Key Additions: OT Jawaan Taylor, WR Richie James, Edge Charles Omenihu, S Mike Edwards, LB Drue Tranquill, QB Blaine Gabbert
Key Losses: OT Orlando Brown Jr., S Juan Thornhill, WR JuJu Smith-Schuster, DT Khalen Saunders, OL Andrew Wylie, edge Frank Clark, QB Chad Henne (retirement)
It’s pretty much been an offseason of maintenance for the reigning champs. The Chiefs focused largely on bringing back players like wideout Justin Watson, tight end Blake Bell, defensive lineman Derrick Nnadi, guard Nick Allegretti and safety Deon Bush while replacing a few others.
Kansas City’s biggest move was replacing Orlando Brown Jr. with former Jaguars offensive tackle Jawaan Taylor. The Chiefs gave Taylor a sizable four-year, $80 million deal. That’s far from a bargain, but it’s not a gross overpay, either.
Clearly, Kansas City believes Taylor is a better fit for its offense than Brown, who got paid less than Taylor to play elsewhere.
Richie James was brought in to help replace JuJu Smith-Schuster, while Mike Edwards was added to help replace Juan Thornhill. Defensive lineman Khalen Saunders is a notable loss, but the Chiefs also added a standout linebacker Drue Tranquill.
Charles Omenihu should help replace pass-rusher Frank Clark, who remains unsigned but was released and is unlikely to be back.
Overall, the Chiefs head into the draft with a roster that is very similar to what they had in 2022. Kansas City fans should be thrilled with that, considering last year’s team won the Super Bowl and this year’s roster has yet to see rookie additions.
Kansas City Chiefs: Patrick Mahomes, QB, 2017
Only six years into his NFL career, Mahomes has left no doubt as the franchise’s best-ever draft pick with two Super Bowl victories and two MVP Awards. KC traded up to 10th overall in 2017 to draft Mahomes and hasn’t looked back. Before Mahomes, the franchise’s best first-round picks included Buck Buchanan (1963), Neil Smith (1988), Derrick Thomas (1989), and Tony Gonzalez (1997).
45. Todd Blackledge, Tony Eason, Ken O’Brien
If you drafted a quarterback in the first round of the 1983 draft, you had a 50% shot at getting a Hall of Famer – Elway, Jim Kelly or Dan Marino. Otherwise, you got one of these guys, all taken with Marino (27th overall) still available.
3. Gabbert originally entered the NFL as a first-round pick.
The Jaguars selected Gabbert with the No. 10 overall pick of the 2011 NFL Draft, making him the third quarterback selected that year. His 67 career games are the fifth-most among quarterbacks selected that year, trailing Andy Dalton (166), Cam Newton (148), Tyrod Taylor (81) and Colin Kaepernick (69).
Gabbert is the third-highest selected player from the University of Missouri in school history, trailing only Justin Smith (No. 4 overall in 2001) and Aldon Smith (No. 7 overall in 2011).
The tight end took time to take a picture with former NFL coach Wade Phillips, who now coaches the Houston Roughnecks. Phillips joked about trying to get the “best tight end in football” to play for his team in the NFL.
Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson tweeted the picture and joked about loving to have Travis Kelce playing in the XFL, while he laughed about what the tight end would say about his salary in the league.
Chiefs general manager Brett Veach said Thursday the team has yet to make a decision on whether to pick up Edwards-Helaire’s fifth-year rookie option.
“I mean we have some time here,” said Veach, via team transcript. “We’ll see. I just think we’ll go through the draft and handle our business and make smart decisions like we always do. I don’t think we’ve reached a decision on anything yet, but safe to say that once we get through the draft, we’ll look at our board and look at our offseason business that we have to attend to, some different players and contract stuff and we’ll handle all that after the draft.”
There isn’t all that much time to make a decision, as May 2 stands as the deadline for clubs to exercise fifth-year options for players selected in the first round of the 2020 NFL Draft.
31. Kansas City Chiefs: Bryan Bresee, DT, Clemson
How do things just work out this well for the Chiefs? One of their biggest needs is defensive tackle and they end up with one of the three best at the position at pick No. 31.
31. KANSAS CITY CHIEFS: EDGE FELIX ANUDIKE-UZOMAH, KANSAS STATE
The tackle class is likely too depleted at this point to look there so the Chiefs continue to try to bolster their pass-rush long term. Steve Spagnuolo’s “type” for defensive ends looks a lot like Anudike-Uzomah’s physical profile.
31 - Kansas City Chiefs
Georgia Tech · Edge · Senior (RS)
The Chiefs find Frank Clark’s replacement, nabbing a big, athletic edge rusher who is still raw but has all the tools to learn under defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo.
Around the NFL
The Cowboys made the option official on Thursday about two weeks before a decision had to be made, locking Lamb, their first-round pick in 2020, into a salary of $17.99 million in 2024.
Because Lamb was selected to the Pro Bowl, his option salary was higher per terms of the collective bargaining agreement.
The moment you've all been waiting for. pic.twitter.com/6Bio5r9KwY— Arizona Cardinals (@AZCardinals) April 21, 2023
Players modeled fresh home all-red, away all-white and alternate all-black looks Thursday night in downtown Phoenix.
For the first time in franchise history, the state the Cardinals represent will be emblazoned upon their jerseys, as “ARIZONA” is across the teams’ home jerseys.
In case you missed it on Arrowhead Pride
“One crazy thing in this business — and really in every business — right when you sign a big deal, somebody’s going to beat you,” observed Reid on Tuesday. “You can start chasing that — and kind of forget about your job at hand — but Pat’s got a great feel for all that stuff. The main thing he wanted to do — for which my hat just goes off to him — is he wanted to do a deal that was team-friendly.”
“We have a special relationship with him and his agent,” said Veach of Mahomes on Thursday. “And you know, we’re in constant communication. I mean, it’s one of those things — and I think Coach hinted on this [during] his last press conference — where as soon as one guy gets done, it’s kind of the blueprint [and] the model. Two years later, it’s jumped and exceeded.”
But as Reid suggested — and Veach then confirmed — that doesn’t mean that the first order of business is to renegotiate Mahomes’ contract.
“I think that this organization — and the relationship we have with Pat — will always be working to make sure that we’re doing right by everybody,” said the GM. “And you know, there’ll be a couple more contracts that still have to get done — [for] Burrow and Herbert — and once they do, I think [we’ll] kind of look at everything and assess where [we] are and what [we] can do. And take it from there.”