Part One: This will be a three-part column where I will look at the Chiefs and the phases of the Chiefs offseason. I will look at internal moves the team can make, how they should go about free agency, as well as the NFL Draft.
The 2020 Chiefs were so close, yet so far away from reaching the ultimate prize. Here is why this offseason is the most important one yet.
Complacency in anything will lead to a downfall, and the NFL is no different. How many teams have we seen over the years lose the Super Bowl, have some players talk about being back again after the Super Bowl, and then they never get back. The Kansas City Chiefs must not make this their reality, but it certainly is one that we have seen before.
This offseason poses many large questions that will need even larger answers, and this is where Brett Veach has flourished since he came to Kansas City.
First up will be evaluating the current roster and finding ways to save salary cap, as well as look to resign, extend, or even release players. The notable names to watch for possible extensions will be Tyrann Mathiue and potentially Derrick Nnadi, both about to be in the last years of their deals and both key contributors on the defensive side of the football. This would keep both in KC for longer, and also help the Chiefs open up a little bit of cap space in the process.
A few players the Chiefs could resign to the roster are Bashaud Breeland, Byron Pringle, and Darrel Williams. All three of these players made key contributions in the past two seasons, and all three will not break the bank to get back to Kansas City. Breeland will be particularly important due to the role he played in 2020 as the Chiefs top cornerback. Pringle and Williams can provide continuity on offense and will be solid backups.
The hardest thing the Chiefs will have to do is let go some key players from years past. It is never a popular move when teams move on from long time fan favorites, or once great players, but it is these moves that allow teams to get to their next phases.
I would keep a close eye on both Eric Fisher and Mitchell Schwartz here. If released Fisher would save the team over $11 million dollars, while Schwartz over $6 million. Fisher’s injury will cost him all of 2021 so it seems likely that the team will be looking to move on. Schwartz status is up in the air, but it has been rumored he is mulling retirement.
Veach will also have to look to rework some deals to add flexibility, the top candidate for this is defensive end Frank Clark. His heart, effort, and dedication to the game will never be questioned, and he has had some clutch moments for the Chiefs in the past two seasons, but he not producing at the level the team is paying him. Finding a way to restructure his money would help the team immensely, and also serve as a marker for him to improve his play.
Patrick Mahomes contract was built to be redone year in and year out, and with the team still on the peak of another championship something tells me he will be fine with every second of it.
The Chiefs have been a win from within kind of team since Andy Reid got to town, and that’s not going to change much. They still have their core set on both sides of the ball, but they must keep finding ways to surround the core with more talent and more resources.
Complacency is a recipe for disaster in the NFL, and it will be Veach’s job to keep things in constant motion to prevent the team from stagnating. The Super Bowl loss could be the end of the road or the start of a new one, but this offseason starts with the team itself. Buckle up for what I think will be a wild offseason in Kansas City.