On Monday, Kansas City Chiefs general manager Brett Veach met with the media. The first order of business was to discuss his star quarterback’s recently-completed surgery.
“Talking to (vice president of sports medicine and performance) Rick (Burkholder) late last week, it’s a three-month recovery,” said Veach. “We’re hopeful [he’s back] somewhere around that mandatory minicamp — if we have [it]. We certainly think by training camp he will be good to go, and we’ll be smart with him.”
Organized team activities (OTAs) typically take place in May, with a three-day mandatory minicamp occurring in mid-June. Neither happened last offseason due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Veach also addressed the uncertainty surrounding the injuries to the team’s starting tackles.
“Mitch just recently had his disc worked on,” said Veach. “We’re hopeful for him to return at training camp, and the same thing with Fish... We’re hopeful both guys will complete the rehab and be available for training camp and to start the 2021 season. I would probably say Pat (Mahomes) is ahead of them because of that type of injury and probably a quicker recovery, but hopeful to have all three ready to go by training camp.”
On Tuesday, Veach appeared on a local radio show, talking about the returns of three Kansas City players who opted out of the 2020 season.
“We’ve had conversations with all of their agents,” Veach said, via 610 Sports Radio. “Lucas was a guy — because he was a draft pick — that I had texted periodically throughout the season. I’d say once every two or three weeks we were touching base with him. I know Lucas, LDT and Damien — they all plan to be back, and I think they’re all excited to get back to what they do and get into the routine and be back in the locker room with the guys and have fun playing football... We’ve been in communication with their agents and based on some conversations that I had with Niang personally and the conversations I’ve had with LDT’s agents and Damien’s agents, I know all three guys are looking forward to coming back and getting the 2021 season started on time.”
Then John Dixon summarized the team’s cap situation, noting that the Chiefs were in a good position to solve their problems before the new league year begins.
Unlike other teams in similar situations, Veach and his team — including Brandt Tilis and Chris Shea — have designed their recent big contracts with lots of cap flexibility, which gives them ways to move cap dollars around to meet their current needs. Even the half-billion-dollar contract that quarterback Patrick Mahomes signed last season carried a signing bonus of just $10 million — and the long-term contract extensions given to defensive tackle Chris Jones and Travis Kelce had no signing bonuses.
“I think our cap team — Brandt and Chris, those guys — they did a great job of kind of navigating us through these rocky waters last offseason,” said Veach. “The contract that we did with Travis and Chris and Patrick — and our ability to convert them — I feel like we’re in a good position to get underneath the cap and then we’ll address free agency.”
Wednesday brought news of a change that would make it easier for coaching candidates for contending teams — including Kansas City’s offensive coordinator — to actually get head coaching jobs
Proposed by the Buffalo Bills, the rule would prohibit teams from interviewing candidates for front office and coaching jobs until after each season’s conference title games — and require that hiring be done only after the Super Bowl.
Under existing rules, there are no overall restrictions — although franchises that want to interview current NFL employees must get permission from their current team to do so. In effect, this has given coaches and executives for playoff teams a disadvantage in the hiring process, since other candidates may be interviewed, hired and put to work earlier in the offseason.
It was bound to happen sooner or later — and on Thursday, it did.
The Kansas City Chiefs have sold the naming rights to their field at Arrowhead Stadium in a deal that will begin for the 2021 season, the team announced in a statement on Thursday. GEHA — which stands for Government Employees Health Association, Inc. and is pronounced G.E.H.A. — is a nonprofit provider of medical and dental plans for federal employees.
Here is where the Chiefs landed on an official title:
“GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium”
The Chiefs emphasized that both the team and GEHA “are committed to ensuring Arrowhead Stadium remains the identity of the stadium.”
On Thursday, the eight-year Chiefs veteran revealed his departure in... well... just about the way you might expect.
In the offseason, it’s normal to focus on where an NFL team needs help. But on Thursday, Ron Kopp brought up four areas where the Chiefs really need no help at all.
Signed to 2021 roster: Clyde Edwards-Helaire, Damien Williams and Darwin Thompson; Darrel Williams is a restricted free agent. Derrick Gore is on a reserve/future deal
With the Chiefs’ confirmation of Damien Williams returning from 2021, they could have a loaded running back group. While Darrel Williams’ playoff performance could have enticed a team to make him an offer this spring, he’s likely back in Kansas City next year.
That gives the Chiefs four running backs — all with a decent amount of experience in Andy Reid’s offense. Edwards-Helaire will likely play an even larger role in the Chiefs offense next year, but the other three all have something to offer. There’s always the possibility that Damien Williams isn’t what he was at the end of the 2019 season, but his body could also be well-rested and fresh at 29 years old.
John was busy on Friday, publishing a detailed reference on how the NFL’s restricted and exclusive rights free agents processes work — and then covering what the Chiefs might do with their RFAs.
Linebacker Ben Niemann: It won’t be hard to find Chiefs fans who think Niemann isn’t worth even a right-of-first-refusal tender — but the team may feel differently; there’s plenty of evidence the Chiefs like his football IQ. It’s reasonable to think that Willie Gay Jr. could push Niemann off the field in 2021, but Niemann might land a job elsewhere. A $2.2 million bet on a depth linebacker with experience in their scheme might make sense to the Chiefs.
Cornerback Charvarius Ward: A year ago, most fans would have assumed that Ward would be getting a $2.2 million original-round tender — or maybe even a $3.4 million second-round offer. With the emergence of L’Jaruis Sneed (and the signing of DeAndre Baker), that assumption might not be safe any longer. But even if Ward loses playing time to others, he could be a fairly inexpensive (and experienced) depth player in 2021.
In another article, he addressed what Kansas City might do with their four ERFAs.