clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

What we learned about the Chiefs this week

Taking a look at the week of April 5 on Arrowhead Pride...

New England Patriots v Pittsburgh Steelers Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

One month in, where the Chiefs stand in free agency

As the first month of free agency ended on Monday, we tallied up the moves the Kansas City Chiefs had made.

NFL free agency began one month ago Monday, when the league’s legal tampering period began. While the free agency period is generally thought to extend only through the NFL Draft, it actually extends throughout the league year; it’s just that free agent players signed after the draft don’t count in the compensatory draft picks formula for the following season.

So while free agent signings across the league have now slowed to a trickle, it’s still possible — even likely — that the Kansas City Chiefs will sign more of them.

But let’s sum up what they’ve done so far. We’ll pay particular attention to players eligible to be included in the comp picks formula for 2022. At this writing, the team has 73 players signed to their roster — and we calculate that they have $13.6 million in salary cap space.

The AP Nerd Squad picks a full seven-round Chiefs mock draft

Then the Arrowhead Pride Nerd Squad released a special mock — one that focused not on the probabilities a particular player would be selected by the team, but rather on how well they would fit with the Chiefs.

31. OL Alex Leatherwood, Alabama

Would I take Leatherwood here? No. But he’s one of the few offensive lineman in this draft class that has the arm length that Andy Reid has typically coveted. We view Leatherwood as an interior offensive lineman at the next level — but being one of the few top talents with the kind of arm length Reid prefers, we could see the Chiefs taking him for the position at which he ended his college career. We have a full feature on Reid’s historical arm length preferences — and which players are above the average — in the KC Draft Guide.

New Chiefs center Austin Blythe checks all the boxes — except a big one

Then the local press had their first chance to question one of the team’s newly-signed free agents, who revealed he had actually been born in Kansas City.

Things were going very well. But then the press uncovered a problem: those Kansas City roots didn’t run quite as deep as we might have imagined.

“I’m not a huge barbecue fan,” he said.

Uh oh.

I don’t know if I’m going to get roasted for that,” he added.

Yeah. Probably.

“I enjoy pulled pork — without any barbecue sauce,” he continued.

Oh, boy.

“So I don’t know if that’s really barbecue or not,” he concluded.

In latest mock draft, Daniel Jeremiah goes with a cornerback to the Chiefs

Among a number of mock drafts we covered this week was Tuesday’s effort from an NFL.com analyst who projected the Chiefs would select Kentucky’s Kelvin Joseph with the 31st pick.

So with tackles Samuel Cosmi, Dillon Radunz, Alex Leatherwood, Jaylen Mayfield and Liam Eichenberg still available, Jeremiah now goes with a cornerback? After the Chiefs re-signed starter Charvarius Ward in mid-March?

All due respect to Joseph — whom some evaluators see as a first-round talent (although the Arrowhead Pride Nerd Squad’s 2021 KC Draft Guide does not) — and few would argue the Chiefs shouldn’t try for a corner somewhere in the draft. But given the circumstances, would this be the best first-round move for Kansas City?

Stagner Things: 10 things to know about the Chiefs’ offseason

Then Matt Stagner had a few things to get off his chest.

1. The offseason isn’t over

Any grade other than “incomplete” is foolish at this point.

Do you really think Martinas Rankin is going to start at left tackle? Is there any scenario where the Chiefs don’t bring in another wide receiver who can help?

There are more free agents out there. There’s a whole draft and undrafted free agent class — plus all the veterans who will be cut or traded before opening day.

After this point last year, the following players were added: free agents Anthony Sherman, Mike Pennel, Bashaud Breeland, Demarcus Robinson, Taco Charlton and Kelechi Osemele. Then UDFA players Tershawn Wharton, Tommy Townsend, Rodney Clemons came along — followed by draft picks Clyde Edwards-Helaire, Willie Gay Jr., Lucas Niang and L’Jarius Sneed. By this point In 2019, the Frank Clark trade hadn’t happened yet!

We don’t know what’s coming — but we can guarantee the the Chiefs aren’t done making moves to build the roster.

