The week began with Kansas City Chiefs general manager Brett Veach making a big move — even if it was one we have been anticipating for quite a while.
This move has been expected ever since Kansas City traded a package of draft picks to the Baltimore Ravens in order to acquire Brown just before the 2021 NFL Draft. At that time, Brown had just one year remaining on his rookie contract. It’s now a near-certainty that Brown will play for the Chiefs this season.
Brown will be designated with the non-exclusive franchise tag, which means that he is free to negotiate with other teams. If another team makes Brown an offer, Kansas City has the right to match that offer to retain him. If the Chiefs choose not to match it, Brown may be signed by the other team — but it will have to give Kansas City two of its first-round draft picks in compensation.
But if none of those things happen — or Brown’s representatives and the team do not agree on a long-term contract before mid-July — he will have a one-year contract to play for the Chiefs. As the salary-cap site Spotrac noted, official franchise-tag figures are not yet available. Its projections indicate, however, that Brown will be paid $16.5 million under the tag.
Also on Monday, Brandon Kiley outlined an offseason plan that would fill all the team’s significant personnel issues.
In the ideal offseason, the Chiefs add one of the top defensive ends on the market, of which there are plenty. Von Miller, Jason Pierre-Paul and Chandler Jones all make sense. Veach decides Jones is the right man for the job, and he signs him to a three-year deal worth $45 million.
The next move is to improve the pass-catchers around Mahomes. There are plenty of options on the market. Allen Robinson, Odell Beckham Jr. and Juju Smith-Schuster all make sense, but Veach decides to go a different route. Amari Cooper is very likely to hit the market after the Dallas Cowboys make his release official. Veach loves him some former first-round picks, and Cooper wouldn’t factor into the compensation pick formula after his release.
Veach decides to hand Cooper a three-year deal, which resembles the deal the Chiefs handed Sammy Watkins back in 2018.
With Jones and Cooper in the mix, it’s time to fill the other two big holes. The safety options are appealing with guys like Quandre Diggs, Justin Reid and Jordan Whitehead.
Then, Bryan Stewart took a look at some of the mid-level free agents that could fit in Kansas City.
Safety Quandre Diggs
Diggs has developed into a true playmaker, collecting five interceptions in each of his last two seasons with the Seattle Seahawks. Instinctive and rangy in coverage, he could project as a cheaper alternative to Tyrann Mathieu — that is, if the Chiefs don’t want to add a safety in the first two rounds of the NFL Draft.
Working against Diggs is his age. At 29 years old, it’s probably too late for him to earn a four or five-year contract on the free market; a three-year deal worth $8-12 million per season would be more realistic.
Considering that Diggs does offer some of the same intangible leadership skills that Mathieu has shown in the last three seasons, that investment could well be worth it.
On Tuesday, the ground under the AFC West shook: the Denver Broncos finally traded for an elite quarterback — but not the Green Bay Packers’ Aaron Rodgers, who made news by signing a four-year contract extension that morning. Instead, Denver acquired the Seattle Seahawks' longtime starter.
Following Peyton Manning’s retirement after the 2015 season, the Broncos saw QB starts from Brock Osweiler, Trevor Siemian, Paxton Lynch, Case Keenum, Brandon Allen, Drew Lock and Teddy Bridgewater — among others.
Pick any name on that extensive list, and Wilson is undoubtedly a significant upgrade. Schefter later tweeted the full details on the exchange.
Trade package:— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) March 8, 2022
Seattle gets QB Drew Lock, TE Noah Fant, DL Shelby Harris, two first-round picks, two second-round picks and a fifth-round pick.
Denver gets Russell Wilson and a fourth-round pick.
So in exchange for Wilson and a fourth-rounder, Seattle received quarterback Drew Lock, tight end Noah Fant, defensive lineman Shelby Harris and five draft picks, including two first-round picks.
It was back to mundane offseason business on Wednesday, as we covered the star ESPN analyst’s latest mock draft.
