Buying: Anything related to Travis Kelce
Every offseason features a breakout player who doesn't actually break out. Remember the exciting offseasons with Jon Baldwin's late night workouts and incredible catches in practice? You'd be wise, however, to bet big on Travis Kelce as someone who will actually deliver real results once the regular season begins. He's back from injury and in a big way. Here's one example from Sunday night. And one from the week before.
Kelce recently told us that he's still coming back from last season's microfracture surgery and needs to build up further stamina. If he's only going to get better, the mismatches will keep coming for the Chiefs offense.
Selling: Secondary depth
If you watched the Chargers vs. Seahawks preseason exhibition (because hey, it's football), then you might have caught this play. Yep, that's Chargers cornerback Brandon Flowers stuck on Seahawks wide receiver Doug Baldwin like flypaper. The penalty called seemed shaky, but either way, Flowers looked good for SD.
What's the point? The point is that the Chiefs are without Flowers, and that move looks worrisome given the way the Chiefs secondary looked against the Panthers. Consider that the Panthers had arguably the worst wide receiving corps in the NFL on paper last year and then allowed 20-plus yard strikes to Kelvin Benjamin, Brandon Williams, Jason Avant, and Fozzy Whittaker. Yep, Fozzy Whittaker. In addition, Derek Anderson looked like it was 2007 again.
With so many young players, each and every rep is hopefully moving them toward a better overall performance, but it's difficult to be hopeful about the pass defense at this point. It wouldn't surprise me at all if the Chiefs scanned the waiver wire for a veteran free agent option to add in the coming weeks, even as they whittle down the final roster.
Buying: Chase Daniel
Some folks think the Chiefs back-up quarterback could be on his way out of town. The reason? There are one too many at the position vying for precious few spots on the final roster. Aaron Murray was just drafted and featured in the team's second preseason game. Tyler Bray held on for a full year after signing as an undrafted free agent, and Andy Reid said we'll see plenty more from him against the Vikings. That's more playing time for others and less for Chase Daniel.
The reasoning behind dumping Daniel is his cap hit ($3.4 milllion), and the team's lack of playing time for Daniel might insinuate a move. However, it's hard to believe the Chiefs would hand the reins to a complete unknown with a win-now mentality. Daniel is, at least, a more experienced, trusted hand. That's worth the money paid.
Instead the Chiefs are likely giving the bulk of playing time to Bray and Murray for a reason: they're the only ones competing for a roster spot at this point.
Selling: The offensive line
Speaking of the youth up front, is this really the best position for the Chiefs to require such a steep learning curve? While the Chiefs were primed for significant losses up front, it was perhaps one player too many. Losing Branden Albert was obvious, but finding the millions to re-sign would make things up front a lot easier. Instead, the Chiefs are relying an awful lot on the fact that Smith has an above average intellect with the ball.
The Chiefs have one of the youngest and most inexperienced offensive fronts in the NFL. Jeff Allen and Rodney Hudson are entrenched starters at left guard and center, respectively. From there, it's new faces in new places. Eric Fisher at left tackle. Donald Stephenson slides in at right tackle. Zach Fulton is hogging starter reps at right guard. And of course, there's Laurent Duvernay-Tardif, Rishaw Johnson, Eric Kush, and Ricky Henry coming next on the depth chart. All young. All inexperienced.
The good news is that a specific set are receiving the bulk of offensive snaps all together. Zach Fulton is taking the same amount of reps between Hudson and Stephenson. Fisher is getting his work in. The line might be inexperienced, but credit the Chiefs for identifying their core five and doing all they can to get them the work they need.
Buying: Alex Smith's financial opportunities
Let's say, for a minute, that Alex Smith's extension does not arrive before the regular season begins. Talks are then tabled, which gives the Chiefs starting quarterback a chance to really make his money.
If Smith is able to deliver the goods after the Chiefs failed to invest (again) at wide receiver and left him with a potential sieve for an offensive front, you better believe he'll better the Andy Dalton contract range and reach toward Joe Flacco. Whether you believe he can do it or not likely shows where you fall on the "how good is Alex Smith" scale, but Smith has an excellent chance to silence his doubters (and rake in the dough) with the position the Chiefs have potentially put him in.