The Kansas City Chiefs have a long offseason ahead of them after falling short of Super Bowl LVI. What moves will Brett Veach and Co make to ensure 2022 doesn’t end the same way as 2021?
Charles Robinson @CRob5769 and Phillip McGruder @McGruderPMac
Chiefs Focus @ChiefsFocus
Last weekend sucked. Not literally – I was actually on my bachelor party in Scottsdale, AZ last weekend. 80-degree days, sunshine, golf, far too many alcoholic beverages, and my brothers and (most) of my best friends to hang out with all weekend. It was one of the best weekends of my life, and it still sucked. Why? Because there was no football. For the first time since late August, we all had to suffer through a weekend with no NCAA or NFL football on our televisions. Had to feel a lot like what people felt during the Great Depression.
But just because there were not football games being played does not mean that football wasn’t the main topic of conversation. One of my best friends who I used to split season tickets with at Arrowhead and I discussed necessary roster moves no less than 30 minutes after arriving at our AirBnb on Friday afternoon. Numerous times throughout the weekend we talked about current players on the Chiefs roster who are going to be free agents, players from other teams hitting free agency, and of course the NFL Draft. While everyone has their differing opinions on what players to pursue and what positions to prioritize, one thing was universally acknowledged and for the most part exciting to discuss – the 2022 Chiefs will look a lot different than the 2021 version.
The Offseason Series here at Chiefs Focus will be an ongoing affair, developing along with the rumors and moves that teams and players start to make here in the next few weeks. Calab and myself have already got a pretty lengthy short list of players that the Chiefs could pursue in both free agency as well as the draft, and we will continue to churn out content surrounding these players as well as the internal moves that the Chiefs will have to make if they want to get back to the Super Bowl in 2022. This list was created by the newest member of the Chiefs Focus team – my main man P-Mac, Phillip McGruder. If you haven’t checked P-Mac out on twitter, do yourself a favor and give this man a follow. I’ll link his profile here.
6 Free Agents the Chiefs Should Consider:
Melvin Gordon – Running Back – Last Contract- Denver Broncos 2 year, $16 million ($13.5 million guaranteed): Both Darrell Williams and Jerick McKinnon are set to enter free agency this offseason, which leaves the Chiefs a bit thin in the backfield. It would be smart to sign a running back capable of stepping into a bigger role if need be. Melvin Gordon III has experience in carrying a heavy workload and experience in being a complementary back. The former Bronco averaged 4.6 yards per carry in the last two seasons and has proven to be a reliable receiver (30-33 catches per season). At 28 years old, Gordon has hit his full potential getting two Pro Bowl selections while with the Chargers (2016 and 2018). Back in January of 2017, RB Melvin Gordon played for Andy Reid & the Chiefs’ coaching staff while representing the Chargers and AFC in the Pro Bowl. QB Alex Smith, TE Travis Kelce, CB Marcus Peters, S Eric Berry, P Dustin Colquitt & WR Tyreek Hill were his teammates. That has to be enticing for Kansas City.
DJ Reed – Cornerback – Last Contract (rookie deal) – San Francisco 49ers (traded to Seattle) 4 year, $2,771,371 : The Chiefs also need to improve their secondary this season. Why not go after someone with local connections like former Kansas State CB DJ Reed? Reed spent the last two seasons with the Seahawks and has played outstanding. The former Seahawk had 108 tackles, 17 passes defended and four interceptions over the last two seasons. He also held opposing quarterbacks to a 47.7% completion percentage and 67.8 passer rating in 2021. DJ Reed also adds value as a return specialist. He is familiar with Chiefs FA WR Byron Pringle as both were teammates at Kansas State under Bill Snyder.
Jakeem Grant Sr – Wide Receiver/Returner – Last Contract – Chicago Bears (traded to Miami) 1 year, $2.3 million: Grant Sr, a two-time All Pro (2nd 2020 and 2021), is considered one of the most dynamic kick returners in the game, Grant was one of only two players in the NFL to return a punt for a touchdown this season and was third in the league with an average of 11.9 yards per punt return. He also was a factor on offense, which was an indicator that the Dolphins had given up. He flashed potential during a four-game stretch late in the season in which he caught nine passes for 139 yards and two touchdowns and rushed three times for 16 yards. Grant Sr has familiarity with Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes as both were teammates (2014-15) at Texas Tech. Signing Grant would essentially kill two birds with one stone, bringing in a proven veteran presence in the process who has value as a WR and returner.
Kyzir White – Linebacker – Last Contract (rookie deal) – Los Angeles Chargers 4 year, $3,114,441: Aside from Bolton and Gay, the Chiefs need a starting-caliber linebacker who is an upgrade over Hitchens who has speed and hitting power. Kyzir White is someone they could sign to fill that need, potentially on a cheaper deal. While White has had his ups and downs with the Chargers, he had a career high 144 tackles, 1 sack, three defended passes and two forced fumbles across 17 starts in 2021, which is the type of player that could make the Chiefs better if he can get back to that level. Veach and his crew met with White during the 2018 scouting combine.
Calais Campbell – Defensive Tackle – Last Contract – Baltimore Ravens 2 year, $25 million: Looking to the defensive front 4, Joe Cullen brings intensity to the DL room and why not bring someone with familiarity like none other than Calais Campbell. The six-time Pro Bowler could be a good player to target. He has been a consistent pass rusher in his career posting at least 8 sacks in 10 of his 14 seasons played. Campbell is 35 years old and will be looking to join a team ready to contend for a Super Bowl. That means he may sign for less money than expected. Lining him up next to Chris Jones would create nightmares for opposing offensive lines. This may be an underrated move, but the Chiefs should go out and make it.
S Marcus Maye – Safety – Last Contract – New York Jets 1 year, $10,612,000 : The Chiefs have to bring back Tyrann Mathieu. This potential move would not have nothing to do with Mathieu but more to do with improving our three safety look. Daniel Sorensen was horrible to watch last season. He gave up 5 TD passes and allowed a passer rating over 120.0+. The Chiefs can find someone better. Maye is a former first rounder with the Jets and was a great duo mate with Jamal Adams in 2019 before he was traded to the Seahawks. Maye is going to sign a one-year, prove-it deal in free agency after rupturing his Achilles in the midst of his 2021 campaign. The Jets safety’ role changed this past year, but his film at deep safety should spark interest from several teams. If Maye is on the Chiefs, imagine three safeties featuring Mathieu, Thornhill and Maye. Yeah offensive coordinators are gonna have a tough time figuring us out when the secondary holds in the down and Sack Nation racks up the sacks.
Like I said, follow P-Mac for this type of insight and more, and make sure to follow Chiefs Focus (@ChiefsFocus) all offseason long for breakdowns, takes, and analysis from some of the brightest minds in Chiefs Kingdom.