FanPost

Chief Needs

The first and biggest move of the Chief's offseason already occured when Brett Veach made the trade heard around the world, sending Alex Smith to the Redskins for Kendall Fuller and a 3rd Round pick. This move also created around $15.4 millon in cap space (17 from Alex minus Fuller's salary minus the 3rd round pick's salary). Considering the value of having Fuller on his cheap rookie deal I'm not sure how this could be viewed as anything but a home run!

The Mahomes era has officially begun and immediately improving the defense is such a smart strategy. Bill Polian regrets after drafting Peyton Manning that he did not focus more resources towards a gang-buster defense. Think of how many crap receivers #18 made look like pro bowlers over the years. Mahomes will elevate the offense around him, like top-tier quarterbacks do, so improving our lackluster defense will have much more impact on improving the 2018 Kansas City Chiefs. Plus Mahomes already has an offense that is set up for success having an elite running back, wide receiver, and tight end. There are many needs on this defense and on this team, this is a article to open discussion on what positional needs exist.

The quarterback room is almost empty occupied by only Patrick Mahomes, so congrats Pat, you're the starter. Obviously there needs to be some additions here.

The running back position is solid. Kareem Hunt is obviously the man. Spencer Ware got hurt so early last season that he should return to form sooner rather than later while Charcandrick West is a decent scat back to round out the backfield.

The tight end group is also a little thin. Travis Kelce is the best in the league at this point but we don't have a real second stringer. Demetrius Harris is a frustrating player, flashes of talent have kept him on the team (for how many years now?) while his foolish mistakes in the simple aspects of the game have cost the team dearly.

The wide receivers are super young and super talented, potentially. Tyreek Hill is better than anyone could have expected and just entering his prime. Chris Conley was missed this past season with his injury, his athletic abilities are rare on this planet and I think Mahomes is going to utilize them more than Alex Smith was able or willing to. Demarcus Robinson has every tool necessary to be a solid option in the NFL. Jehu Chesson is a bit of a question mark but he is young, has good size, and has been a contributor on special teams. Then there is the wild card, Marcus Kemp, you remember him from last preseason and he actually got called up from the practice squad to the active roster at the end of last year. A long lean guy that I think will have a big impact next year. I have to think that Kemp and Mahomes had lots of time together this past year in practice and during scout-team work.

The offensive line deserves more credit than they get. Eric Fisher isn't Joe Thomas but he is a fine left tackle who's contract will look better with time. Mitch Morse is a great player while LDT is well worth the money invested in him. Mitchell Schwartz is still a right tackle any team would like to have. The left guard is the only question mark, Parker Ehinger looked good his rookie year but barely saw a snap this past year and Bryan Witzmann did not show enough to hand him the job again. Cameron Erving seems to be our valued backup swing tackle more than a guard prospect.

Defensive line is another area that obviously needs additions with only Allen Bailey and Chris Jones under contract. There is no doubt that resources will be spent here.

The inside linebacker is another position that is lacking bodies. Reggie Ragland and Ukeme Eligwe can't man the field alone.

To round out a very unimpressive front seven is the edge defenders. Justin Houston is still the man-beast that brings fear into opposing quarterbacks, even if he has lost a step he is our best defender. Tanoh Kpassagnon is a bit of an oddball tweener being gifted enough to play linebacker while being big enough to play on the line, perhaps we will see a bit more switching between the positions next season. I loved seeing Dadi Nicolas in the small samplings we did see however long ago and still hope that he can fill that sack specialist niche this defense has lacked.

You can never have too many good cornerbacks and the Chiefs only have three, continuing the trend of this defense needing help. Thankfully Marcus Peters is one of the best in the league, and we are all excited about the addition of Kendall Fuller. Steven Nelson is a good player but I would prefer him to be the 4th option.

Safety isn't a saving grace even if Eric Berry can return to form, you may hate the contract but there is no denying that EB is a game changer on this team. Ron Parker has been a good player for the Chiefs but his high cap number might outweigh his production. Eric Murray has shown skill but hasn't fully figured out how to consistently win his assignments. Daniel Sorenson played well in 2016 and earned himself a real contract, in 2017 he might have played his way out of that contract.

