated to maximize his individual earnings nor is it his responsibility to help a multi-billion dollar organization balance their payroll and cap hits. He’s landing somewhere in the middle, probably more on the side of he was highly compensated when he did the deal and he’s content to play it out.

  32. I remember a few years when I have do squeak by on $15 mil a year. It was tough!

  33. touchback6 says:
    May 27, 2022 at 9:27 am

    You’ve won 1 SB, dude.

    This guy is awful

    Yeah, and most players don’t win a title ever.

    Kelce will be in canton when he retires, be in whatever chiefs ring of honor they have in KC, prob retire a chief, and prob have his # retired by the team.

    kc is also going to be one of the top contenders for the SB the next few years and I’d honestly be more surprised if Kelce DIDN’T win another ring before he hangs it up.

  34. Unlike Kittle, who will have no future after football – Kelce is smart, he could be front office, tv analyst/announcer, coach or something out of football. Kittle could still invest, but he’s got no brains and clearly isn’t concerned about winning a title.

    Need more Kelces’, less Kittles’

  35. It’s easy for Kelce to say that money is secondary AFTER he has already earned over $80 million dollars.

    Heck..give me $80 million and I will tell everyone that money doesn’t matter.

  36. Going to be interesting to see how elite Kelce is now that Hill is gone. There is no doubt he’s a great TE but without Hill to stretch defenses, Kelce’s going to find the sledding a lot tougher.

  37. Yeah, right… One hit away from not playing again and one birthday closer to being passed over for the next best thing. But sure, money is not a priority.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Not a member? Register now!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.