On Thursday, ESPN’s Field Yates wrote up what he considered the best moves every NFL team should make before the 2021 season gets underway. Yates thought the Kansas City Chiefs should sign a free-agent wide receiver.
Kansas City Chiefs: sign wide receiver Golden Tate
The Chiefs are a little thin at wide receiver, though it might not matter much given their star pass-catching duo of Travis Kelce and Tyreek Hill. That said, Tate would provide something a little different than what Kansas City’s receiving group is largely constructed of (ample speed): a compact wideout who excels in the short passing game with run-after-the-catch skills. And for Tate, the chance to win should be enticing.
Since the Chiefs were among the suitors trying to land Pittsburgh Steelers wideout JuJu Smith-Schuster — and were rumored to be in the mix for others — it’s hard to blame Yates for making this suggestion. The 11-year NFL veteran would indeed bring a lot of experience to Kansas City — and unlike Smith-Schuster, might be willing to accept a relatively inexpensive contract for a role where he wouldn’t rack up a lot of production.
But if we’re really talking about the best move the Chiefs could yet make, I’m not sure this is it. Extending safety Tyrann Mathieu’s contract — which would have both long and short-term benefits — should be Kansas City general manager Brett Veach’s next priority. Once that is done, Veach would also have some additional cap space with which to work, giving him options beyond signing a wide receiver who will be 33 years old when the season begins.
Besides... the Chiefs are overloaded at wide receiver — more so than any other position. They will have 15 wideouts on the roster when training camp opens in St. Joseph — and while some of the names among that position group may not be familiar to national writers like Yates, some are young players in whom Kansas City has already expended some coaching capital. Others — like Antonio Callaway, Daurice Fountain and Darrius Shepherd — have already made NFL rosters but could take steps forward while catching passes from Patrick Mahomes.
At some point, a team with a contract like Mahomes’ 10-year deal on its books must find a way to get these kinds of players on the field. Continuing to depend on free agents might be fine in the short term — but it works against the long-term solution.