The special Toubs (I hope Dave Toub doesn't get the head coaching job in Indy) were a bit of a disappointment this past season, only because we have come to expect so much. I could be wrong but while we didn't have the return success that changes games, we also didn't surrender any return touchdowns. James Winchester has done nothing to lose his job and Harrison Buttkicker was fantastic.

You may have noticed there are a lot of names not listed in this rundown, if you didn't... pay more attention.

A huge part of assembling rosters in today's football is the salary cap, which was a primary reason that Alex Smith was traded. In order to fill out this team Brett Veach thought that the cap space created in the Alex Smith trade was a crucial step toward future success. Cutting Tamba Hali is an obvious move to create more cap space. Thank you Tamba and welcome to the Ring of Honor. Derrick Johnson is another clear Ring of Honor player but his cap number far outweighs his production at his position at this point. Darrelle Revis is another older player that may retire and that isn't worth his cap number. Just those moves has the Chiefs at over $22M in free cap space (all contract information is from over the cap).

To me that is not enough cap room to cover all those empty roster spots, if you were counting I only listed 34 players above.

There are other moves that are not as clear that could open up more cap space.

Dee Ford is just not the player we all wanted him to be thus far, but maybe the front office likes him more than I do. If they believe in him then they should give him a new contract. I cant imagine that given his lack of consistency it would be a long term or large dollar contract but it could lower his cap number this year. More realistically I think they will cut Ford and pay a more proven player a similar salary or even less on a short term contract. Cutting Ford bumps the chiefs to over $30 million in cap space. However before they can cut Ford he has to pass his physical before the start of the league year or his contract is guaranteed as part of the 5th year option agreement.

That's probably all the cuts I would make. Sure there are many more to consider but then there are just that many more spots to fill. Cuts to consider and projected savings:

  • Charcandrick West - $1.7M - I dont make this move, his knowledge of the offense is worth keeping him at that number.
  • Demetrius Harris - $2.1M - Not a fan favorite but he is a talented player, I just want him to be our third option at the position.
  • Allen Bailey - $5.9 M -With a nearly $8M cap hit and a $2M in dead money he is a possible cap casualty. The only reason I don't pull the trigger immediately is that there is no one else on the team. I think there are better linemen out there for a $8M or even $6M cap hit, but we need bodies.
  • Justin Houston - $7.9M - I don't know why this gets floated out there. He is not going to get cut. I would love to see his contract get restructured. People refer to this as a strategy that spends the money now and pays for it later. This strategy can be done just not with every player. Considering the annual boost in league salary cap space of recent years makes this a more favorable tactic of cap manipulation. This is exactly the kind of player and contract you redo when cap space is needed.
  • Frank Zombo - $1.1M - His special teams value is enough to bring him back, I just dont want to see him get significant time on defense.
  • Ron Parker - $4.9M - I like Parker, if they are going to cut him they had better have already signed a stud replacement. LeMarcus Joyner - MNchiefsfan.
  • Daniel Sorenson - $1.8M - which has more to do with his $4.8M cap hit, he just isn't worth that. I don't like to move dead money to the following season but designating him a Post June-1 cut would increase his potential cap savings to $3.3M. We need help at the position and he is a decent role player but a bad starter.

Clearly if the front office wants to clean house a bit they can clear out a serious amount of cap space.

There are still lots of spots to fill on this mock roster and some of those will be filled by bringing back the team's own free agents.

