In what was supposed to be down year the 2022 Chiefs once again won the division and got the #1 overall seed in the AFC. How did that happen? Yes Mahomes. Yes Kelce. Yes Chris Jones. But there were also 3 guys on small veteran contracts who made a big difference this year.
1) Overlooked hero and starting RT Andrew Wylie: I know some of you all might be down on Wylie, but think about this: the guy was a UDFA out of Eastern Michigan, 3rd-team All-MAC his senior year, signed by the Chiefs as a backup guard who started 17 games at right tackle for a 14-3 team. He played 95% of the RT snaps for the Chiefs this year (1091 offensive + 88 special teams). According to Pro Football Reference, he only had 5 penalties all season. PFF has him allowing 9 sacks which is not great. Still, getting starting right tackle snaps for backup guard money is phenomenal. Over The Cap puts Wylie’s 2022 value at $7.9M. That’s way beyond his $1.1M contract. Thank you Andrew Wylie. Thank you for training and developing as a player. Thanks for choosing to play in KC. Thank you for protecting Pat. You’ve been a champ.
2) Passing-down RB and Red Zone Monster Jerick McKinnon: McKinnon’s rushing stats are not eye-popping: 73 rushes for 291 yards and 1 TD. But his pass protection and his receiving, particularly in the red zone has been phenomenal for a 30-year old RB who many saw as CEH insurance: 55 catches on 68 targets for 513 yards and 9 TDs. If you play fantasy football, you know the last 6 weeks of the season McKinnon was an amazing pickup scoring 8 TDs. He averaged just under 20 PPR fantasy points. He was a one-man wrecking crew. Over The Cap puts his 2022 Valuation at $4.4M. The Chiefs paid him $1.2M. Jerick, thank you for bringing your talent to KC. Thank you for continuing to grind in your thirties. Thank you for keeping Mahomes upright and finding the end zone. You the man.
3) King of the Batted Pass and Rotational DE Carlos Dunlap: Dunlap played in all 17 games this year and 45% of the defensive snaps. He accumulated 26 solo tackles, 8 assists, 5 sacks, and 1 forced fumble, but his insane number is his 8 passes defensed (batted at the line), tied for the league lead among defensive lineman. Somehow Over The Cap puts his 2022 Valuation at only $3.6M. That seems way low to me for a guy who’s been incredible on the field while also making a difference in the locker room for young guys like Karlaftis, Herring, and Kaindoh. Even if you accept that number, he’s still outperformed his $3M contract by 20%. Did you give your employer 20% more than they paid you last year? He’s been an anchor, solid, reliable, crafty. Thank you Carlos for coming to Kansas City. Thank you for playing your heart out. Thank you for a great 2022 season.
Summary: 3 contracts. Combined cost: $5.3M. Combined OTC value: $15.9M. That's over $10M out of thin air. That’s how you make magic. Incredible work Brett Veach & Co. When no one thought it could be done, you did it again.
PS. I left out Juju because even though he has a low 2022 cap number, he has over $7M in incentives that could count towards the 2023 cap. Great season Juju. But you're going to get paid.