30. Kansas City Chiefs: S Daxton Hill, Michigan
Kansas City allowed 5.9 yards per play in 2021 (30th) and 7.3 yards per pass attempt (24th), and safety Tyrann Mathieu is a free agent. Pass rush, wide receiver and offensive line are all units that could use another contributor, but this one just made too much sense. Hill is a fast riser after a great combine showing (4.38-second 40-yard dash), and he’s a rangy defensive back with versatility. He has the free safety traits to match slot receivers in man coverage and the physicality to support the run like a strong safety. Hill would help contain the vertical passing games of division-mates Justin Herbert and Russell Wilson.
In his first two mocks, McShay had the Chiefs pick Penn State wideout Jahan Dotson at 30. So this is yet another example of the long shadow that Kansas City’s free-agent safety is casting over the team’s offseason. With the Chiefs playing against division rivals that will now have three of 2021’s top 15 quarterbacks — not to mention a 2022 schedule in which the team will face four more of them — it’s easy to see McShay’s logic. But he’s presuming that, unlike Seattle, Kansas City will not address Mathieu’s potential absence in free agency.
On Thursday, Mark Gunnels took his weekly look at the hottest Chiefs takes.
It’s no secret that the Chiefs will be looking for a true No. 2 wide receiver opposite Tyreek Hill. If there’s one thing this offense could use, it’s a big-bodied possession receiver.
Metcalf is that, and he can also take the top off the defense. Standing at 6-feet-4, 235 pounds, Metcalf is a physical specimen, and when you couple that with a 40 time of 4.33, you have all the makings of a generational talent.
With that being said, would Brett Veach be willing to give up a first-round pick for Metcalf?
Would it be enough?
Then Talon Graff covered some of the free-agent wideouts who wouldn’t command such a high price.
Tier 3 | Will Fuller
Bringing in Fuller could be a viable option that doesn’t force Veach to break the bank. Fuller had a productive career in Houston before signing a one-year deal with the Miami Dolphins before the start of the 2021 season. He broke his thumb early in the year and wasn’t able to see the field much at all. The season before that, in 2020, he was suspended for the latter part due to the use of performing-enhancing drugs. After all of that, he is eager to bounce back and prove he can still offer value to a team. Kansas City would be a great situation for him to prove it.
After a day to reflect on it, John Dixon examined some of the silver linings to be found after the Broncos went all-in on Wilson.
3. The Chiefs will still have the most primetime games
Ever since his 2018 MVP season — his first as the team’s starter — Kansas City quarterback Patrick Mahomes has been considered one of the league’s top stars. During that period, the Chiefs have appeared in 22 primetime games — compared to 15 in the four years before that and only nine from 2010 through 2013. In the last four seasons, only the Packers have appeared in as many primetime games — and with Russell Wilson at quarterback, the Seahawks appeared in 19.
So while Broncos fans are rejoicing over the team’s acquisition, it’s probably nothing compared to the excitement the NFL’s television partners are feeling. Over the coming seasons, every AFC West matchup will likely be seen as an important, exciting game — and those involving Mahomes and Wilson will top that list. Kansas City’s games will remain among those most likely to be played before national audiences.
As the week ended, Jared Sapp examined the possibility that Kansas City losing some free-agent players this offseason could give the team additional draft picks a year from now.
If Tyrann Mathieu or Charvarius Ward leave Kansas City, they will be very likely to sign contracts with enough value to merit compensation. Even on the short-term deals they would be likely to get, Melvin Ingram and Jarran Reed are also probably in line for enough average value. After coming on strong late in the season and in the playoffs, Byron Pringle is also a possibility — although his age (and deep wide receiver boards both in free agency and the draft) could leave him overlooked.
Other players listed, however, are unlikely to see sufficient interest from other teams.
Mike Hughes — a former first-round pick of the Minnesota Vikings — has a lengthy injury history and appeared to be beaten in coverage multiple times during his only Kansas City season. Demarcus Robinson has tested free agency in each of the past two offseasons, but returned to the team on minimum-salary contracts after finding minimal interest elsewhere. Being a year older — and with another season of middling production — is likely will not help his case this offseason.
Daniel Sorensen — now 32 — also returned to the Chiefs at a low salary during free agency last year. While he is still only 25 years old, Derrick Nnadi is coming off of his worst season as a professional — and offers little pass-rushing upside that might make him attractive to other teams.