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Can the Chiefs Run it Back?

Courtesy KC Chiefs

By Nick Athan

At the end of the Chiefs Super Bowl party with their fans on Wednesday, Chris Jones, made it known the task ahead is to repeat as Super Bowl Champions. Granted the players were loose, they’d been partying since breakfast, and with hundreds of thousands of fans enjoying the day off from work, KC’s best defender made it clear he intends to be back in Kansas City celebrating with the fans again next year.

It’s been a whirlwind ride for the Kansas City Chiefs since Sunday. They’ve begun the dynasty narrative with their second Super Bowl win in four years.  In their championship season, the coaches, players, and fans were heavily vested in what ended up as a disrespectful tour throughout the postseason.

The team dealt with that in the regular season. In the playoffs, Kansas City had to fight the NFL narrative they were upset candidates against the Jacksonville Jaguars, Cincinnati Bengals, and Philadelphia Eagles. The talk early was the Jaguars were playing great football and KC could be upset. The Bengals owned the Chiefs, and with Mahomes injury, most predicted they’d fall to Cincinnati. Lastly, for nearly two weeks, the Chiefs had to hear how the Eagles were the better team.

How’d that work out?

In the end, despite a severe ankle injury that created some tense moments for Patrick Mahomes, and the fan base, this team rallied around their MVP quarterback to become Super Bowl Champions again

Now the hard part.  Can this team win it again next season?  You bet they can, but they have some roster chess pieces that Head Coach, Andy Reid, and General Manager will have to maneuver.

So, what are eight key questions facing the Chiefs, beginning tomorrow, when the Super Bowl afterglow is in their rear-view mirror?

  1. Eric Bieniemy – As of this writing, KC’s OC is meeting with Washington Commanders brass and Head Coach, Ron Rivera, regarding their vacant opening. It’s an easy assumption that EB will take the job and remove himself from the shadows of Andy Reid.  Good news for the Chiefs, Matt Nagy, will slide right into the OC role.
  2. Chris Jones – KC’s best defender has a massive cap hit for 2023, and there have been discussions, his agent and Veach have already begun talks centered on getting a contract extension done before the start of the new league year. That will give Veach even more cap space.
  3. JuJu Smith-Schuster – He might be the biggest off-season decision Veach has to make. Even though JuJu has made it clear he wants to return to the Chiefs, he’s likely going to want a contract in the $12-15M per year range. I’d say the two sides get a deal done because of his relationship and chemistry with Mahomes.
  4. Jerrick McKinnon – The pending free agent has played the best football of his career in the last two seasons. He’s invaluable to KC’s offense and perfectly complements Isiah Pacheco.
  5. Orland Brown, Jr. – I’m certainly on the fence about retaining KC’s starting Left Tackle. He played at a higher level in the postseason than he did at times in the regular season. He turned down some serious money from Veach last year, so I suspect they’ll place the franchise tag on him again.  If they can’t come up with a number, it’s possible Veach could get a pair of high draft picks for Brown.
  6. Frank Clark – I’ve come full circle on Clark. His play in the postseason since he’s been in Kansas City has been stellar. He stands just three sacks short of the postseason record that might cement his place in Canton. Based on his relationship with Reid, the fact he’s overcome some personal tragedy, and some bad off-the-field decisions, I would think he’ll take a team-friendly deal to return.
  7. Brett Veach – It’s going to be an exciting month for KC’s General Manager. The Chiefs can create some serious cap by restructuring Jones and Clark’s contracts to sign a couple of big-time free agents or start paying some of his recent draft picks. With 11 selections in his pocket, Veach has shown the last two years, he can turn over his roster with young talented players, which can pay immediate dividends on the field.
  8. Chad Henne – On Sunday, KC’s backup quarterback and postseason hero, announced his retirement from the NFL. Veach and Reid need to find someone to back up Mahomes. If I were them, I’d strongly consider, Drew Lock. He’s a free agent, and I think he’s the perfect fit to work under Mahomes. He’s a Midwest kid and has always dreamed of playing for the Chiefs. Now the Missouri graduate might get that chance


In summary, the Chiefs are the kings of the NFL until someone knocks them off their pedestal. If the players really believe they can run it back, something they failed to do after winning Super Bowl LIV, Veach and Reid must make some tough and aggressive moves.


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