  • Tyler Bray - I'm not going to make a stand here but clearly Andy Reid likes something about this guy. He wont be expensive so I wouldn't be upset if he is once again brought in to be the team's third string QB. It also makes tons of sense to draft a late round guy for QB3, but we don't have picks to spare this year.
  • Anthony Sherman - I think he is back on the team. He wouldn't cash in on the free market anyway and he is a great special teamer as well as a big locker room guy. He doesn't see the offensive field much but his cap number won't be prohibitive.
  • Zach Fulton - This one is the least likely because I think the league has seen enough talent here that he will get a bigger payday elsewhere compared to what the Chiefs will offer. He is the type of lineman that Andy Reid loves due to his versatility along all three interior offensive line spots. I could see him being our starting left guard, hell I could even see him usurp Mitch Morse as the center.
  • Kevin Pierre Louis - I don't care about the recent arrest, dumb but harmless. Plus he just made himself cheaper. A good player that I don't hesitate to resign.
  • Dustin Colquitt - He is no longer the best in the league but he is still a very good punter. As long as he is willing to take around a 70% pay-cut relative to last season he is on the team.
  • Rakeem Nunez Roches - is a restricted free agent that is certainly going to be on the team, great player.
  • Jarvis Jenkins - I'm rather impartial about Jarvis. He is not the most talented but we need bodies at his position and he is serviceable.
  • Terrance Mitchell - was one of the panels that comprised the revolving door that filled the cornerback spot opposite Peters last year. Still I think he showed enough to bring back to the team on a short, cheap, prove it deal.

That leaves a long list of 2017 Chiefs to become former Chiefs:

  • DAT - This guy has heart and some skill but I think his time in KC is over, good luck.
  • Phillip Gaines, Kenneth Acker, Steven Terrell - could/should all be gone. I think Terrell has the best chance to stay with the team.
  • Bennie Logan - was ok in his season with the Chiefs but I can't see him taking significantly less than he made this year and I dont want to pay him that much for that production again.
  • Albert Wilson - was never my favorite, his last target of the season was a perfect example of why. He short-armed it fearing the defender and failed to catch the ball in a clutch situation. Despite my grudge he is a good player and will likely earn a paycheck way higher than I think the Chiefs should pay out.
  • Ramik Wilson - is a restricted free agent. I hesitate to bring him back, with KPL, Ragland, and Eligwe already on the team I don't see a spot for him. Only because I want them to bring DJ back at a minimal price or make a more significant investment at the position.

To summarize this mock roster after the trade of Alex Smith and cutting Tamba Hali, Darelle Revis, Derrick Johnson, and Dee Ford the Chiefs had around $30.1M in cap cap space. After signing 8 of their own free agents they have a depth chart of 42 players. (I'm too ignorant to make attempts at what those free agents would cost but only Fulton will have a significant price)

Quarterback:

  • Partick Mahomes
  • QB2
  • Tyler Bray / QB3 - Late Draft

The absolute primary need for this team is to bring in a solid backup QB. We've all heard Chase Daniel recently and I would love that move. Even in his last tenure he was described as a coach on the sideline. That is the type of player to target to help Mahomes grow.

Backfield:

  • Kareem Hunt
  • Spencer Ware
  • Charcandrick West
  • Anthony Sherman

The backfield is good to go.

Tight End:

  • Travis Kelce
  • TE2
  • Demetrius Harris

I really feel like bringing in a real TE2 would improve this offense I would prefer a proven veteran here but it is a lower priority when the defense needs so much help.

Wide Reciever:

  • Tyreek Hill
  • Chris Conley
  • Demarcus Robinson
  • Marcus Kemp
  • Jehu Chesson
  • WR (2?)

At wide receiver Hill is clearly the number one guy. The rest are all hoping to contribute, bringing in a talented free agent would be a fun move but I don't think this is going to happen and it is not a necessary move. Let Mahomes get the most out of the receivers we have.

Offensive Line:

  • Eric Fisher
  • Parker Ehinger
  • Mitch Morse
  • LDT
  • Mitchell Schwartz
  • Zac Fulton
  • Cameron Erving
  • Bryan Witzmann

The offensive line is set up very well the top 7 spots are claimed with Fulton back on the team and I beileve Ehinger will reclaim his spot on the depth chart above Witzmann.

Defensive Line:

  • Allen Bailey
  • Chris Jones
  • Rakeem Nunez-Roches
  • Jarvis Jenkins
  • DL
  • DL

This is simply not a winning unit, there needs to be significant investment in this group.

Edge:

  • Justin Houston
  • Tanoh K-Pass
  • Dadi Nicolas
  • Edge
  • Edge

A group that should provide the majority of the pass rush in this defensive scheme needs to add talent, this is another losing unit.

Inside Linebacker:

  • Kevin Pierre-Louis
  • Reggie Ragland
  • Ukeme Eligwe
  • DJ / ILB

The ILB's are relying on potential. Bringing DJ back would provide the boost of heart and know-how to a group of young up-and-comers.

