Way Too Early Offseason Preview
The trade deadline has passed so barring a big late-season free agent pickup like Odell Beckham, the Chiefs’ core roster is pretty much set for the season. While we’re hoping the season ends on February 12th in Glendale, Arizona with the Chiefs winning their 3rd Super Bowl, we’ll take an early look at what’s to come this offseason.
The number one thing in the offseason is free agency. The Chiefs have some big players with expiring contracts. Carlos Dunlap and Juju Smith-Schuster both signed one year contracts while Orlando Brown Jr is playing on a franchise tag. Juju and Brown are likely to be high priority on getting new contracts. The Chiefs have several other key players who have contracts set to expire this offseason including Jerick McKinnon, Michael Burton, Derrick Nnadi, Mecole Hardman, Tommy Townsend, and Juan Thornhill.
Hardman just had one of the best games of his career and Tommy Townsend appears to be on the way to a potential All-Pro season. McKinnon has been a solid running back when we need him, and Burton is key in short yardage situations. Dunlap is the only player I’ve mentioned I feel pretty confident that he won’t be resigned. As it stands right now with a projected $218,200,000 salary cap, the Chiefs will have a little under $20 million to spend in free agency, baring bonus conversions from players like Travis Kelce recently did.
As far as free agents from other teams are concerned, a Kareem Hunt reunion is possible. The rumor mill had a potential trade with the Browns on the table for Hunt. Another reunion is possible, but this one is with Justin Houston, though with how good of a season he is having, the Ravens might not let him go. The Chiefs had attempted to trade for James Bradberry in the offseason, but a trade never came to fruition and he is a pending free agent. The list of potential free agents is small due to what might be an issue with cap space after Orlando Brown is signed, but contract restructuring is a possibility.
As far as the draft is concerned, as it stands right now the Chiefs have 9 draft picks including trades and the Chiefs’ Resolution JC-2A pick from the Bears hiring Ryan Poles as general manager. Additionally, the Chiefs are projected to get 2 compensatory picks as well bringing the grand total to 11 picks, which may give the Chiefs some trade capital. Clark Hunt reportedly told Brett Veach the 1st round pick is off-limits for a trade since the draft is in Kansas City.
The breakdown of the selections as it stands now are: 1 selection in the 1st round, 1 in the 2nd, 1 in the 3rd, 2 in the 4th, 1 in the 5th, 2 in the 6th, and 3 in the 7th. That breakdown includes compensatory pick projections. Last year, the Chiefs used draft capital to move up in the draft. They might do the same thing if they have a player they like. At the moment, my projection for a 1st pick is they trade up and draft a tackle. Peter Skoronski is the highest rated tackle currently but he’s in the top 10 and I think the cost would be too high. Paris Johnson Jr. from Ohio State is the 2nd highest rated tackle right now and is in the top 20 of most draft boards. He could be more affordable to trade up for.
Potential coaching staff changes are difficult to predict. Eric Bieniemy most likely is out the door. His name is always attached to NFL jobs and reportedly Colorado, where he played his college ball at, is interested. Unfortunately the Giants poached Mike Kafka who was in line for the new offensive coordinator spot, however, Matt Nagy is back and might get promoted back to offensive coordinator. I am not sure if any positions coaches are in line for a coordinator spot but the Chiefs typically lose 1 or 2 each offseason, so that’s likely to happen again.
There’s still a long way to go this season, but it never hurts to preview what is to come in the offseason. By now, we have all learned to trust Veach.