3. Kansas City Chiefs (12-4)
Cap space: $8.9 million
Biggest need: Secondary
Cornerback needs to be addressed, as does safety with Eric Berry’s health a constant issue. There are many impact safeties on the free-agent market, and the Chiefs should land one. Fixing the secondary could push the Chiefs to a Super Bowl.
Assuming everything checks out medically as expected, Matt Paradis (Broncos) and Mitch Morse (Chiefs) both could push the top of the center market -- $10 million a year or more. There also is expected to be a market for Trent Brown (Patriots), who some believe could get $13 million to $15 million as the best left tackle available.
Pass rush will really be at a premium, with DeMarcus Lawrence (Cowboys), Dee Ford (Chiefs), Frank Clark (Seahawks), Grady Jarrett (Falcons) and Jadeveon Clowney (Texans) having been predictably blocked from the open market via franchise tags.
11. Spencer Ware, Running Back: The Chiefs appear set to open the 2019 season with Damien Williams as their top back, so Ware could be on the move because the team could add a rookie as insurance at a much cheaper price. Ware is very unlikely to be much more than a fantasy handcuff.
Kansas City Chiefs: Trade for Star Lotulelei
Buffalo’s key 2018 free-agent signing, defensive tackle Star Lotulelei, was a bust. The run-stuffer played just 47 percent of the Bills’ defensive snaps and accumulated only 17 tackles. His $50 million contract was a terrible investment.
Still, he’d be a good fit in an expanded role as a 1-technique for the Chiefs. Trading him would open cap space for the Bills and remove all guaranteed money on the Chiefs’ end.
Kansas City Chiefs: After four hushed seasons in Miami, Damien Williams earned major points with the Chiefs by stepping into the lineup and excelling down the stretch after Kareem Hunt was sent packing. The 26-year-old runner lashed the Seahawks for 100-plus rushing yards in Week 16 and starred in Kansas City’s playoff romp over the Colts with 154 total yards. Mimicking Hunt’s starry skill set, Williams earned a team-friendly extension through 2020 and bright words from general manager Brett Veach, who recently called the starting role his ”to lose.” With undrafted backup Darrel Williams as the only other runner under contract, the Chiefs -- fingers crossed on Damien’s career rise -- must think about re-signing front-office favorite Spencer Ware or drafting a developmental runner who fits Andy Reid’s scheme.
The safest prospect on the offensive line might be Chiefs center Mitch Morse, a high-quality starter who’s only 27. The Bills signed veteran center Russell Bodine in free agency last year. He was a middling starter last season. The Bills brought in some competition for him last month by signing veteran Spencer Long from the Jets. The suspicion is the Bills are OK with those two fighting it out.
Kansas City is one of 17 finalist cities in the United States to host 2026 World Cup matches. If KC is awarded games, they would played at Arrowhead Stadium. Ten cities will be picked for selection, an announcement expected to arrive in late 2020. Each site will likely host between 5-7 matches.
Around the league
The Buffalo Bills desperately needed to improve upon last year’s 31st-ranked passing attack, and GM Brandon Beane picked the splashiest way to do it: trading for the troubled, extremely talented Antonio Brown. Per a late-night report from NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, the Bills are closing in on a deal with the Pittsburgh Steelers to take a star receiver off their hands.
According to NFL Networks Ian Rapoport, the Denver Broncos and Washington Redskins are nearing a deal that would send quarterback Case Keenum to Washington. No compensation has been officially reported as of yet.
9NEWS Denver’s Mike Klis is reporting that the Broncos will get a 2020 6th round pick in return for Keenum and will send Keenum and a 2020 7th round selection back to Washington. Klis also gives an update on the contract restructure Keenum agreed too and the cap implications for the Broncos.
Pittsburgh Steelers center Maurkice Pouncey was set to enter the final year of his contract in 2019, but he now has stability for a few more years along with the status of being the NFL’s highest-paid center.
The Steelers and Pouncey agreed to an extension through 2021, the team announced Thursday.
Torrey Smith will spend another season in Carolina.
The Panthers exercised their option on Smith and he will be back for the 2019 season, a league source tells PFT. A nine-year veteran wide receiver, Smith had a career-worst season in 2018, catching just 17 passes for 190 yards and two touchdowns.
Basically, the teams must decide independent of any arrangement with the league office whether to loan players to the AAF or the XFL. Any other approach could give the XFL an opening to pursue litigation.
Unless, of course, the NFL buys the AAF. Which would be the only way to have a direct, mandatory pipeline from NFL teams to AAF teams, at the exclusions of XFL teams.
All eyes will be on Oklahoma quarterback Kyler Murray on March 13th.
The Heisman Trophy winner will run the 40-yard draft at his pro day and will conduct a regular passing workout, NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported Thursday, per a source informed. He’s also expected to weigh-in again and get re-measured, Rapoport added.
There will be no more “BoogerMobile” on “Monday Night Football.”
The elevated, motorized sideline perch ESPN analyst Booger McFarland occupied this past season will not return in 2019, according to a Sporting News report.
In case you missed it at Arrowhead Pride
The Kansas City Chiefs announced the signing of defensive back Harold Jones-Quartey on Thursday morning, via their official Twitter account.
Jones-Quartey, 25, first entered the league as an undrafted free agent with the Arizona Cardinals back in 2015 but was waived before the season. He was claimed by the Chicago Bears and spent 2015-16 with the team.
On March 1, La Canfora connected the Chiefs to free agent running back Le’Veon Bell. On Wednesday, he wrote about how a team would hit a home run if they were to sign soon-to-be former Chiefs RB Spencer Ware.
The inference that can be made from La Canfora’s quote is that the Chiefs picked up the phone and called the Pittsburgh Steelers, who are expected to have a deal in place by Friday.
Collins checks all the boxes for a 4-3 under SAM linebacker. He would add some much-needed speed to the linebacker corps, and his versatility would give Spagnuolo yet another tool to utilize at his disposal. Collins’ experience playing as an off-ball linebacker also comes in handy in both a rotational role and as desperately needed depth, should the Chiefs suffer an injury to Anthony Hitchens.
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