Offseason needs: None
The Chiefs could go out today with a lineup of Kareem Hunt, Spencer Ware, Charcandrick West and Anthony Sherman with Akeem Hunt returning kicks and be as good as anyone in the NFL. That said, any of the last three (West, Sherman, A. Hunt) could be candidates to be cut. So, in a sense, the Chiefs could ‘create their own need’ this offseason, but they don’t have to.
Returning: Kareem Hunt and Charcandrick West
The true offensive ROTY, and NFL rushing leader, was arguably the team’s MVP last season. When the offense flowed through him, and he was able to break off big plays, the Chiefs didn’t lose. Hunt showed a rare ability in the passing game and impossible-to-tackle style of play that should make him the focal point of the 2018 offense.
Charcandrick West settled into a third down back role, primarily because of his ability to pass protect. He did see some spot duty and glimpses of production, but he’ll likely be buried on the depth chart if he returns in 2018. The Chiefs could save about $1.7M against the cap by releasing or trading him this offseason if they choose to move on.
Additions: Spencer Ware
This is something we aren’t talking enough about. Without making any other moves, the Chiefs are adding an experienced running back that can catch the ball and absolutely run over people. In 2016 as the Chiefs featured back, Ware racked up 1368 total yards and five TDs. Early in the season, he was the guy who sparked the entire offense when he would break off a long run. His style and Kareem Hunt’s have some similarities, so if both are involved in 2018, they could keep each other fresh and keep the offense rolling. The combination of “thunder and thunder” could keep the pressure off of Mahomes and give the balanced approach this team needs to be dominant.
In case you forgot, here is Ware’s highlight reel from 2016.
Subtractions: Anthony Sherman
“The Sausage” is a free agent, and he carried a cap number of $2.3M this past season. That’s quite a bit for a guy that played only 17.5 percent of the offensive snaps. He has been a mainstay on this team, and a stud on special teams, but the Chiefs will have a decision to make on whether or not to sign him to another substantial contract, or go with a cheap rookie.
Unknown: Akeem Hunt
The “other Hunt” is under contract for 2018, but it’s unclear if he’ll have a role on the team. He didn’t distinguish himself on offense or special teams in 2017. If the rest of the depth chart stays the same, Akeem would have little opportunity to contribute as a running back. So, his chances of staying on the roster depend on how the Chiefs see him as a kick returner.
Compared to 2017
Kareem Hunt made this position group a strength in 2017. The return of Spencer Ware might just put them over the top. Whether West, Sherman and Hunt return, or if they are replaced with comparable players, the Chiefs running backs have an opportunity to be a strength of the team and the best backfield in the NFL.