Sunday mornings during football season are a high-speed collision of game day rituals, bold predictions, and pregame jitters. In the offseason, we opt to take it slow and recap the week that was.
Charles Robinson @CRob5769
Writer – @ChiefsFocus
Michael Jordan’s comeback with the Chicago Bulls.
Tiger Woods 2019 Masters win.
Dave Chappelle’s first stand up special on Netflix after he bailed on Comedy Central.
What do all of these things have in common? Well, fundamentally not much. Jordan’s final three seasons in Chicago (which should have been more, thanks a lot Krause) followed up a peculiar stint in minor league baseball. Some would say that time was used to quiet the noise that MJ’s gambling escapades had created. Others, most in fact, would say it was a competitive maniac bored of his present challenge and seeking a new one. Long story short, he came back after a year and a half off and won 3 more championships in Chicago.
After his marital issues in the lates 2000’s, many believed Tiger Woods time as a dominant professional golfer was over. He was plagued by lower body and back issues. His influence had already created a groundswell of young players coming up in the ranks (Justin Thomas, Jordan Spieth, Rory McElroy to name a few) that were prepared to unseat him, if not make his life much more difficult. But that one April Sunday in 2019, Wood returned to the winners circle grabbing his fifth green jacket and 15th major championship.
Chapelle’s return to the stage? It’s well documented that the greatest comedian in human history was fed up with being controlled by a network and all things that came along with it. He retreated to Africa for several years leaving about $50 million on the table choosing not to re-up on the funniest skit series in television history. But his comeback shows on Netflix have been some of the most candid, honest, and frankly hilarious material that has ever been produced.
So what do these all have in common? All of these reiterations were the results of unfinished business. MJ and Chapelle had more in the tank and wanted to prove to the world and likely to themselves that they were still at the absolute top of their professions. Tiger may not have been the dominant golf course savage that he once was, but he still had it in him to piece together an incredible weekend at Augusta one more time.
They all had meteoric rises. They all had interruptions in the middle. And they all were able to end their absences (and in some cases careers) back on top.
The 2022 NFL offseason has created a similar affect on football fans.
When the offseason explosion started back in March with the Russell Wilson trade, Deshaun Watson signing with the Cleveland Browns, and the Tyreek Hill trade among other colossal free agent moves and draft picks, we were left with a few questions as to what would happen the remainder of the offseason.
Will Seattle really go into training camp with the fate of their season resting on a Drew Lock vs Geno Smith battle for QB1?
Did the Browns make a wise investment in signing Deshaun Watson, who’s legal issues remain unsettled, and appear to be intensifying?
What about Baker Mayfield? Were they just going to icebox him?
As for the Kansas City Chiefs, some question marks were answered during the end of free agency and the draft.
Who do we replace Tyraan Mathieu with? Insert Justin Reid.
Who takes over for Charvarius Ward? Draft Trent McDuffie.
Looks like we’re going to let Melvin Ingram walk…who takes those snaps? George Karlaftis, apparently.
No Tyreek? No problem. Sign Juju, MVS, and draft Skyy Moore.
But there are still a couple of questions left unanswered in the NFL as a whole, and in Kansas City.
We received the answer to one of the questions earlier this week when the Carolina Panthers traded a conditional pick in 2024 to the Browns for Baker Mayfield. Seems like a good trade for the Panthers, until you realize that the three quarterbacks they have on their roster – Mayfield, Sam Darnold, and rookie Matt Corral – have been acquired by trading or using a combined 6 draft picks. That’s a lot of capital for a group with no sustained success in the NFL.
That still leaves Cleveland laying in wait to see what happens with Watson. His disciplinary news was primed to be dropped the Friday before the 4th of July in the NFL’s annual “hopefully they miss this” news dump as his hearing concluded earlier that week. Still nothing from the league on Watson, but indications have suggested that he’ll be facing an extended suspension in 2022, potentially an indefinite one.
Where does that leave Cleveland? Without Watson they sport Jacoby Brissett and Josh Dobbs on the QB depth chart. In a division with the defending AFC Champion Cincinnati Bengals, a Baltimore Ravens team looking to make a run in Lamar Jackson’s potential last season with the team, and Pittsburgh rebuilding at QB but with arguably the most complete roster in the division, Cleveland is set up for a disaster of a 2022 campaign if Watson is unavailable. So when will the league make it’s decision?
In Seattle it appears they’re in the tank for _____ (whoever we may think the best QB is in next year’s draft) mode. Maybe it’s “Bite it for Bryce”? Potentially “Sink the Ship for CJ”. With Alabama and Ohio State both touting outstanding signal callers who will likely come out after this season, it appears the Seahawks are resigned to the fact that their QB of the future isn’t on the roster at the moment, so they’ll sacrifice the present to get him.
In Kansas City, there are still a couple of loose ends left to tie up. Left tackle Orlando Brown, Jr has until Friday to work out a contract extension with the team, otherwise he will play the 2022 season on the franchise tag. Presumably. There is always the outside chance that OBJr holds out, but there have been no indications that this would be an outcome anyone has suggested or would expect.
Many have speculated on the details of Brown’s contract, but with the silence on both ends (Brown’s representation and the Chiefs front office) publicly, my gut tells me no one on the outside really knows much detail behind these negotiations. We will see where the dominoes fall, but this is a deal that I think anyone would say makes sense for both sides to figure out sooner rather than later. Brown famously was denied the LT position in Baltimore due to Ronnie Stanley’s presence on the roster, and if the Chiefs declined a large LT value extension to Brown it would spell the end of his time at the position in the league. He has not excelled in pass blocking as much as run blocking in his young career, which could ultimately steer him back to the right side anywhere other than KC.
The Chiefs, however, need Orlando Brown, Jr more than OBJr needs them. Protecting Patrick Mahomes, making sure Patrick Mahomes has everything he needs, has become the clear vision of the past two offseasons for Brett Veach and the Kansas City front office. Extending Brown is not something I would consider an option, it’s a must.
The other big question mark on the roster comes on defense at the defensive end position. Rookie George Karlaftis looks ready to take on heavy responsibility on the 2022 roster, but the Chiefs could still use a veteran pass rusher presence to help bolster the defensive unit. Will they make a move for a veteran like Robert Quinn? The rumor mill is buzzing.
With only 12 days until rookies report to St. Joseph for camp and 16 for the veterans, time is running short on the 2022 offseason for KC. Moves will still be made during and after camp, but if the Chiefs want to go into St. Joe with a group of guys that they know can completely maximize the impact on the 53 man roster, there are a few more things that need to be ironed out.
If the Kansas City Chiefs approach the end of this offseason and the 2022 season like MJ, Tiger, and Dave Chapelle treated their comeback efforts, the Kingdom is in for a hell of a ride this season.