Will the Chiefs’ offense start fast in 2022? I wouldn’t bet on it. It will be a new offense with new parts. Players will need to learn and adapt in their roles. Mahomes will need to get comfortable with his weapons, and Reid will need time to figure out what works best with his revamped scheme.
But I am less concerned about the future of this offense than I am about K.C. hitting on the draft picks.
The Chiefs’ roster, especially on the defensive side of the ball, is meager. They have zero impactful edge rushers and no linebacker depth, and outside of a few secondary pieces, they will have issues covering opposing wide receivers. There are reasons the Chiefs lack depth on defense. Bloated contracts and poor drafts directly after the selection of Mahomes have left the team needing to add bodies to the defense.
1 - Brett Veach
Kansas City Chiefs · GM
Kansas City’s general manager knew this day was coming eventually. If the Chiefs wanted to keep contending for championships, they were going to have to part ways with popular players who’d become too expensive. Not just aging veterans like former Chiefs safety Tyrann Mathieu, who wasn’t re-signed and is still a free agent. Stars like Tyreek Hill. Give Veach credit for recognizing the danger in trying to make Hill the highest-paid receiver in the game. If the Chiefs had capitulated to those demands, they’d be courting the kind of salary cap hell that has ruined many teams. Veach already has one difficult negotiation to contend with — left tackle Orlando Brown wants to be the highest-paid player at his position — and the Chiefs have other needs to address. Veach can start attacking those holes with a strong haul of draft picks. He’s now in the market for a new No. 1 receiver. But he’s also put his franchise in a better place for the future with such a bold move.
Patrick Mahomes probably wasn’t a happy camper upon hearing the news of Hill’s trade. The quarterback and receiver enjoyed a highly successful partnership that included over 40 touchdowns over the past four years. Mahomes still has Travis Kelce, but he will need to develop more strong connections with the rest of the Chiefs’ receiving corps, a unit that recently lost Demarcus Robinson and Byron Pringle in free agency.
Kansas City did bring in JuJu Smith-Schuster, but given his lack of production following Antonio Brown’s departure from Pittsburgh, the Chiefs needs to bring in more playmakers before the start of the season. Look for the Chiefs to do just that in the draft while also taking another look at the remaining free agent pool.
If the Chiefs can replace Hill with capable players who can help them continue on their current roll, this grade will ultimately be remembered in a more favorable light. But as it currently stands, it’s safe to say that parting ways with Hill has put the Chiefs’ odds at hosting a fifth consecutive AFC Championship Game in serious jeopardy.
3. Kansas City Chiefs
The Chiefs haven’t been as active in free agency as in years past, but this is a roster that didn’t need to add much until the trade of Tyreek Hill. Kansas City landed its No. 2 wide receiver in Smith-Schuster as an added weapon in the passing game, but then dealt Hill to the Dolphins for five draft picks. Smith-Schuster is an upgrade in the slot, but the Chiefs need a deep-ball threat to counter the loss of Hill and make this signing effective. Travis Kelce is still in Kansas City and assumes the top pass-catching option (he arguably was that when Hill was there).
Kansas City could upgrade at wide receiver in the draft with their late first-round picks, or look at deep-ball options like Marquez Valdes-Scantling. Perhaps the Chiefs allocate that money freed up from Hill to improve the pass rush and other areas of the defense.
“Absolutely blazing speed fast,” fullback Alec Ingold said. “Everyone’s going to be running. Shoot, the entire offense is going to be running.”
And Ingold, another likely starter for Miami in 2022, was just talking about his backfield mates.
Adding Mostert, Edmonds and Wilson is one thing. Trading for Hill — sources told ESPN that Miami gave up a 2022 first-round pick (No. 29), second-round pick (No. 50) and fourth-round pick, plus fourth- and sixth-round picks in the 2023 draft — gives the Dolphins the NFL’s premier home run threat regardless of position.
Ben Standig of The Athletic reports the Jags could be moving Laviska Shenault Jr. Coincidentally, Standig believes Viska could replace Hill in Kansas City despite the fact that they may be interested in signing former Green Bay Packers wide receiver Marquez Valdes-Scantling. Keep in mind that this isn’t the first time Shenault is mentioned as a potential trade target. Just a few days ago, Michael DiRocco of ESPN reported the Jaguars wide receiver was on the trade block.
Safety · Age 29
The Cowboys entered free agency with safety as their greatest weakness, and after re-signing Jayron Kearse, Dallas should look outside Texas to find its next impact defender. The Cowboys have cap space, thanks to parting ways with Amari Cooper and La’el Collins, and would be wise to add Mathieu, a unique player who can make a difference all over the field. Add in his leadership and passion to a promising group that also features Micah Parsons, Trevon Diggs and DeMarcus Lawrence, and you have an exciting defense that could be even better than it was in 2021.
Round 1 - Pick 29
Kaiir Elam CB
The Chiefs cornerback room is pretty barren right now beyond L’Jarius Snead. Elam has the length, speed, and SEC experience to be picked this high.
Around the NFL
Butler spent the 2021 season on the reserve/retired list after signing with the Arizona Cardinals and practicing with them throughout training camp and the preseason. At the time, Cardinals defensive coordinator Vance Joseph said “personal” matters led to Butler being placed on the list.
The Cardinals released Butler from the reserve/retired list on Feb. 17, which freed Butler to sign with any team and ultimately led him back to New England, where he started his NFL career in 2014 as an undrafted free agent out of West Alabama.
In case you missed it on Arrowhead Pride
Jones, 24, first entered the league as a second-round pick made by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the 2018 NFL Draft. Jones played all four seasons of his career with the Buccaneers — including 2020, the year that led to Tampa Bay’s 21-9 Super Bowl LV win over the Chiefs. Jones had 12 carries for 61 yards in the title game.
After leading the Buccaneers in carries in 2019 (172) and 2020 (192), Jones took a backseat to Leonard Fournette in 2021, only posting 101 attempts for 428 yards and four touchdowns. Jones added 10 catches for 64 yards through the air.
A tweet to make you think
Not to get controversial, but I think Patrick Mahomes will be just fine without Tyreek Hill— lindsey ok (@lindseyyok) March 23, 2022