Rebuild or Reload? In an off-season of blockbuster trades, the Chiefs dealt star receiver Tyreek Hill for a haul of picks after passing on making him the highest receiver the league, Tyrann Mathieu walked after three seasons and KC tagged Left Tackle, Orlando Brown JR who has only recently signed with an agent that has never negotiated an NFL contract, ideal right?
Chiefs GM, Brett Veach went into the free agency with some glaring roster holes but with a blueprint to get younger at key positions and he did just that. Veach grabbed former Texan, Justin Reid to replace Tyrann Mathieu before adding new weapons for Mahomes in Juju Smith-Schuster and unwanted Green Bay wideout, Marquez Valdes-Scantling.
Building on a great 2021 draft, Veach received ‘A Grades’ from all the major broadcasters for his navigation of the draft in Vegas. KC moved up in the first round to select cornerback, Trent McDuffie at 21, before coming back and taking defensive end, George Karlaftis to round off a successful first round. Many people wondered if KC would make a splash and move up for a receiver but they waited and even traded back to grab (‘literally’ biggest hands of all receivers) Skyy Moore. By the end of Day 3, KC had made TEN selections and shifted from being top heavy to a more well rounded roster.
The off-season was a turbulent one for the Chiefs but they go into training camp still with elite talent, coaching and with a new look Offense and Defense.
The Chiefs moved early in free agency to sign the 25 year old former Texan to a three year, $31 million deal. With the seemingly juiceless pass rush, the secondary will need to be very good for Spagnuolo’s defense to hold up against two of the best QBs in the league twice a year.
Reid’s career has been on an upward trajectory in an up and down Texan team over the years he has been in the league. In 57 games with 53 starts, Reid has seven interceptions 23 passes defended, 11 tackles for loss, and 2.0 sacks in his four-year career. Reid was a part of the Texans team that blew a 24-0 lead to Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs in the 2019 divisional round and was quoted earlier in the off-season saying “It’ll be a lot more fun playing with him than against him”
At 25, the Chiefs will need Justin Reid to be the organiser and leader of the secondary alongside Juan Thornhill as KC had many communication issues without Matheiu on the field last year.
Patrick Mahomes looked human at times last season but still ended his season in the AFCCG with 37 TDs to his name. Teams found success keeping a lid on Mahomes but nobody knows what to expect from the new look Chiefs O, who have a different skillset in the receiver room. What you can expect is… he will be good.
Offensive Line continues to be a strength (who’d have thought it a few years ago as Mahomes ran for his life in the Super Bowl), the one weak link you could say is right tackle but Chiefs will have a camp battle between Lucas Niang and rookie Darian Kinnard to protect Mahomes strong side. Orlando Brown remains a question as he awaits a new contract but it is thought he would play on the tag.
One of the most fascinating aspects of the off-season is now all the weapons will gel together without the target rich Tyreek Hill (regardless of what his podcast says). Juju and MVS are established players in the league and are joined by second round pick Skyy Moore and the speedster Mecole Hardman. It feels like it will be an offense where everyone can eat. Oh and Kelce will inevitably get his seventh 1000 yard season in a row.
Chiefs took workhorse George Karlaftis and they will need him to work like no other. Frank Clark is having a quiet off-season (good thing) after reworking his deal to stay in Kansas City, but expectations are at an all time low for the 29 year old. Chris Jones provides push and finished 2021 with nine sacks, he will be hoping (and needing) to push double digits this time round.
Nick Bolton provided a lot more than expected by most Chiefs fans and it seems KC have found the future with him next to Willie Gay. Third round pick Leo Chenal also comes into the room to add some serious hitting power, he describes himself as the “most violent guy on the field”.
I’d finally given up on KC taking a corner early so didn’t even bother reading up on them ahead of the draft, it led to a very awkward draft night where I knew nothing about the guy we just traded up to get Trent McDuffie, that’s how much of a surprise the pick was, that being said it’s a welcome addition to a room that need an injection of talent after losing Charvarius Ward.
This was the easiest job for the last few years, I’d predict, AFC West Champions, Arrowhead hosting the AFC Championship game and the Chiefs flirting with a SuperBowl.
Predicting a Chiefs season has been easy in the Mahomes era, predict an AFC Championship hosted at Arrowhead and you can’t go wrong as they inevitably flirt with a Super Bowl.
It’s slightly harder to predict that this year, Ultimately KC will likely win the AFC West but this division is stacked and the four will all probably beat each other at some point in the season. To get to a Super Bowl the Chiefs may have to travel in the AFC Championship Game this time around to get there.
The success of this team will very much depend on the ability of the new players to adapt to a complicated system on both sides of the ball, new receivers historically take time to settle in Andy Reid offences but the likes of Juju and MVS will be relied upon early and often. On the Defense, Tyrann Mathieu leaves a hole that feels un-fillable but Chiefs have plugged in Justin Reid and rookie Bryan Cook along with a string of Cornerbacks. The pass rush also still seems an issue on paper unless Frank Clark can discover form he hasn’t show in red and gold. KC will need their defense if they’re going to do anything in a division with Wilson, Herbert and I guess Carr.