The Kansas City Chiefs are already making significant moves this offseason. They watched Andrew Wylie reportedly agree to a deal with the Washington Commanders only to respond by signing Jawaan Taylor to a reported four-year, $80 million contract.
It’s a huge move for a team that has proven it will expend resources to protect Patrick Mahomes. But with Orlando Brown Jr. still unsigned, it begs the question as to what other moves Kansas City has up its sleeves.
The Chiefs will likely need to clear more cap space. They already cut Frank Clark to that end, but they have $15.1 million in space, according to Spotrac, though that doesn’t include Taylor’s contract.
Signing Chris Jones to a contract extension would not only keep him off the market when he’s set to be a free agent next offseason, but it would also clear space for the team to make more moves.
Jones’ contract stipulates a $28.3 million cap hit this season, but an extension could reduce him to a minimal salary and mostly pay him in a bonus that would be spread out through the contract.
General manager Brett Veach can be a huge offseason winner by simply extending Jones and using some of the money freed up to secure another starting tackle to pair with Taylor.
That’s bad news for the rest of the league.
Charles Omenihu to Chiefs
The Chiefs agreed to terms with Omenihu to a two-year, $16 million deal late on Day 2 of free agency, giving him an opportunity to play opposite of George Karlaftis on the defensive line. Coming off his best season, Omenihu had 54 pressures and 16 quarterback hits for the 49ers last season.
Just 25 years old, Omenihu has a ton of upside and should thrive in Steve Spagnuolo’s defense. Playing next to Chris Jones will benefit him immensely.
Kansas City Chiefs: B+
Key additions: T Jawaan Taylor
The Chiefs needed to figure out their plans at left tackle with four-time Pro Bowler Orlando Brown hitting free agency, and general manager Brett Veach got to work quickly on Monday. He promptly signed Jaguars offensive tackle Jawaan Taylor, a 25-year-old former second-round pick, to a four-year, $80 million deal that includes $60 million guaranteed.
While Brown has the better pedigree, Taylor actually had a better individual season in 2022, registering the third-lowest pressure rate allowed among offensive tackles last season at 2.5%, according to CBS Sports’ Jeff Kerr. He allowed 16 pressures and five sacks this past season, and Brown surrendered 39 pressures and four sacks. Veach continues to make all the right moves as the Chiefs have won two of the last four Super Bowls, and if he can continue to find ways to fill out the margins of the Chiefs roster in a relatively inexpensive way, Kansas City could get an A by the end of free agency.
Chiefs to sign OT Jawaan Taylor
The deal: Four years, $80 million ($60 million guaranteed)
Taylor is an adequate pass-blocking right tackle, but this contract severely overstates his ability. His 89% pass block win rate for Jacksonville last season ranked 37th out of 64 qualifying tackles last season, and his 69% run block win rate was sixth-worst among tackles. Our numbers are not alone: Pro Football Focus had Taylor as above average in pass protection and last in run blocking. That’s two different evaluation methods coming to the same conclusion — that Taylor is far from an elite tackle. Plus, Trevor Lawrence’s strong sack avoidance — a strength for Patrick Mahomes, too — likely artificially makes the Jaguars’ offensive line look better than it is.
This deal is expensive enough that we probably can assume Kansas City won’t bring back left tackle Orlando Brown Jr. It remains to be seen what Brown will receive on the open market, but I would much rather pay him than Taylor. This also means the Chiefs have splashed out for Taylor and still need a left tackle, or that they’ll put Taylor on the left side, where he has not played in the NFL.
I get that protecting Mahomes is absolutely critical for the Chiefs. And if there were no other options on the market, I’d understand. But there are! Cameron Fleming, Jermaine Eluemunor or even an Andrew Wylie return would all be palatable for significantly less cost. And the cost is important, because the Chiefs have other needs to fill.
Around the NFL
The Cowboys agreed to acquire five-time Pro Bowl cornerback Stephon Gilmore from the Indianapolis Colts, a person familiar with the situation told USA TODAY Sports. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the deal cannot become official until the start of the new league year on Wednesday. The Colts are receiving a 2023 fifth-round compensatory pick in exchange.
Dallas becomes Gilmore’s fourth team in as many seasons.
While the New York Jets — and the rest of the world — wait for the quarterback’s decision to play in 2023, Rodgers has given the team trying to trade for him, and the only one to meet with him, a list of free agent receivers he wants them to sign, ESPN reported on Tuesday.
The list includes some very familiar names to Rodgers: WR Allen Lazard, WR Randall Cobb, TE Marcedes Lewis — good friends and trusted targets in Green Bay — and Odell Beckham Jr., whom the quarterback on more than one occasion attempted to recruit to the Packers in the past.
Thomas’ unavailability has slowly chipped away at his value since 2019, leading to the belief he might leave New Orleans. The Saints instead found a way to keep him by working with Thomas on what essentially amounts to a one-year, prove-it deal that could compensate him handsomely, should be find a way to play in more than a handful of games. Conversely, if Thomas again misses time, the Saints will be protected instead of being attached to a deal that has grown into an albatross.
Big Blue is finalizing a trade to acquire tight end Darren Waller from the Las Vegas Raiders, NFL Network Insider Tom Pelissero reported Tuesday, per a source informed of the situation.
The Giants are sending Las Vegas the No. 100 overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft acquired in the Kadarius Toney trade with the Kansas City Chiefs, NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported.
It’s a blockbuster move for the Giants to add a much-needed weapon for an offense that lacked playmakers. Waller is an athletic, field-stretching tight end representing a mismatch with linebackers and safeties.
The running back agreed to a three-year, $18 million deal with the Detroit Lions on Tuesday, per NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport and Tom Pelissero.
ESPN’s Adam Schefter noted the contract features $11 million in guarantees.
It seemed as if Montgomery and the Bears were headed in different directions when Chris Emma of 670 The Score reported in January that the Iowa State product “might seek $12 million annually” while the team “might be more inclined” to offer something in the $7 million annual range.
In case you missed it on Arrowhead Pride
As a reminder, an exclusive rights free agent is any player with fewer than three accrued seasons and an expired contract. If the Chiefs offer Fortson a one-year contract at the league minimum (based on his credited seasons), he cannot negotiate with other teams.
Forston, 27, joined the Chiefs as an undrafted free agent out of Valdosta State following the 2019 NFL Draft. Fortson spent two seasons on Kansas City’s practice squad before seeing his first game action in 2021. Fortson’s 2021 season was cut short due to a torn Achilles, but he still managed five receptions for 47 yards and two touchdowns.
A tweet to make you think
Going to to make a thread here of some of the Charles Omenihu cut ups I put together during the last couple of seasons— Jordan Elliott (@splash_cousin) March 15, 2023
My goal is to help out any Chiefs fans who are curious about Omenihu and help illustrate why they should be really excited about this signing for their team