Cornerback:

  • Marcus Peters
  • Steven Nelson
  • Kendall Fuller
  • Terrance Mitchell
  • CB
  • CB

Marcus Peters and Kendall Fuller are two great corners. While I like Nelson I think bringing in a superior player would be a huge improvement for this defense.

Safety:

  • Eric Berry
  • Ron Parker
  • Daniel Sorenson
  • Eric Murray
  • Safety

I can see this group being a position of strength this upcoming year, but I could also see it being an expensive disappointment. I don't predict seeing any major movement here but I wouldn't mind seeing some.

Special Teams:

  • Harrison Buttkicker
  • Dustin Colquitt
  • James Winchester

So yes I just did a rough mock 53-man roster in February, was that a good use of my time?... that's questionable but it was fun. I just wanted to picture the team that will take the field this fall. Brett Veach has a tremendous amount of work to do. After clearing over $30M in cap space, then resigning our own free agents, plus factoring in the salary of the draft picks. The Chiefs will be hard pressed to fill in the remaining roster spots with 5 draft picks (or 6 due to a single predicted compensatory pick) this year and the remaining salary cap.

All in all I think that getting the right QB2 has to be the primary goal this off-season, followed very closely by acquiring defenders. Its hard to prioritize the defensive needs. I still feel like cornerback is a huge need. Trumaine Johnson is likely too expensive but Kyle Fuller teaming up with his brother is a nice thought. Adding a solid edge rusher or two could have more impact than adding another corner. Bringing in a stud lineman like Star Lotulelei or Sheldon Richardson might have the most impact on the overall defense. Inside linebacker needs a player too if DJ doesn't come back.

So where do you spend the money? Where do you focus the draft?

I don't know the free agent players so well as I only focus on the Chiefs, plus I have no clue on accurately predicting contract numbers. If its me I'm going to go for Chase Daniel, Star Lotulelei, Kyle Fuller, and the best two edge rushers that could be afforded.... in that order. At this point in the conversation having slightly under $20M in cap space Brett would have to push a larger cap number into year two of the contracts (we can fford it next year) but signing all these guys is realistic with proper manipulation of that cap space. Then let the draft fill the remaining roster spots. Its a tricky compromise fighting against the cap but its within reason that this team I just assembled could compete for the Superbowl.

Quarterback:

  • Partick Mahomes
  • Chase Daniel
  • Tyler Bray

Backfield:

  • Kareem Hunt
  • Spencer Ware
  • Charcandrick West
  • Anthony Sherman

Tight End:

  • Travis Kelce
  • TE2 - Draft - 3rd Round
  • Demetrius Harris

Wide Reciever:

  • Tyreek Hill
  • Chris Conley
  • Demarcus Robinson
  • Marcus Kemp
  • Jehu Chesson
  • WR - Draft - 6th Round

Offensive Line:

  • Eric Fisher
  • Parker Ehnger
  • Mitch Morse
  • LDT
  • Mitchell Schwartz
  • Zach Fulton
  • Cameron Erving
  • Bryan Witzman

Defensive Line:

  • Star Lotulelei
  • Chris Jones
  • Allen Bailey
  • RNR
  • Jarvis Jenkins
  • DL - Draft - 4th Round

Edge:

  • Justin Houston
  • K - Pass
  • Dadi
  • Shaq Barret
  • Eric Walden

Inside Linebacker:

  • KPL
  • Reggie Ragland
  • Ukeme Eligwe
  • DJ

Cornerback:

  • Marcus Peters
  • Steven Nelson
  • Kendall Fuller
  • Kyle Fuller
  • Terrnace Mitchell
  • CB - Draft - 3rd Round

Safety:

  • Eric Berry
  • Ron Parker
  • Daniel Sorenson
  • Eric Murray
  • Safety - Draft - 2nd Round

Special Teams:

  • Harrison Buttkicker
  • Dustin Colquitt
  • James Winchester


This is a FanPost and does not necessarily reflect the views of Arrowhead Pride's writers or editors. It does reflect the views of this particular fan though, which is as important as the views of Arrowhead Pride writers or editors.