Part Two: 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.
Last week in Part One of this series, I examined the decisions that Chiefs General Manager Brett Veach will have to make in regards to the internal roster this offseason. There are some internal moves the Chiefs can make to bring back some players like Bashuahd Breeland who are pending free agents that can help fill holes, as well as moves like letting go players who will take up too much cap space in 2021.
This will open up some more cap space for the Chiefs, who currently sit at $23,132,376 over the cap. We are now less than three weeks away from the start of free agency. That being said, the Chiefs need to be smart with how they decide to spend this offseason.
As much as we would like to see stars like wide receiver’s Allen Robinson or Kenny Golladay, and top-end offensive linemen like Trent Williams or Brandon Scherff those likely aren’t realistic moves given the money that the Chiefs already have committed to players currently on the roster, and with the money that they will owe players in the future.
The Chiefs have some free agents on their roster but they also have some players I expect to resign. This list includes:
— Bashaud Breeland for one year and four million dollars.
— Mike Remmers for one year and one million dollars.
— Anthony Sherman for one year and one million dollars.
— Byron Pringle for two years and five million dollars.
— Taco Charlton for one year and one million dollars.
— Darrell Williams for two years and four million dollars.
I also expect Charvarius Ward to be back next season as well since he is a restricted free agent. His experience will make up for his up and down play in 2020.
It’s not a big group, but it leads us into the Chiefs adding new blood to the mix for the 2021 season. They won’t have a ton of room to work, but if they can spend smart then they can find value and also improve the team for 2021. Here are some free agents I expect Veach to look at.
S Tre Boston – Two years, $8 million, with five million guaranteed
I did not include long-time Chief Daniel Sorensen in my original prediction for players to return to the roster. Love or hate it Sorensen is pushing 30 now and it’s time for the Chiefs to start letting players go a year to early than a year to late. Boston would be a great replacement for Sorensen, and even be an improvement in some categories.
In the Chiefs dime looks he could be able to play around the line of scrimmage and play almost as a linebacker where he could cover running backs and tight ends, as well as line up and play in the box regularly. Tyrann Mathieu and Juan Thornhill make the Chiefs safety unit one of the best in the NFL, but Boston could add a brand new dimension.
CB Troy Hill – One year, $5 million, with three guaranteed
If you can do many things well in the NFL you will always have a job, and that pretty much sums up Troy Hill and his career up to this point. Hill plays fundamentally sound football and provides quality depth as well as performance, but depending on what the Chiefs decide to do with Ward and Breeland could be a guy that comes out and starts multiple games.
With three interceptions, one forced fumble, two fumble recovery’s, Hill has a nose for the ball and would be a good veteran addition. He would also provide a good special teams presence.
Edge Romeo Okwara – Two Years, $10 million, five guaranteed
Okwara is an interesting player who could be a hit on the Chiefs defensive line. For three years in Detroit he struggled to find consistency and he still did at times in 2020, but a strong end to the year netted him 10 sacks and a 84.5% pass rush grade according to PFF.
Okwara fits the mold for what the Chiefs want in a defensive end. He would be a good replacement for Alex Okafor but at only 26 years old would have a chance to get a fresh start to his career in KC. This could be a great bargain deal for the Chiefs.
WR Rashard Higgins – Two years, $8 million, four guranteed
Higgins isn’t one of the big-name targets in this year’s free agency period, but the role he served in Cleveland would help the Chiefs fill a similar role, and give them a player who was consistently good in 2020. Higgins is a good route runner, with solid hands who could be a good target for Patrick Mahomes to go to on slant routes, hitches, outs, and the occasional post. Higgins won one on one routes at a high rate in 2020, and with the attention that Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce receive on a regular basis. This should be a very attractive trait to the Chiefs.
G Joe Thuney – Three years, $30 million, $17 million guranteed
This is where I think the Mahomes effect comes into place, and I think after the Super Bowl if Patrick Mahomes had any leeway in who the Chiefs go after he would likely want the team to go all in on protecting him.
Thuney has been one of the NFL’s best pass protecting guards over the past four seasons for New England and has not only the skill but the big game experience the Chiefs are looking for. The two-time Super Bowl champion even has enough versatility to play center, where he started a majority of the games for the Patriots this past season due to injury to their starter David Andrews.
Physical, smart, and fundamentally sound it is little secret how he could bring stability to the Chiefs interior offensive line. Thuney is expected to be a top-dollar free agent, but is he going to be a guy who will take less than he is worth, and play with an incentive-heavy contract for a chance to win another Super Bowl and protect the games best player?
If Patrick Mahomes and Brett Veach come calling, it would be wise to listen.