Nothing's Official, but It Looks Like Travis Kelce May Have His Retirement Plan

After a hectic few hours of messy reporting, the details of Travis Kelce's new contract with the Kansas City Chiefs point to a potential exit plan for one of the NFL's all-time greats.
Feb 11, 2024; Paradise, Nevada, USA; Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce (87).
Feb 11, 2024; Paradise, Nevada, USA; Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce (87). / Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
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Kansas City Chiefs superstar tight end Travis Kelce signed an adjusted contract with the Kansas City Chiefs on Monday, but the chaos and misinformation around the original reporting may have caused some fans and followers to miss the biggest news of Kelce's deal.

"I can't wait to get after it these next two years," Kelce said after signing his new contract.

"These next two years." There's a lot to sort through, so let's start with the issues in the original reporting.

Understanding Travis Kelce's new contract details

The first report of Kelce's new deal was incorrectly described as "a new 2-year contract extension." Another national reporter even tweeted that Kelce's "extension tacks on two years and $34.25 million to the two years remaining on his old deal" with Kelce being signed through 2027. That was all wrong, and later recanted.

The true structure of Kelce's deal paints a very different picture of his plans for the rest of his time in the NFL. As clarified by Michael Ginnitti of Spotrac, Kelce's deal is a renegotiated two-year deal that raises Kelce's 2024-25 total money from $30.25 million up to $34.25 million, guaranteeing $17 million at signing. The deal also guarantees "most of next year" on the third day of the 2025 league year, according to Adam Schefter.

That contract tweak makes plenty of sense. Kelce gets a nice raise and some extra guarantees after years of being underpaid compared to his value. But that's all it is: a $4 million pay bump with some guaranteed security. It may have taken less time to negotiate that deal than it did for some insiders to properly report it.

Much of the original excitement around the mistaken reporting was surprise and celebration for "four more years" of Kelce in KC. In reality, this may be setting up Kelce's farewell tour.

Will Travis Kelce retire after the 2025 season?

Kelce, who will turn 35 in October, is already a modern marvel. He had his seventh-consecutive 1,000-yard season at age 33 before falling just 16 yards short of another 1,000-yard season in 2023, when he played just 15 games. (The Chiefs rested Kelce in Week 18 to prepare for the playoffs, which paid off for Kelce and the team en route to their second-consecutive Super Bowl win with classic Kelce performances along the way.) Kelce has been asked about retirement almost as much as head coach Andy Reid, who is now under contract with KC for longer than Kelce is.

"Do you guys think about retirement?" Kelce asked in response to a question about his future back in January. "Am I the only one in this boat, or is anybody else in this thing? Whoever's not thinking about stuff down the road, I blame you. I have no reason to stop playing football, man. I love it. We still have success. Come in with the right mindset, and I just love the challenge it gives me every single day to try and be at my best. Like I said, I have no desire to stop anytime soon."

Two more full seasons certainly isn't "anytime soon" in football terms, and Kelce has never been more famous, more popular, or more in-demand off the field. None of that means Kelce is locked into an exit plan. If he takes cues from his brother, Jason, we may not officially know Kelce's plans until after he's already played his final season.

Here's my unsolicited suggestion to Chiefs fans: Assume that Kelce meant it when he said "these next two years." Best-case scenario, maybe Chiefs fans and the NFL get lucky and Kelce continues to take it one year at a time beyond 2025 and he plays "until the wheels fall off," as he's previously suggested. But if you assume that he will most likely spend two more seasons in red and gold, you won't miss your opportunities to appreciate one of the best pass-catchers the NFL has ever seen. Kelce will be praised and his career will be eulogized around the world after he plays his final snap, but it would be foolish to wait until he's done to appreciate what he's already accomplished and what he will continue to do on the field as the Chiefs make their run at the NFL's first-ever three-peat.

"Feels good to be in KC," Kelce said after signing. "I remember coming here 12 years ago man, it's an honor and a pleasure and I can't wait to get after it these next two years, but no better than right now. Getting fired up for this year, just got out on the field with the boys, doggone, we're back at it, baby. Chiefs forever."

Read More: Brett Veach and Travis Kelce Address 'Contract Adjustment' to Keep Kelce in KC for 'Next Two Years'

Joshua Brisco


Joshua Brisco is the editor-in-chief and publisher of Arrowhead Report on, covering the Kansas City Chiefs. Follow @jbbrisco.