The Chiefs are the favorites to repeat as champions this season, but there are still questions to be answered for the team this season.
Let’s take a look at the biggest question marks for the defending champions this year.
1. Will Chris Jones play in a Chiefs uniform?
Chris Jones received the franchise tag at the beginning of the offseason and has reportedly not talked with the Chiefs about an extension. Is this a sign that he is ready to leave KC?
In his four NFL seasons, Jones has become one of the league’s best interior defensive lineman. He has 33 career sacks and is the anchor of the Chiefs front four on defense.
The Chiefs want to extend and keep Jones long term, but it could be the end of the road for him in KC. Jones has been brought up in trade rumors, but the Chiefs have stayed out and kept him.
Jones has not participated in any OTA’s or virtual meetings and will continue to do so unless a deal is reached. The Chiefs have until July 15th to lock up Jones for years to come.
However, it does not look like there have been any discussions and that Jones is upset he had the tag was put on him. If no deal is reached, will Jones sign the tender and play in 2020 or will he hold out?
Could this be the end of the line with No. 95 on the Chiefs defensive line or will the Chiefs get a deal done before the July 15 deadline?
2. Who is going to emerge as the starting defensive end opposite of Frank Clark on the defensive line?
The Chiefs lost one of their top contributors opposite of Frank Clark as Emmanuel Ogbah left for the Dolphins in free agency. The Chiefs have a competition for that starting DE job opposite of the shark.
In that competition, the Chiefs have Alex Okafor, who suffered a season-ending injury last year, Tanoh Kpassagnon, the 2017 second-round pick who has improved each year, and Breeland Speaks, who did not play a game last year due to injury.
Before his injury, Okafor proved to be a solid contributor to the defensive line after signing a three year deal with KC last offseason. In 10 games, he had five sacks and nine QB Hits.
Kpassagnon set multiple career-highs last year, including sacks (4), tackles (29), and QB Hits (11). HE enters the final year of his rookie deal and this could be his breakout year and his opportunity to make a name for himself before his contract expires.
Speaks tore his ACL before the season started last year. The former second round pick has not proved anything so far in his short career, but this year could be his year to break out of his shell.
As the season quickly approaches, Chiefs Kingdom will watch this competition very closely as Okafor could lose his starting job from a year ago.
3. What to do with the starting left guard position?
The Chiefs interior of the offensive line struggled last season. The main question for this line going into the 2020 season is left guard position.
The Chiefs seem to be happy with Austin Reiter at the starting center role and kept Laurent Duvernay-Tardif-Tardif after he restructured before the NFL Draft in April.
In the draft, the Chiefs added TCU offensive lineman, Lucas Niang, in the third round. Over his three years at TCU, he did not allow one sack, which is extremely impressive. The Chiefs are looking to transition Niang to play guard, which could leave him as the next option to play LG or even a tackle position in the coming future.
Niang could see some snaps next year at the LG position and his size could be a huge benefit in the run game, which is where the line struggled most in 2019.
Andrew Wylie started the majority of regular-season games at left guard in 2019. Due to his struggles throughout the season, the Chiefs signed Stefen Wisniewski, who was slotted into that LG role in the playoffs. Wisniewski signed with the Steelers this offseason, raising more questions with the offensive line.
Wylie did not play a snap in the playoffs as he was left off as a healthy scratch. Could this be an indication that his job at LG may be gone?
When it comes to the competition for the starting job at LG, there are four options. Wylie, who will enter training camp with a chip on his shoulder as he looks to regain his starting role and bounce back after last season. Niang will get his chance throughout the season as he develops at the guard position. Martinas Rankin, a swing guard and tackle who played well at the LG position in replacing Wylie, will be in the mix as he returns from a torn ACL in week 10, ending his season. Fianlly, there is newcomer Mike Remmers, who was signed this offseason to replace Cam Erving, after his option was declined. Remmers, 31, has started at three different positions along the offensive line over his career.
For now, it looks like Reiter will retain his job as the starting center, but don’t forget about the 2019 seventh-round pick, Nick Allegretti and new rookie UDFA, Darryl Williams. Reiter is likely to retain his starting role, especially with his conection and experience with Mahomees at QB.
Coach Reid has a ton of versatile lineman going into this seaosn, which he loves. The ability of Wylie, Remmers, Niang, and Rankin to play both tackle and guard make them assets to the team and key pieces to the o-line depth chart at the very least.
As the Chiefs look to defend their title, these questions are going to be at the top of the list when training camps starts.