The NFL league year will open on Wednesday at 3 p.m. (Arrowhead Time). That’s when teams will be able to sign free agents whose contracts expired after the 2019 season.
Today we’ll focus on some offensive free agents who could be intriguing options for the Kansas City Chiefs when free agency’s floodgates open. Some are well known. Others are not so well known.
On the AP Laboratory podcast, we’ve been reviewing the Chiefs roster position-by-position, looking forward to free agency and the 2020 draft. More in-depth analysis on these players — and some others not included here — can be found on those position review podcasts.
Starting a thread of all of our position profiles so you can see who we liked in FA and the draft for each position on the @ArrowheadPride Laboratory.— Kent Swanson (@kent_swanson) March 8, 2020
Top Tier FA: Byron Jones
Mid-Tier FA: Bashaud Breeland
Best fit for free agency and the draft here: https://t.co/49QexYuZdC
Chad Henne | 35 | Kansas City Chiefs
Keeping Henne would be a relatively cheap (and smart) move. While Matt Moore may have played a little better when he was forced into action last season, Henne was instrumental in helping Patrick Mahomes in the film room (and on the sideline) during his first season. Retaining either of these veteran players would be a good move, but throughout his career, Henne has shown a slightly higher aptitude as a mentor and coach.
If the Chiefs want to spend significant capital for a running back, they could do it in free agency rather than using one their early draft picks. Drake has had a career resurgence with the Arizona Cardinals. Playing in a wide-open spread offense that allowed him to attack space rather than read running lanes, he finally looked like his college self. The Chiefs have had success using less-talented players with a similar skill set. Drake may have played his way into a big payday — but in the ever-fickle running back market, he could end up being a late signee who has to settle for much less than he expected.
Matt Breida | 25 | San Francisco 49ers
Breida has fallen out of favor in a loaded position group, but he can give you speed all over the field. Also nicknamed The Cheetah, he is one of the faster running backs in the NFL — and while he isn’t the most technical runner, he can take any crease to the house. He could definitely be another dynamic part of the Chiefs offense. He is a restricted free agent. If the 49ers offer him an original-round tender, he will be owed $2.1 million if he remains on the team. But another team could extend an offer — and if it goes unmatched, acquire Breida without using any draft capital.
Jordan Howard | 25 | Philadelphia Eagles
Howard is another young, productive — but much less expensive — running back. Despite being seen as a bad fit for both the Chicago Bears and the Eagles, he turned in productive seasons for each team. As teams have added more dynamic pass catchers around him, his role as a receiver has diminished every year — but as a runner, he continues to produce in zone-heavy schemes. He has the general body type that Brett Veach likes in running backs.
Breshad Perriman | 26 | Tampa Bay Buccaneers
At 6 feet 2 and over 200 pounds — and with 4.3 speed — Perriman has a dynamic physical profile. Tampa Bay head coach Bruce Arians is known for having one of the league’s more aggressive downfield passing attacks, so it’s no surprise Perriman finally had his breakout year with the Buccaneers in 2019. The Chiefs are one of the few teams that can match Arians’ versatility and aggression. If Tampa Bay doesn’t believe they can bring Perriman back — and if the Chiefs think he really has turned a corner — he could be a replacement for Sammy Watkins.
Laquon Treadwell | 25 | Minnesota Vikings
While Treadwell doesn’t fit the Chiefs’ usual mold for a wide receiver, he does provide a unique set of skills they could be lacking; with Demarcus Robinson hitting free agency, Treadwell could be one of the better blockers in the position group. He would add some much-needed size — and could potentially be a red-zone target. Given that his production dropped last year, the best part about Treadwell could be a low price tag.
Rashard Higgins | 25 | Cleveland Browns
Like Treadwell, Higgins offers a bit more size than a lot of Chiefs receivers — and has the ability to beat press coverage. He is another guy who could never quite get his footing for his previous team; he appeared to be on an upward trend during his first two seasons with Cleveland, but struggled to see the field in 2019. There are rumors about laziness concerns — but given the state of the Browns, it’s something that could change by simply changing teams.
Charles Clay | 31 | Arizona Cardinals
This is a position where the Chiefs likely don’t have a major need; the way the offense is structured pushes extra wideouts to the field far more than often than tight ends. But if the Chiefs want to be prepared to give Travis Kelce more time off — or have an insurance policy — Clay could fit the bill. He is getting up there in age, but he brings quality blocking and receiving ability to the table — and can play in a pinch. As a second tight end, he could provide enough of a threat to demand attention from defenses.
Connor McGovern | 27 | Denver Broncos
It’s not likely we’ll see lot of cash used on offensive linemen in free agency, but there are some interior offensive linemen available who could help the Chiefs. In the last few years, McGovern has helped bolster a pretty good Broncos rushing attack. With past experience at tackle — and recent experience at center — is the kind of versatile lineman that Andy Reid usually likes.
B.J. Finney | 28 | Pittsburgh Steelers
If McGovern’s price is more than the Chiefs can afford, Finney would be another option. He is an above-average athlete who has the ability to play multiple positions along the offensive line. While he has never been able to earn a starting role with the Steelers, he’s always performed well when he’s seen the field.
Andrus Peat | 26 | New Orleans Saints
Peat would definitely be more expensive than either McGovern or Finney — but when healthy, he would be worth it. Another former offensive tackle, he has really taken off as an interior lineman. Compared to most guards, his movement skills are at another level — and he has the massive frame the Chiefs like. If the market is playing it safe on Peat, he’s worth the risk; when he’s playing, he’s an excellent offensive lineman.
While the Chiefs aren’t likely to spend much money on offense, they could be looking for some low to mid-tier deals to bolster their roster depth — and there are players available who would fit their system.
On defense, however, the Chiefs might spend more. Keep an eye out for a rundown of the defensive free agents who could help the team.
KC Draft Guide
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