Analyzing Offseason Moves of NFL Contenders: Kansas City Chiefs

Photo Cred: USA Today

Time to analyze the offseason of a top contender heading into 2023 and the team that won it all back in February: the Kansas City Chiefs. Patrick Mahomes and company will look to transform the Chiefs into a surefire dynasty. Thus far, they have two Super Bowl wins and five straight AFC championship appearances. Their path to ring #3 will be challenging as the AFC continues to load up. It will be a gauntlet next season and beyond. The Chiefs could not keep the whole gang back together, but that didn’t mean they were afraid to do anything. They surprised many with some of their moves, their aggressiveness, who they let walk, and their attempt to make another run at the big show. Let’s see how they did.

The Chiefs went into the new league year with many pivotal losses. They had to replace starting offensive tackles for the second time in three years. LT Orlando Brown Jr. was undoubtedly their most significant player loss, making his way to the Cincinnati Bengals after contract disputes soured his relationship with the team. The departure of Offensive Coordinator Eric Bieniemy may be even more crucial than Brown. Head Coach Andy Reid holds Bieniemy in high regard, personally advocating for years that he deserved head coaching consideration. Now, we get to find out what Bieniemy is made of as he heads off to call plays for the Washington Commanders. He is also taking RT Andrew Wylie with him. The Chiefs brought back former Bears head coach Matt Nagy as OC. This is a return to the role he held previously (and insight into the other team’s apprehension with Bieniemy). Reid will remain the cog driving this electric Chiefs offense.

Eric Bieniemy has been with the Chiefs since 2013 and coached the offense since 2018. (Photo by Jamie Schwaberow/Getty Images)

Photo Cred: Yahoo Sports

To start the free agency period, the Chiefs surprised everyone. They signed Jaguars OT Jawaan Taylor to a monster 4-year $80 million contract. Initially, it was announced that Taylor would be moving to LT.  It’s a position he had never played before in his NFL career. Their signing of LT Donovan Smith (a former Buccaneer) quelled many doubts, returning Taylor to his more natural role of RT. In the 3rd round of the 2023 NFL draft, the Chiefs traded up for OT Wanya Morris out of Oklahoma. The move further shores up depth at the position. JuJu Smith-Schuster (the team’s de-facto WR1) also departed, as did WR Mecole Hardman. They signed with the New England Patriots and New York Jets, respectively.

Kansas City Chiefs v Chicago Bears

Photo Cred: Arrow Head Pride

The Chiefs already featured a lackluster WR core outside TE Travis Kelce, with many waiting to see if 34 is the age that catches up to him. The team will look to replace their production through a healthy Kadarius Toney. Last year, they traded for him mid-season. They will be hoping that Skyy Moore has a year-two leap. Kansas City also selected rookie Rashee Rice in the 2nd round.. The WR room remains the most questionable position group, full of unproven talent. De’Andre Hopkins was a potential trade candidate, though his ultimate release from Arizona makes that move unlikely. The team currently holds less than $1 million in cap space, meaning a push for Hopkins or other WRs would require them to kick money down the road. If there were one area to pinpoint a potential downfall, this would be the one. The days of Tyreek Hill speeding down the sideline are long gone.

The Chiefs spent their first-round pick on Defensive End Felix Anudike-Uzomah. The Kansas City native will attempt to replace the production of DE Frank Clark. DE Charles Omenihu, who signed a 2-year, $16 million deal, will help him. Anudike-Uzomah is the latest addition to a slew of draft capital spent on the Chiefs’ defense. The team will be banking on leaps from their young guys, who are all on the cheap.

Photo Cred: USA Today

DE George Karlaftis, CB Trent McDuffie, and S Bryan Cook were drafted in the first two rounds of the 2022 NFL draft. The team will need them to take the year-two leaps they’re expecting. Cook must replace another key starter lost in free agency, S Juan Thornhill, who signed with the Cleveland Browns. Thankfully, S Mike Edwards (also from the Buccaneers) will be there to start if Cook is not quite ready. Overall, the Chiefs are banking on smart drafting and bargain-bin free agency signings to replace their high-priced veterans. This roster remains loaded from top to bottom. Lombardi #3 is easily within their grasp if it all pans out.

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