NFL

Valdes-Scantling: Tough to leave Rodgers, but playing with Mahomes will be life-changing

By Sports Desk March 25, 2022

Marquez Valdes-Scantling is eagerly anticipating the opportunity to link up with Patrick Mahomes on the Kansas City Chiefs, even if he had to think long and hard about leaving Aaron Rodgers' Green Bay Packers. 

Valdes-Scantling became a free agent after the 2021 NFL season and followed fellow Packers receiver Davante Adams out of Green Bay. 

Like Adams, Valdes-Scantling ended up in the AFC West, tasked with helping to fill the void left by Tyreek Hill after he departed the Chiefs for the Miami Dolphins. 

Rather than be daunted by the prospect of filling in for a six-time Pro Bowler, though, Valdes-Scantling revealed he only considered the Chiefs when Hill was traded. 

The 27-year-old had spent his entire time with the Packers playing second fiddle to Adams, averaging 4.2 targets per game across his NFL career while his team-mate enjoyed 10.8 targets per game over that period. 

Valdes-Scantling was used in recent years almost solely as a deep-ball threat, leading all NFL receivers with 50 or more targets in consecutive seasons in terms of depth of target – 17.6 yards downfield on average in 2021, slightly down on 18.3 yards in 2020. 

Hill's departure means Mahomes will have to look elsewhere for a downfield option, but Valdes-Scantling might see an opportunity to have a more prominent role in Kansas City. 

"Kansas City really wasn't on my radar [at first]," he told reporters on Friday. "My agent called me and said, 'Tyreek may be traded out of there. Would you be interested in hearing what they have to say?' And I said, 'Yeah, 100 per cent.' 

"I'd been talking to a bunch of teams for a week, just kind of weeding everything out, trying to make the best decision, doing a lot of praying about it. 

"The opportunity came and I said, 'Of course I'd be interested, I'd love to play with Pat.'" 

Each of the 13 touchdown passes Valdes-Scantling has caught to date have been thrown by four-time MVP Rodgers, but Mahomes is one of the few rival quarterbacks capable of operating at the same level. 

"Obviously, me and Aaron have a great relationship," the receiver said. "It was really tough to even walk away. 

"I still had that opportunity on the table to go in and play with him for the rest of his career – whether that would be one year, two, three or however long he decides to go in and play. 

"I walked away from that opportunity and walked into one with a very similar quarterback. Obviously, talent-wise, they've both been MVPs, both won Super Bowls, so obviously both are [excellent] football players. 

"I just think that having this opportunity to build something long-term with Pat is going to be life-changing." 

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