Jarrod Thurman @JarrodChiefsFCS Chiefs Focus @Chiefsfocus
For the most part, the Chiefs are done in free agency outside of possibly some depth-filling signings. So in this article, I will review each position and how many players are under contract as of writing at that position. As of writing the Chiefs have 64 players under contract with 26 roster openings to fill before minicamps begin.
Shane Buechele, Blaine Gabbert, Patrick Mahomes, Chris Oladokun
Patrick Mahomes is the starter, ‘nuff said. Buechele, who has yet to play in his first NFL game after being inactive all of 2022 and some of 2021, is the likely backup barring a late veteran signing due to the retirement of Chad Henne. Chris Oladokun spent the entire 2023 season on the Chiefs practice squad. Gabbert, the newest Chief having been signed on April (day), was signed as a potential veteran backup for Mahomes and should fit in well if the 2x league MVP gets injured or if the Chiefs don’t have anything to play for in week 18. Despite signing Gabbert, don’t completely rule out drafting a quarterback late like Stetson Bennet of Georgia or Max Duggan of TCU or signing an undrafted free agent because the Chiefs do sometimes bring 5 quarterbacks into camp.
Clyde Edwards-Helaire, Isiah Pacheco, La’Mical Perine
Isiah Pacheco played his way into the starting position last season. He finished 5th among rookies in rushing yards and tied for 2nd among rookies in rushing touchdowns. Clyde Edwards-Helaire has been subject to trade rumors all offseason and may have played his last game in a Chiefs uniform. La’Mical Perine was a late addition to the practice squad at the end of last season after being signed the day before the AFC Championship game. This is a position that has a lot of open spots as the Chiefs will typically have 5 to 7 for the offseason. Re-signing Jerrick McKinnon is a possibility but the Chiefs could also draft a running back and may sign one or two as an undrafted free agent. The Chiefs, after losing Michael Burton, do not have a fullback on the roster. They may draft one as well.
Jerrion Ealy, Ty Fryfogle, Richie James, Skyy Moore, Cornell Powell, John Ross, Justyn Ross, Ihmir Smith-Marsette, Kadarius Toney, Justin Watson, Marquez Valdes-Scantling
Valdes-Scantling is the number 1 receiver. Kadarius Toney stepped up in the playoffs and made some big plays including a big late touchdown and a big late punt return to help secure the win in Super Bowl LVII. Ealy, Powell, and Smith-Marsette were practice squad players last season. Justyn Ross was an under-the-radar undrafted free agent signing last season until an injury prevented him from playing. Skyy Moore struggled most of last season and didn’t score his first touchdown until the Super Bowl but did show some signs of potential last season. John Ross, a former 1st round selection by the Bengals, still owns the combine record for the fastest 40-yard dash time. James was recently signed after officially being signed on April 11th. The Chiefs re-signed Watson in Mid-April after scoring two touchdowns in 2022. DeAndre Hopkins has been mentioned as a potential player to trade for and receiver has been mentioned as a potential first-round draft pick this season.
Blake Bell, Matt Bushman, Jody Fortson, Jordan Franks, Noah Gray, Travis Kelce
Travis Kelce is Travis Kelce, no need to elaborate further. The Chiefs re-signed Wichita native Blake Bell this off-season despite missing the majority of last season with an injury. Bushman and Franks spent last season on the practice squad and are looking to find a way onto the roster. Fortson has shown promise as a red zone threat but has had some issues with injuries having missed 15 of a possible 34 games so far in his career. Noah Gray played more in 2022 than he did in 2021 and recorded a respectable (for a backup tight end) 299 yards. Half of his receptions went for a first down as well. This position is pretty well maxed out. I don’t anticipate any more tight ends being signed but I could see one being signed as an undrafted free agent.
