Safety. The Chiefs can no longer depend on Eric Berry, who hasn’t played in 31 of their past 34 games, counting the playoffs. They need to plan for life without him at a position where the Chiefs are thin, even if Berry plays a substantial portion of the 2019 season. The Chiefs suffered at safety last season as they attempted to get through with a collection of lower-paid journeymen and lower-round draft picks. It’s past time for an upgrade. More positions to watch: CB, RB, TE, DL -- Adam Teicher
Steven Nelson picked the right time to have a career year, as he enters free agency coming off an impressive season where he was targeted more than any other cornerback in football and earned a 72.1 overall grade.
Kansas City Chiefs
DEE FORD, EDGE
Ford’s rough 2017 season saw him struggle to a 59.4 overall grade, which is about where he’s been for the majority of his career. However, Ford had a breakout year of epic proportions in 2018, raising his overall grade to a career-best 87.7 overall grade.
GARY: I want to go back to 2017 real quick and I want to talk about that Rams offense...Sammy Watkins probably would’ve been the guy, at least going into the year, who you would’ve said, Well he’s their No. 1 receiver. He did that X-iso stuff, he wasn’t particularly effective though, is that fair to say?
ANDY: Well yeah, he’s not there anymore. There’s a reason he’s not there and someone else is. Watkins is not a true No. 1 receiver but he was used that way and there were portions of the season where defenders and defenses responded to him that way. Remember we were saying Watkins was better than his numbers. There were opportunities there and his chemistry with Goff wasn’t always great. Brandin Cooks is clearly a better player than Sammy Watkins. Is Brandin Cooks a true No. 1 receiver because he’s another one of those darting, little, quick guys.
Before the 49ers applied the franchise tag to kicker Robbie Gould, the working title of this item was “One week later, no tags applied.” Since then, the title changed — and the point did as well. I was going to write that the two-week window for applying the franchise tag is a waste of time, and that there should be one and only one specific day on which tags can be applied. But then the 49ers applied their tag a full week before the day that I was going to suggest be the one day for doing so, and I realized the value of it.
For most of the other potential franchise tag recipients (primarily, Cowboys defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence, Seahawks defensive end Frank Clark, Chiefs linebacker Dee Ford, and Texans linebacker Jadeveon Clowney), a similar move isn’t needed because it’s widely expected.
For Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes, “Call of Duty” is a current favorite. New Orleans Saints receiver Dez Bryant has tried his hand at the “Madden” football game. In fact, Bryant learned a bit about the Chiefs, who had the league’s best offense this past season. Bryant was so impressed that he actually tweeted about the Chiefs on the game.
Bryant tweeted: “The chiefs on Madden is unstoppable” with a joyful emoji.
Running Back: Spencer Ware
Running backs won’t command a lot of attention in free agency this year. The position is relatively easy to supplement through the draft, and aside from New Orleans Saints standout Mark Ingram, there aren’t many starting-caliber backs.
Kansas City Chiefs backup Spencer Ware could be one of the few exceptions.
Since Ware was injured late in 2018 and missed the entire 2017 season because of a torn PCL, he may have to accept a one-year prove-it deal. At only 27 years old, he may prove to be a valuable long-term piece.
Around the league
The 30-year-old offensive lineman agreed to a restructured deal with Chicago that will keep him with the team for years to come, NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported Tuesday, per a source. The Chicago Tribune first reported the news.
Early discussions among NFL competition committee members suggest the league is unlikely to make significant changes to replay review this offseason.
While emphasizing that talks remain in the early stages, New York Giants co-owner John Mara -- a longtime member of the committee -- said he’s “not sensing a lot of support for making changes.”
Randy Gregory has been suspended again. The embattled Dallas Cowboys defensive end was suspended indefinitely Tuesday for violating the league’s substance abuse policy and the terms of his conditional reinstatement, the team announced.
This is Gregory’s fourth suspension since being selected by Dallas in the second round of the 2015 NFL Draft.
The competition committee is slated to discuss the topic this week during its meetings in Indianapolis at the scouting combine. If the committee makes a proposal on the issue, it would be presented to owners at the annual league meeting in late March in Phoenix and would need to be ratified by at least 24 of the 32 teams.
According to DraftAnalyst.com and NFL.com, the Bengals are going to start shoppingthe former first-rounder in hopes of pulling off a trade. Fittingly, the trade talks will likely begin this week at the NFL Combine, which is where Ross first made a name for himself.
In case you missed it at Arrowhead Pride
But what this data shows us is that both Dorsey and Veach — at least with Andy Reid as head coach — are capable of finding players who can contribute even in their first year on the team; their records with newly-acquired players compare favorably to other Chiefs general manager-head coach combinations over the last three decades.
Tight end: This is both a strength and a need. With Travis Kelce — arguably the league’s best — in this position, you feel good about the production the Chiefs will get in 2019. But behind Kelce, there’s work to be done. Demetrius Harris is a free agent and a candidate to be upgraded. I’d expect the Chiefs to be looking for tight ends in the draft and free agency.
Temple’s Ryquell Armstead
JEREMIAH: “[Armstead] is going to carry 220 plus pounds and has that acceleration in the hole, no hesitation, just hits it. He is a tough, physical runner who I like. So that’s kind of the small back that’s a little bit of the bigger back.”
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