By Nick Athan
The NFL combine officially kicked off this week with a round of interviews for Head Coaches and General Managers. Among them were the Super Bowl LVII Champs, Andy Reid, and Brett Veach. Both spoke to the media, and honestly, we didn’t learn a lot. However, the kings of the NFL have some tough decisions to make before the new league year begins.
As Super Bowl Champions, the Kansas City Chiefs have a target on their backs. Not just because they won their second Lombardi Trophy in the last four years, but they have the NFL’s best head coach, a very aggressive general manager, a generational quarterback, and organizational unity from top to bottom.
Now the fun begins. I’m not a big fan of the run-it-back moniker the Chiefs used after they won Super Bowl LIV, but if a team is ever going to go win back-to-back Lombardi Trophies, and further make a run at the Miami Dolphins undefeated season, it’ll be this team.
So, what must they do to make another Super Bowl run?
- One of the bigger items was solving the Eric Bieniemy issue. Luckily the organization found a landing spot for their offensive coordinator in Washington. In promoting Matt Nagy to succeed EB, Reid now has someone that can help the master offensive genius evolve the offense to even greater heights. Further, he can groom Nagy to ultimately become his successor when Reid retires at the end of his current contract.
- A year ago, the Chiefs were unsuccessful in signing Left Tackle, Orlando Brown, Jr. to a contract extension. Instead, his modest holdout in training camp ended with a call from his quarterback to get into camp. Fast forward it’s likely Veach will tag Brown again, but that might be to facilitate a trade. Watch out for the New York Jets as a possible landing spot. I just don’t think Veach is going to up his numbers from a year ago.
- On defense, the Chiefs need to extend the contract of Chris Jones. His $29M cap hit won’t work for Veach, and from what I’ve been told, the two sides are expected to get a deal done before the new league year begins.
- Frank Clark is in a similar boat. He has a $28M cap hit, but based on his relationship with Reid, I suspect they’ll cut Clark and re-sign him to a one-year deal. I’m told he wants to return and is on pace to break the all-time post-season sack record, and I know he wants to do that in a Chiefs uniform.
- JuJu Smith-Schuster has quickly become a fan favorite. He came to Kansas City on a one-year prove-it deal and cashed in handsomely with a $1M Super Bowl win bonus. He’s clearly stated he wants to return. Two things fall in line for Veach to make this happen. First, his relationship with Mahomes. Second, the chance to win multiple Super Bowls with the Chiefs might allow Veach to sign him to a team-friendly deal.
- If I were Veach, I’d resist the silly rumor the Chiefs might trade Cornerback L’Jarius Sneed. He enters the season on the last year of his rookie deal, and though he’s in line for an extension, I don’t see KC paying him top cornerback money. They landed three rookie cornerbacks that each made significant impacts this season, so Veach can be conservative in waiting until mid-season to engage in extension talks with Sneed.
- When Chad (Henne-Thing Is Possible) announced his retirement after SB LVII, the Chiefs must find a backup for Mahomes. Under Reid, he’s always had a veteran presence behind Mahomes, and I suspect that’ll be no different this year. A hot name that has surfaced in the last 24 hours is former Washington Commanders Quarterback, Carson Wentz. Though I think he’d be a great choice for the Chiefs, I’d prefer Seattle Seahawks and former Missouri Tiger Quarterback, Drew Lock. He’s a KC kid and grew up loving the Chiefs. Sounds like a perfect fit for Reid.