Sunday mornings during football season are a high-speed collision of gameday rituals, bold predictions, and pregame jitters. In the offseason, we opt to take it slow and recap the week that was.
Charles Robinson @CRob5769
Lead Writer – @ChiefsFocus
Kansas and Missouri have a lot of reasons to not like each other, and for the most part the folks in those 2 states find ways to do just that. Whether it’s essentially starting the Civil War back in the day, or over 100 years of pure, blissful hatred for the opposing University in all sports, Kansans and Missourians certainly have a hard time seeing eye to eye all of the time, if ever. I, myself, am a Missouri Man sharing a household with a Jayhawk woman. Is it trying? Yes. Does it suck that I found myself becoming somewhat of an ironic but kind of serious David McCormick fan during KU’s national championship run? Definitely. But we get by.
One thing that these two states can agree on is throwing a party. We all know about Football Woodstock in the parking lot at Arrowhead Stadium 8+ times per year, and the way that same slab of asphalt can rock when the Royals are built for success. Those are a given for anyone reading this blog. But the way KC – it’s Kansans and it’s Missourians – embraces live music is a pretty incredible thing to be a part of.
Last night my wife and I made a somewhat impulsive trip to Bonner Springs to check out Yallapalooza. Something that has apparently been a pillar of the KC country music scene for years that I had no clue really existed. I had heard the name and thought it was hilarious, but never realized it was an actual event I could attend. Whether it’s packing out the loudest stadium in North American sports, or selling out a massive outdoor concert in May in a field in Bonner Springs, there is a noticeable cease-fire in the ongoing border war (or showdown) when the good people of each state leave their differences in the truck and do what they do best – rock out.
That’s enough feel good, let’s get to what the internet (and twitter specifically) loves most – skepticism. I wrote earlier this week on Monday about Melvin Ingram’s departure to the Miami Dolphins. Then on Wednesday, the Philadelphia Eagles agreed to a 1 year, $10 million contract with recently cut Giants cornerback James Bradberry – the apple of many an eye in Chiefs Kingdom for a couple months as New York publicly placing Bradberry on the trading block leading into the draft, ultimately failing to land any return on a player they were clearly parting ways with either way.
When nothing landed, the Giants cut Bradberry shortly after the NFL Draft. At this point, most members of the Chiefs fan base were walking around with a decent amount of confidence that the team would end up with James Bradberry. And what an ideal scenario on paper – bring a proven vet into a room that just got very young. Bradberry would help L’Jarius Sneed and Rashad Fenton lead the charge as the old heads teaching these new rookies how to handle themselves in the NFL right? Yes, perfect.
Well, it didn’t happen. And the Chiefs didn’t retain Ingram for what appears to be an extra $500-600,000 that Miami provided on top of the UFA tag number the Chiefs placed on Ingram 2 weeks before. Much like the reaction that a lot of Chiefs twitter had to Brett Veach’s perceived failures in the first wave of free agency, a lot of folks were not happy about letting Ingram – a vet who proved in the second half of the 2021 season to be a valuable part of the Chiefs defense from both a performance and leadership perspective – and Bradberry off the hook for deals that the Chiefs certainly have the financial means to make.
With $14 million in cap space what is Veach doing, buying the dip on Bitcoin? Why are we not trying to improve two areas of our defense that we still perceive as fairly big concerns as they’re constructed today? The Chiefs must be waving the white flag – everyone else in the division was just a step ahead this offseason and made too many improvements for the Chiefs to compete with this roster, so we’re just going to settle for getting young and piling up picks for next year too.
The great thing about being a Chiefs fan is that there are several other fanbase overreactions that have had several people realizing that hindsight is always 2020. Just last year, Patrick Mahomes ran a half marathon scrambling around in a Super Bowl loss to the Buccaneers that prompted what the fanbase saw as an overhaul in the offensive line. But the team starts by cutting both starting tackles who were coming back from injuries – Eric Fisher and Mitch Schwartz. What are we doing? The answer – signing a guard from the Patriots no one has heard of a week later for a huge contract, What are we doing?? Leading up to the draft, the fanbase came down a little bit with the trade for Orlando Brown, Jr, but taking a center in the second round and some sixth round guard from Tennessee who had blood clots in his lungs? What are we DOING?!
You know how that story ends. One of, if not the, best offensive lines in football and a group that will allow the Chiefs to shift to a more balanced approach in 2022 and beyond.
I understand the skepticism. The rest of the AFC contenders have made strides this offseason. But Kansas City has transformed an aging veteran unit into a young one in the matter of only a few months. Take a look at what we had, compared to what we have coming in :
Anthony Hitchens – 8 years
Daniel Sorensen – 8 years
Tyrann Mathieu – 9 years
Melvin Ingram – 10 years
Leo Chenal – first year
Justin Reid – 4 years
Trent McDuffie, Bryan Cook – first year
George Karlaftis – first year
Yeah, the Chiefs let Melvin Ingram walk. What are they doing? They drafted George Karlaftis, they’re going to give him the ability to step in and continue growing as a player. No Bradberry – what are we doing? The contract was only $7.25 mil guaranteed! Well, Veach also drafted some thoroughbred secondary talent in Trent McDuffie, Bryan Cook, Joshua Williams, and crew and have some sturdy veteran support returning in Sneed and Fenton.
The moral of the story is this: don’t be outraged about something until you know what the final product is actually going to look like. That’d be like driving a car that’s only 75% of the way through the assembly process.
If there’s one thing that Brett Veach has a phenomenal track record of, it’s roster building. The Chiefs have been the wagon of the league for the past 4 seasons. Since the AFC Championship near miss in 2018 and the Super Bowl win in 2019 the expectations both locally, nationally, and in Vegas have been sky high. The Chiefs have been a prohibitive favorite going into each of the last 2 seasons, and in a cluster of teams near the top going into 2022. Even when the team has faltered, like the 3-4 start to last season, they rebound. A familiar saying towards the end of each of the last 4 regular seasons – “I think the best team in football right now is the Kansas City Chiefs.”
A lot is left to play out this offseason. Then we get to the regular season. Don’t be surprised when there are inevitable let downs. Maybe be surprised, depending on the news, but let’s try something new out for a change here in Chiefs Kingdom – let’s not overreact until we know what the final product is going to look like. If we get to the regular season and it’s clear that we’re going to be outclassed, then yeah – let’s riot.
But until then, let the process play out. It’s produced pretty good results thus far.