I have been planning on writing this for a couple of weeks. I was hoping it would be under happier circumstances for Kansas City Chiefs fans. But regardless of what happened, I always find the roster building portion of the offseason to be very interesting.
I think this is going to be a very unpredictable offseason.
The Chiefs are by some accounts predicted to be $20 million over the cap, with only 44 players under contract for next season. Chiefs general manager Brett Veach has his work cut out for him, but I predict he will probably get the cap into a position where they do not have to cut Tyrann Mathieu for space and can probably afford to fill out the roster with veteran minimum deals, maybe creating some room to offer a little more to the right offensive lineman.
I think better players than usual are going to sign for the veteran minimum, and I would actually be surprised if any of Kansas City's 24 free agents see much in the way of guaranteed money. This is a rundown for what I predict for the offensive side of the ball.
WR Sammy Watkins: I don't know what more can be said about him. We all know his health history. 31 other teams also are familiar with his health history. I think it's probably to the point in which a less talented but more dependable player has more value to the team than Watkins does. Given that 35 receivers were drafted last year, this year's class may be even better, and the list of unrestricted free agents is very long. Watkins is going to have a difficult time finding a deal that won't hurt his pride.
Prediction: Watkins does not find a deal to his liking and decides to wait for an opportunity until camp or even into the season as the most ironic injury replacement of all time. I would not be surprised if Watkins actually sits out of the league this year due to lack of interest and tries again in 2022 after healing up.
WR Demarcus Robinson: I have a hard time believing he's going to find any more interest this time around than he did a year ago. Even with his mishaps, I don't think he is as bad as some people do for a backup receiver. But I also think ship has sailed on the hope that he's going to get better. It's probably time to replace him with a higher-upside player.
Prediction: I think they will bring Robinson back on a one-year deal again, though I think there's going to be some competition among low-cost players for roster spots. I could see him coming back to get cut at the 53-man roster deadline.
C Austin Reiter: Once upon a time, he filled in great for Mitch Morse, and the Chiefs thought it was smart to let Buffalo pay Morse the big bucks. Reiter appears to have no value as a run blocker, and I don't think it will be hard to find a veteran minimum who will play as well as Reiter.
Prediction: Some team will buy into the PFF argument that Reiter doesn't give up sacks. I predict the Chiefs will sign a veteran with experience at center and probably draft a center by the end of day two.
G Kelechi Osemele: I cannot imagine he is healthy enough to justify using even a 90-man roster spot. There hasn't been much official word on what happened, but the words double and knees don't usually go well together.
Prediction: I predict Osemele never plays football again. If somehow he gets cleared, the Chiefs should host him for a workout.
T Mike Remmers: I really wanted the Super Bowl to go better for him. I think he did a competent job picking up for Schwartz. The left side and the shuffling other people around was too much.
Prediction: Remmers isn't making more than the veteran minimum, so he's probably coming back for depth. If he starts anywhere except maybe left guard Week 1, that means the offseason went very badly.
FB Anthony Sherman: In 13 games, Sherman had 13 yards from scrimmage. Yes, that comes out to one yard of offense per game. They also need better options as run blockers if Veach wants to make Clyde Edwards-Helaire look like a good selection.
Prediction: The Chiefs will finally say good bye to "The Sausage." Whether it's a different fullback or a veteran blocking tight end, they are going to have to upgrade their run packages. Sherman really doesn't offer enough at this stage of his career to justify an offseason roster spot. I'm not happy to feel this way, but sports can be cruel.
C Daniel Kilgore: I think that Kilgore played better to the eye test than Austin Reiter did. I suspect Mahomes probably made it known he preferred Reiter snapping the ball to him because the rotation between the two was pretty suspicious.
Prediction: The Chiefs will either re-sign Kilgore or sign former Seahawks center Justin Britt, who they worked out recently. Neither are seeing guaranteed money. If they let Reiter walk, it's probably a good idea to at least have a center on the roster who has snapped to Mahomes in a game.
RB Le'Veon Bell: I think he's done. I am not a believer in Darwin Thompson but I think the rest of Thompson's career will be more productive than the rest of Bell's.
Prediction: Assuming the Chiefs don't cut Damien Williams for cap rom, the RB room is already pretty full. Even if they cut Damien, Bell isn't coming back. There's probably a non-zero chance that Bell is retired and doesn't know it yet. The man who skipped a full season for more money is going to have a hard time swallowing the offers he is about to see.
TE Ricky Seals-Jones: I think they kept him around to have a big body receiver in case something happened to Travis Kelce. It was a very strange use of a roster spot to say the least.
Prediction: Who really knows? Seals-Jones will probably realize what others have learned in that there's really no opportunity to shine as long as Kelce is healthy. If he gets a better opportunity, he will go. If he doesn't, the Chiefs will probably bring him to camp so they can manage Kelce's practice reps. He could be a Gehrig Dieter or Charcandrick West, who keeps showing up.
RB Darrel Williams (restricted): This is an easy one.
Prediction: The Chiefs will tender an original-round tender to Darrel Williams. He will be back for 2021.
G Andrew Wylie (restricted): It's important to remember that restricted free agent tenders are not guaranteed. Even if they bring him back, he can be cut at the end of camp with no cap ramifications. I think there is some value in at least having him in camp. We are going to have some new faces on the line, and new players tend to get up to speed faster when they are practicing with people who know the system.
Prediction: The Chiefs will tender an original-round tender to Andrew Wylie and bring him to camp. He will be cut after the fourth preseason game.
TE Deon Yelder (restricted): The coaching staff seems to like him even though he gets injured at the same rate as Sammy Watkins. I noticed that he would come into games for a snap for Kelce when Kelce went to the sideline after a big play or being tackled. I kind of feel like he's gotten his chance and hasn't taken advantage of it, but I expect him to at least go to camp.
Prediction: The Chiefs will tender an original-round tender to Deon Yelder. He will get a legitimate chance to compete for a roster spot.
TE Nick Keizer (Exclusive rights): First of all, it might say tight end, but he was not and will never be Kelce's backup. They kept him as a blocker, and he didn't exactly set the world on fire. If Kelce had missed time, Yelder or Seals-Jones would have seen more playing time. It would not have moved the needle much for Keizer. They need an upgrade at blocking tight end. We need someone who can get up on the line and teams have to wonder if he's there to block or if he's going to run a route. I feel that, with Keizer, teams really didn't care whether he was going to block or run a route and were just happy to not have a three-wide receiver set to deal with.
Prediction: The Chiefs will tender an exclusive rights tender to Nick Keizer. I think there will be a different player in his role and Keizer will be cut coming out of camp.
WR Byron Pringle (Exclusive rights): This is another easy one. The only two wide receivers under contract are Tyreek Hill and Mecole Hardman. Pringle is coming back. I actually don't see very much that Demarcus Robinson does that Pringle can't.
Prediction: The Chiefs will tender an ERFA tender to Byron Pringle. Given that Pringle is already 27, it's possible he could sign a very modest three-year deal that at least gets him a small amount of guaranteed money.
There are some good players on this list, but everyone on the offensive side can be replaced if necessary.
Thank you for reading. My next post will be for defensive players.