Jarrod Thurman @JarrodChiefsFCS Chiefs Focus @Chiefsfocus
We’re just under 2 weeks removed from the Super Bowl and there are some teams already entering the season with a lot of hype and some that aren’t getting enough hype. I’m going to review both
The Buffalo Bills are in trouble.
As it stands right now they are $18.7 million over in cap space and they have several big-name players with expiring contracts including Jordan Poyer, Rodger Saffold, and Tremaine Edwards. Josh Allen has a $39 million cap hit for the 2023 season. They could restructure the contract, but at best that would get them to break even. They may have some difficult decisions ahead of this offseason. While they aren’t getting as much hype as the other teams I’m about to mention, I do think they are going to take a big step back, especially considering they have one of the toughest schedules in the league for 2023.
Despite losing the Super Bowl, already have a lot of hype for next season. They lost both offensive and defensive coordinators both, they are $3.1 million over the cap as of the present moment. They could create some space by restructuring Darius Slay and Lane Johnson’s contracts. However, their “best defensive line in the NFL” all are set to be free agents as are perineal all-Pro Center Jason Kelce and James Bradberry. With them having a high draft pick as well, who will get a high-dollar rookie contract, this is a recipe for a Super Bowl hangover and some regression. They may sneak into the playoffs, but honestly, I’m not convinced they are a threat next season. They also have the toughest 2023 schedule, based on 2022 records, in the NFL.
The Chargers are $19 million over the cap, with a looming extension for Justin Herbert around the corner. Now, if something is going to work in their favor it would be no pending expensive contracts this offseason. However, this is a team that continues to underperform expectations, as does Herbert. They made the playoffs and allowed one of the biggest comebacks in playoff history. There are analysts already trying to crown them AFC West champions and Super Bowl champions. They did not impress me very much last season and embarrassed themselves in the playoffs. If they would have played the Bills or Bengals in the first round, they would have been blown out. They also have a pretty difficult schedule as well, including playing the defending champion Chiefs twice.
The Bears have $98 million in cap space (what??!!!) and the number 1 overall draft pick. They don’t have any pending free agents with potentially high-dollar contracts either. This is a team set up to take a massive leap forward. The only thing that may keep them out of the playoffs, or make a deep playoff run, is the lack of high draft picks. However, they are rumored to be interested in trading out of the number 1 slot which lead to them gaining some draft picks this year. This team only won 3 games in 2022 but could win as many as 9 games next season with a good offseason. Justin Fields’ development is going to be the key to their success.
The Bengals have been picked as Super Bowl champions for next year, but I don’t think they are getting the hype for next season they deserve. They have $36 million in cap space with the only high-dollar contract extension pending being Joe Burrow. Jessie Bates is a pending free agent too, but his contract is unlikely to be something that eats a lot of cap space. This team turned it around after an 0-2 start and went 11-3 in the final 14 games and knocked off the favorite heading into the playoffs before losing to the Chiefs on a last-second field goal.
Kansas City Chiefs:
Are the defending champs underhyped? This might be confusing for non-Chiefs fans, but I’m already starting to see some doubt as well as the Chargers once again being crowned the division champs before the season even begins. But why? I think people are overestimating the impact losing Eric Bieniemy will have. Andy Reid is excellent at maintaining continuity between seasons and that is the key to the Chiefs’ success. The Chiefs are currently projected to be over the cap. The Chiefs can save $21 million by cutting Frank Clark. They can also save up to $33 million with a restructuring of Patrick Mahomes’ contract. Other restructuring options include Joe Thuney and Travis Kelce. They obviously aren’t going to restructure them all, but we could see a couple of restructures happen and/or cutting Frank Clark.
Free agency is right around the corner and there’s still a lot of time for the hype to die down or hype to start. We will see down the stretch which hypes stick.