After celebrating the Kansas City Chiefs Super Bowl LIV Championship with a parade Wednesday, and hearing Andy Reid telling all of Chiefs Kingdom, “Next year, we’re coming right back here. One more time, baby. One more time.” Looking forward to next season, there are five things the team has to do in the offseason to make it back to the Super Bowl.
Convince Sammy Watkins To Take A Pay Cut
The Chiefs want to bring Watkins back for the final season of his contract. Watkins loves it in Kansas City and wants to stay. However, Watkins knows his value. Watkins has not ruled out the idea of taking a pay cut to stay with the Chiefs but also mentioned the possibility of taking the 2020 season off. Watkins is due $16 million next season and accounts for $21 million against the cap. By releasing Watkins, the Chiefs would save $14 million. With WR Demarcus Robinson hitting free agency, losing Watkins and Robinson would hurt the depth of the WR core. Watkins set a franchise-record 288 receiving yards in the playoffs this season with one touchdown. Watkins was vital with the Kansas City Chiefs this postseason, and to keep him, the Chiefs will need to get him to take a pay cut. The only way to sign star Chris Jones is to get Watkins to take a pay cut.
Sign Chris Jones
This season the Chiefs ranked fifth in the league in sacks and a huge part of that is DT Chris Jones. Jones has become one of the best defensive interior linemen in the league. He has proven to be a game wrecker for the Chiefs, picking up nine sacks last season and dominating against the run on the interior. This offseason the Chiefs have the decision to use the franchise tag or sign him long-term. The Chiefs should sign Jones to a long-term. Jones was a huge factor in the Chiefs comeback against the 49ers with three pass deflections int he fourth quarter alone. Jones has also become a star and loves it in Kansas City, expressing that he wants to play his entire career with the Chiefs. Over his career, Jones has 33.0 sacks, 37 tackles for loss, and 72 QB hits. Jones has become a homegrown star in Kansas City, and with his want to be a Chief, the Chiefs should be able to get a deal done.
Add Depth to the Offensive Guard Position
In the middle of the season, the Chiefs added Stefen Wisniewski, who helped the team with offensive line depth when Andrew Wylie got injured. Wisniewski played for the Eagles when they won Super Bowl in 2018. He proved he could play the starting guard position for the Chiefs and Veach might re-sign him. Andrew Wylie is also a free agent who the Chiefs may decide to bring back. However, there are other options at guard too. One name that comes to mind is Andrus Peat. The Saints offensive line has been a key aspect of their success, with Peat playing a huge role in it.
The Saints are already over the projected salary cap and they still have to sign a quarterback, whether it is re-signing franchise cornerstone Drew Brees or Teddy Bridgewater. With the financial responsibilities at the QB position, it appears Peat will become available and the Chiefs could be suitors for his services. Other free-agent offensive guards are Brandon Scherff, Ereck Flowers, and Mike Iupati.
The Chiefs need to address the guard position and this class is full of talent. Expect the Chiefs to sign or draft at least one offensive lineman to play the guard position next season.
Address The Defensive End Position Opposite of Frank Clark
The Chiefs front defensive line was really good this year but got plagued with injuries throughout the course of the season. Emmanuel Ogbah and Alex Okafor both suffered season-ending injuries, that led to the signing of Terell Suggs. With Suggs unlikely to return to the Chiefs next season, the Chiefs will need to look at adding depth to the position.
The development of Tanoh Kpassagnon has gone very well with him starting to play more at the DE position towards the end of the season. Alex Okafor is under contract for two more years and is coming back next year unless the Chiefs release him to save a little bit of money. The Chiefs can go with Okafor and Kpassagnon, but the Chiefs can also look to free agency to add some depth.
The Chiefs can re-sign Emmanuel Ogbah, who played well in 10 games this season before his injury. He had 5.5 sacks, 11 QB hits, and 1 forced fumble. Ogbah played well and would be a solid signing to bring back next year. However, if they want to move on from Ogbah, a name that stands out is Vic Beasley. Beasley had a terrific 2016 season with 15.5 sacks with the Falcons. Since then he has fallen off, accounting for 18 total sacks over the past three seasons. Chiefs could look to add Beasley as the explosive DE opposite of Clark. It seems like he could use a change of scenery and come to a stable winner like the Chiefs is in his best interest.
Whether it is Ogbah, Beasley, or another player via free agency or the draft, the Chiefs will need to add depth to the defensive end position.
Address the Secondary
The Chiefs secondary made progress this season after a lackluster season in 2018. A huge reason why is the due to the additions of Tyrann Mathieu and Juan Thornhill. Mathieu took over the defense and led them to be one of the best defenses in the league after week 11. Juan Thornhill was playing terrific football before his season-ending torn ACL. There will be a little shakeup this offseason as Kendall Fuller and Bashaud Breeland are both free agents. Fuller sealed the Super Bowl with his interception late in the game.
This free agency contains a ton of talent at the cornerback position. Big names like Byron Jones, Chris Harris, and Bradley Roby. The Chiefs could look to add one of those names to the secondary. Fuller had a relatively quiet season and could re-sign for cheap and the same goes for Breeland as the team could sign him to a friendly deal. Chris Harris would be a great addition as he is one of the top corners in the league and has a connection to Kansas City, as he played college ball at the University of Kansas. However, the versatility of Juan Thornhill helps as he can play the cornerback position if the Chiefs look to add to the safety position.
As the Chiefs look to add corners through free agency or the draft, they can also look at the safety position. Names available at the safety position include: Jimmie Ward, Haha Clinton-Dix, and Devin McCourty. The Chiefs could add one of these players to play alongside Mathieu, and move Thornhill to cornerback. The other option is Eric Berry. Berry has expressed interest in returning to the NFL after purposely sitting out last season. If both sides are open to it, the Chiefs could give Berry another shot.
The Chiefs will use this free agency and draft to add and solidify their secondary after a bounce-back season.
Heading into free agency and the draft, there is an abundance of talent that the Chiefs have the ability to add in an effort to head back to the Super Bowl and represent the AFC in Super Bowl LV next year in Tampa Bay.