Chiefs Focus @ChiefsFocus @JarrodChiefsFcs
Now that the Chiefs season has come to a heartbreaking end, we’re on to the offseason. Draft combine, free agency, NFL draft, OTAs, minicamps, and training camps are all coming our way. Let’s take a sneak peek at the offseason.
One of the first things a team does in the offseason is sign players to what is called a “futures contract”. These are league minimum contracts. Players signed to these typically spent most, if not all of the previous season on a team’s practice squad. Most of these players are released and don’t make the roster. Of the nine players that signed futures contracts with the Chiefs, only Derrick Gore and Prince Tega Wanogho would eventually make the active roster and Gore was the only one that actually got any amount of playing time. As of writing this article, the Chiefs have 8 players signed to futures contracts.
The 2022 NFL Draft combine will begin on March 1st and will end on March 7th. Brett Veach, Andy Reid, scouts, and team doctors will make a trip to Indianapolis to scout NFL draft prospects. The process is stressful for the players as they quite literally get poked and prodded by the team doctors. Players at times are also asked very strange questions in interviews. Strange questions asked in the past have included questions about sexual orientation, if players find their mother attractive, if the player would rather have a cat or dog, boxers or briefs, and are you afraid of clowns. Players are also asked football questions, such as breaking down a play or game film from their college days.
The new league year, also known as the beginning of free agency, begins on March 16 at 3 pm central time (2 mountain, 1 pacific/Arizona time). However, beginning at 11 am central time on March 14, teams can begin negotiating with pending free agents. This is known as the “legal tampering period”. The players, however, cannot officially sign until the 16th. The Chiefs specifically are currently set to have 27 free agents. The biggest names include Tyrann Mathieu, Orlando Brown, Melvin Ingram, Jerrick McKinnon, Chavarius Ward, and Darrel Williams. The Chiefs should begin negotiating with their free agents shortly.
In either April or May, the league will announce the 2022 schedule. The Chiefs’ opponents were confirmed at the end of the season. They will likely have multiple primetime games again. Confirmed opponents will be every AFC west team twice as is typical, the Chiefs will also play the entire AFC south, the entire NFC west, road games against the Bengals and Buccaneers, and a home game against the Bills.
The NFL draft will begin on April 28 and will end on April 30. The Chiefs confirmed selections will be 30th overall in the first round, 62nd overall in the second round, and 94th overall in the 3rd round. In total, the Chiefs are currently set to have seven selections. Due to trades, the Chiefs have no fifth-round selections and two seventh-round selections. The Chiefs are expected to receive two compensatory selections, at least one for sure. These will be awarded at the league’s annual meetings in the spring. This meeting will also be where new rule proposals will be voted on by team owners. Undrafted free agents will begin being signed after the draft ends.
During the draft and free agency, offseason workout programs will begin. Official dates will be announced within the next couple of months. Phase one, which is meetings, rehab, and strength and conditioning only, will begin in April or May (each team picks their dates) and will last two weeks. Phase two will begin in mid-May and will last one week. This phase allows no contact on-field workouts. Phase four will begin at the end of May or Mid June and will last four weeks. This phase allows classroom instruction, but no contact. Additionally, in mid-May, rookie mini-camp will begin. This is where drafted players, undrafted free agents, and mini-camp invites practice on-field drills. At the end of June, team minicamp begins which are full non-contact practices. The final phase of offseason workouts is training camp, which will begin at the end of July and continue through the preseason.
Preseason will likely begin in mid-August and the Chiefs will play three games. During this time, rosters will be cut down each week to eventually get down to the 53-man roster. The regular season will likely begin on September 8th. Regardless of who wins the Super Bowl, my best guess is the Bills will play in it because they are set to play the Bengals and Rams both on the road. If the Bengals win, it’s not all that unlikely the Chiefs vs Bengals would be the opening game since that game will be in Cincinnati again. If the Chiefs do not play in the opening game, their season will likely begin either September 11th or 12th.
While the offseason began two weeks before we would have liked it to begin, it is here. This is what we can expect. Typically the Chiefs have 15 to 20 new faces on the team each year at the start of the season that are a mix of rookies and offseason pickups. The next 6 months will shape our 2022 season roster. We’ve got one of the best head coach/general manager combinations in the league. There’s not a doubt in my mind we have a shot at our 5th straight AFC Championship game and to make the Super Bowl for the 3rd time in four years. Let’s hope we have two games at State Farm Stadium in Arizona next season, one against the Cardinals and one for the Lombardi Trophy.