Andy Reid pursued JuJu Smith-Schuster by ‘constantly’ texting him photos of the Lombardi Trophy

On Thursday, we learned that in his own way, the Chiefs’ head coach has been actively involved in recruiting.

“Andy Reid was just calling me and he was sending me Lombardi Trophy pictures, like constantly,” Smith-Schuster said on “The Michael Irvin Podcast,” via 610 Sports Radio. “We had a good talk, so it would have been KC after the Steelers.

“Like, he texted [Lombardi Trophy pictures] to me while I was trying to make a decision, and you know I have so much respect for him and his team, so yeah.”

Apparent now, the Lombardi Trophy photos did not work — and neither did more guaranteed money, which his division-rival Baltimore Ravens reportedly offered.

But it is another case of Reid being Reid — and part of the reason he remains beloved among those who make up the National Football League.

Projecting the 2021 Chiefs offensive line

Then John Dixon gave some thought which players would start on the offensive side of the trench this season — settling on an untried left tackle, Joe Thuney, Austin Blythe, Laurent Duvernay-Tardif and Mike Remmers.

In the final analysis, this is why I believe the Chiefs considered Joe Thuney as the best player available in free agency — and also why I think he will start at left guard: because the Chiefs knew there was a good chance things would play out just this way.

It’s no accident they went after Thuney immediately. If they had been unable to come to terms with him, they would have pushed harder to land Williams — and could have afforded to do so. But since they had signed Thuney, they knew he’d be manning the left guard position, making it easier for an inexperienced left tackle to find his way. If they then couldn’t come to terms with Williams... well, no big deal. He was likely to be too expensive anyway.

I know that some will argue that the left tackle is one place where you simply cannot afford to put an inexperienced player. But I think that’s exactly why they tried to get Williams — and also why they drafted Lucas Niang a year ago. It wasn’t the team’s fault that the coronavirus pandemic upset their plan to replace one of their starting tackles in 2021 — or even 2022. Now that the plan has been overtaken by events, the only option is to make the best of it.

And loading up the rest of the offensive line with experienced veteran players — just as I have described here — is exactly how you do that.

Demarcus Robinson reveals another team was interested in him, talks 2021 role

Then the Chiefs’ wide receiver talked about why he chose to return to Kansas City.

“I chose the Chiefs because of my family, the culture, just talking with everybody, seeing what would best fit me,” the receiver told NFL Network’s “Good Morning Football” on Thursday. “I had another team — Detroit — that was also looking into me. The Chiefs just wanted me more at the time.

“Everybody helped me make the best decision for my situation, and it was going back to the Chiefs.”

The Lions would have made for an intriguing fit for Robinson, given the losses of top receivers Kenny Golladay (New York Giants) and Marvin Jones Jr. (Jacksonville Jaguars), but the Chiefs lost a key receiver as well in Sammy Watkins (Baltimore Ravens).

That — and discussing the decision with those that matter most to Robinson — led him back to Kansas City.

The hidden message in Tyrann Mathieu’s potential number change

The Chiefs have proposed an NFL rule change that would open up a larger range of numbers for some positions — and many players have been musing about changing to numbers worn in college or high school. On Friday, we examined one such change the Chiefs’ star safety is considering.

Chiefs safety Tyrann Mathieu wants to change his number, too — although the rule doesn’t need to pass for him to switch to his desired digits. He’s worn 32 for all eight of his NFL seasons — and the numbers 14 and 7 in college at LSU — but he says he’s switching to a brand new one:

Number 21 in Kansas City has belonged to cornerback Bashaud Breeland for the previous two seasons — and to safety Eric Murray before that. Other former Chiefs players to don the uniform include running back Mike Garrett and safety Jerome Woods, but Mathieu indicated that the move may be a gesture to another former NFL player.

Hall of fame cornerback Charles Woodson wore number 21 for seven seasons: his entire stay in Green Bay, where he won his only career Super Bowl. He signed with the Packers entering his ninth season; the previous eight were spent with the Oakland Raiders and the number 24.