Nick Allegretti G, Mike Caliendo G, Creed Humphrey C, Darian Kinnard T, Lucas Niang T, Austin Reiter C, Trey Smith G, Jawaan Taylor T, Prince Tega Wanogho T, Joe Thuney G
The Chiefs have 10 offensive linemen as of writing. Humphrey is the best offensive lineman on the team and is one of the best centers in the NFL. Both of last year’s guards are returning as well, Trey Smith and Joe Thuney who are two of the most underappreciated guards in the NFL. Tackle is where the changes are coming. The Chiefs snagged Jawaan Taylor in free agency but it’s unclear if he’ll play left or right but most likely it will be left tackle. Lucas Niang, baring the Chiefs drafting an offensive lineman, will be the starting right tackle unless the Chiefs draft a left tackle and move Taylor to right. Reiter returns as the backup center but in a pinch can play guard as well. Allegretti is a key reserve offensive lineman. Prince Tega Wanaogho was on the active roster last season but only played more than 10 snaps once. Kinnard is in his 2nd year but he and Caliendo are potential cut candidates. The Chiefs may draft an offensive lineman or two to fill out the rest of the lineman room.
Byron Cowart DT, Mike Danna DE, Phil Hoskins DT, Malik Herring DE, Chris Jones DT, Joshua Kaindoh DE, George Karlaftis DE, Derrick Nnadi DT, Charles Omenihu DE, Danny Shelton DT, Tershawn Wharton DT, Daniel Wise DT
Chris Jones is coming off his best season where he was a Defensive Player of the Year finalist and is joined on the interior line by Derrick Nnadi. Cowart was signed this offseason after playing the Colts last year. Danna, Kaindoh, Karlaftis, and Wharton are all returning rotational players on the line. The Chiefs added Omenihu from the 49ers who may land the starting defensive end spot along with Karlaftis. Herring, Hoskins, and Shelton spent most if not all of last season on the practice squad. Wise, a former Kansas Jayhawk, spent most of last season with the Commanders before being released and spending 2 weeks on the Chiefs’ practice squad in January.
Nick Bolton, Leo Chenal, Cole Christiansen, Jack Cochrane, Willie Gay, Drue Tranquill
The Chiefs are not carrying very many linebackers on their roster at the moment. Only six linebackers are under contract. The Chiefs entered the 2022 preseason with 10 linebackers on the roster, the remaining spots will likely be filled in the draft and with undrafted free agents. Nick Bolton somehow was not selected for the Pro Bowl last season but showed the doubters with a key fumble recovery for a touchdown in the Super Bowl. Willie Gay has proven to be a reliable linebacker. The Chiefs typically only officially start 2 linebackers opting for an additional defensive back instead, but will still use a 3rd linebacker in some situations. Drue Tranquill, who’s been called an under-the-radar signing, will likely fill this role. Chenal was a rookie last year but didn’t accomplish much. Christiansen spent most of the season on the practice squad, while Cochrane was on the active roster but didn’t play much.
Dicaprio Bootle CB, Deon Bush S, Bryan Cook S, Mike Edwards S, Nazeeh Johnson S, Trent McDuffie CB, Justin Reid S, L’Jarius Sneed CB, Jaylen Watson CB, Joshua Williams CB
The Chiefs young secondary played well down the stretch of the season. Joshua Williams proved to be a steal after the Chiefs drafted him in the 4th round but he played like a 1st-round selection. McDuffie got injured early in the season but played well when he came back. Reid stepped up as an emergency kicker early in the season when Butker was injured. Bootle, Bush, and Cook all were big role players while Watson contributed some on special teams. Johnson had a pretty quiet season. The Chiefs added Mike Edwards who played for the Bucs last season and may compete for a starting spot.
Harrison Butker K, P Tommy Townsend, James Winchester LS
Harrison Butker returns after dealing with an injured ankle most of the 2022 season that led to what was statistically the worst season of his career where some fans were calling for his job, despite him still being the 3rd most accurate kicker in NFL history. He silenced most of these critics with two of the biggest field goals in his career, a late game-winning field goal in the AFC Championship game with 3 seconds left and the Super Bowl with 8 seconds left. Tommy Townsend is returning after an All-Pro season after signing his restricted free agent tender. Hopefully, the Chiefs can secure him to a long term deal soon. James Winchester is the second longest-tenured player on the team behind Travis Kelce and has proven to be a reliable long-snapper. You rarely see Tommy Townsend having to reach for the snaps on field goals and extra points. I could see the Chiefs bringing in a kicker after Butker struggled last season to stick the old saying “competition breeds improvement” even if he doesn’t survive training camp.
This is the Chiefs roster as it stands right now. The draft will add a few more names to this list as will undrafted free agents. There still may be a couple of players re-signed as well.