There's no way around it, the Kansas City Chiefs will turn over the wide receiver position this offseason. With another loaded draft class and several interesting free agents, the Chiefs will have several options to consider at the position. One name that should fly under the radar is veteran Eddie Royal, a familiar face who's played the last few years with rival San Diego Chargers.
Royal has turned into a nice red zone target for Mike McCoy's offense, with 15 total touchdowns over the last two seasons. He also enjoyed his strongest season since his rookie year in 2014, with 62 catches for 778 yards and seven touchdowns.
We recently asked John Gennaro from SB Nation's Chargers blog, Bolts From the Blue, to see if he believes Royal will test the free agent waters and what teams should expect to pay, if so.
Do you expect the Chargers to bring back Eddie Royal at all? What percentage chance does he have of hitting the open market?
Gennaro: I do. I would actually be surprised if he left the Chargers. He came in with Mike McCoy, who had coached him in Denver, and he's had his two most effective seasons in the last two years. I don't think he wants to go, and I don't think the team wants to search for another player like him. I give him a 25 percent chance of hitting the open market.
Royal turned in his strongest numbers last year since his rookie season. What sort of impact does Royal bring on the field?
Gennaro: He's hard to describe. He's almost that Percy Harvin-type of player. He runs routes out of the slot, is the team's main target on bubble screens (a huge part of their offense), he runs reverses, etc. He affects both the running game and the passing game, and he can get open quickly close to the line of scrimmage.
Royal continues to find the end zone for the Chargers with 15 over last two seasons compared with 10 during the previous five years. Is that about how the Chargers use him?
Gennaro: Yup! He's not really a big play threat, but when they're in the red zone they know most of the defense's focus is going to go on stopping the run, stopping Antonio Gates, and stopping a fade route to Malcom Floyd. That leaves a lot of room for Eddie Royal to get open and get into the end zone.
If you had to guess on final numbers and future for Royal ...?
Gennaro: Three years and $14 million is a fair deal for both sides. Royal might find more money on the open market, but I don't think the Chargers should go higher than that.