The Chiefs have several players who are about to hit the open market. Who should they allow to walk away?
The beginning of NFL’s free agency period is just one week away. The Chiefs have 17 (!!) players heading to the open market next week. While that number can seem alarming some will return on league minimum deals and some you won’t even notice are gone. It’s always easy to say “if they take a cheap one-year deal the Chiefs should resign them.” But change is part of what keeps a roster young, affordable, and healthy. The Chiefs need to prioritize players who are affordable and still have the potential to get better. Brett Veach needs to also decide what players are not going to be worth the price or the risk.
The following players are all of the Chiefs 2021 free-agents: Sammy Watkins, Daniel Sorenson, Bashaud Breeland, Alex Okafor, Damien Wilson, Demarcus Robinson, Austin Reiter, Kelechi Osemele, Mike Remmers, Tanoh Kpassagnon, Stefan Wisniewski, Daniel Kilgore, Mike Pennel, Antonio Hamilton, Le’veon Bell, Ricky Seals-Jones and Taco Charlton.
4. Alex Okafor
The Okafor signing has been a lukewarm deal at best, though he has provided some support to the pass rush he has been often injured and not quite worth the contract. He is entering his age 31 season, so the injuries will likely continue to be a problem for him as well. Okafor struggled this season ranking 94th out of 109 qualifying edge rushers. Additionally, re-signing a player like Okafor could block young players such as Mike Dana or any other draft picks the Chiefs might make at edge.
3. Kelechi Osemele
Look, I know we all like to remember back to the season opener when Cris Collinsworth couldn’t stop highlighting him in the run game. However. the rest of Osemele’s short season wasn’t nearly as consistent or dominant as it seemed after week one. His 4 weeks would have graded out as one of the worst grades for offensive lineman for the Chiefs.
Let’s add in two major knee injuries one to each knee, which certainly isn’t going to make him more agile or strong off the ball. More than anything the Chiefs can’t afford to consider the interior offensive line “fixed” by re-signing Osemele and LDT returning. Osemele was a nice stop-gap for a season but the Chiefs need to look for a long-term solution at the guard position.
2. Tanoh Kpassagnon
Considering the fact that K-pass was looking like a total bust before the arrival of Steve Spagnuolo the draft pick wasn’t a total lost cause. Kpassagnon has been the definition of an average of player, who only succeeds when scheme allows it. He has gathered 5 sacks and 15 QB hits in the last two seasons despite playing alongside Chris Jones and Frank Clark. While Tanoh might be cheap this off-season there is really no reason to bring him back other than the fact that he knows the scheme. The Chiefs have seen everything he has to offer and its not worth anything above the league minimum.
1. Sammy Watkins
There is no debating that the Chiefs probably aren’t Super Bowl Champions without Sammy Watkins in 2019. There’s also no arguing that Watkins had an incredibly disappointing 2020, capped off with a Super Bowl that he might as well not have played in. Here’s the thing about Sammy, when he’s healthy he’s probably the best player on the list above, the problem is I’m not sure you can count on him being healthy for more than six games a year.
Sure, it’s not a big hit to the cap if he’s on a league-minimum deal but it is to the roster and game plan. Since arriving in KC Watkins has had numerous games where he’s a game-time decision, decides to gut it out and ends up playing ten snaps, and then sits on the bench the rest of the game. This just wastes a roster spot, scheme, and practice time for another player. More than anything the Chiefs just needs a new face at second wide receiver, someone who can be dependable and help mentor a young group of players.