2022 record: 14-3
Because of how quickly they’ve both attracted and added desirable talent in recent years, the Chiefs have earned a default place on these lists. Kansas City could use a player with Hopkins’ experience in its receiving corps alongside Kadarius Toney and Marquez Valdes-Scantling, with second-year pro Skyy Moore currently filling the WR3 slot.
Cap space would also be a hurdle here, as the Chiefs currently have less than $1 million to work with. But the idea of joining the defending Super Bowl champs — and playing with reigning NFL MVP Patrick Mahomes — sure is tantalizing. And when it comes to stability, few franchises have been as stable as Kansas City over the last decade.
All of the ingredients are there to make this dish. We’ll see if money ends up being more of a mountain than a molehill.
5. Kansas City Chiefs
From the moment DeAndre Hopkins trade rumors began to swirl, pundits pointed at the Kansas City Chiefs as a potential fit. It wasn’t particularly hard to see why, either.
Yes, the Chiefs fielded the NFL’s most prolific offense in 2022 on the way to a victory in Super Bowl LVII, but they did so with JuJu Smith-Schuster as the team’s No. 1 receiver. Now Smith-Schuster is in New England, and the Chiefs did little to replace him in the offseason. As it stands now, the Chiefs’ top receivers are Kadarius Toney, Marques Valdes-Scantling and Skyy Moore. That’s not exactly a fearsome trio.
Yes, the Chiefs have the NFL’s No. 1 tight end in Travis Kelce, But Kelce is 33 and closer to the end of his career than the beginning. The Chiefs are smack in the middle of their championship window, but those don’t stay open forever. The addition of Hopkins would be a huge boost for an offense that was already the only team in the league that averaged over 400 yards per game in 2022.
For Hopkins, what’s not to like? He’d get the opportunity to play with Patrick Mahomes on a team that has played in three of the last four Super Bowls.
However, there’s one major sticking point—and it’s the reason the Chiefs are ranked at the bottom of this list. No team in the AFC has less cap space than the Chiefs, and the team hasn’t finished signing its rookie class yet.
Finding the money to sign Hopkins could be done. But it would take quite a bit of restructuring of other contracts.
WR - Kadarius Toney
Kansas City Chiefs · Age: 24
The former first-round pick of the Giants provided a series of splash plays in the Chiefs’ Super Bowl LVII triumph. And the ensuing buzz surrounding Toney’s potential ascension to the WR1 role in Kansas City could foreshadow a breakout campaign for the 24-year-old. As an explosive weapon with exceptional stop-start quickness and running skills, Toney can produce big plays on horizontal or vertical routes. With Patrick Mahomes capable of elevating wideouts with his pinpoint accuracy and unlimited range, this emerging playmaker could make a serious mark on the 2023 campaign.
16. Jamaal Charles
An injury led the Chiefs parting ways with the franchise’s all-time rushing leader after the 2016 season. Before the injury, Charles (who played one year apiece in Denver and Jacksonville following his release from Kansas City) was one of the NFL’s best players. A four-time Pro Bowler from 2010-14, Charles retired with a whopping 5.4 yards per carry.
17. Tyrann Mathieu
Despite being an All-Pro in Arizona, Mathieu was released by the Cardinals after refusing to take a pay cut. He played well under a one year “prove-it” contract in Houston before signing a multiyear deal with the Chiefs in 2019. He earned All-Pro honors during his first season in Kansas City while helping the Chiefs win the Super Bowl.
24. JAWAAN TAYLOR, KANSAS CITY CHIEFS
Taylor’s grading profile is one of the most interesting at the position. He earned a 75.9 PFF pass-blocking grade in 2022 that tied for 30th and a 39.7 PFF run-blocking grade that was the worst among starting offensive tackles.
Around the NFL
Derek Carr had a familiar helping hand this past week — former Raiders coach Jon Gruden — as the New Orleans Saints installed their offense during offseason workouts.
The Saints brought in Gruden to help Carr and the offensive coaching staff under coach Dennis Allen, NOLA.com reported Friday.
A second-round draft pick by the Raiders in 2014, Carr spent his career in the silver and black until his release after the 2022 season. He signed a four-year, $150 million contract with the Saints in March.
Bell has apparently had a change of heart, however. He recently said that he wants one last chance to show what he can do on a football field before officially ended his pro career where it started a decade ago.
“The day when I do retire, it is going to be with Pittsburgh,” Bell said on the “Steel Here” podcast, via Steelers Now. “Before I do that, I may be like, hey, let me get a couple of carries in the preseason so I can show y’all something.”
In case you missed it on Arrowhead Pride
The transaction is notable for the Kansas City Chiefs, who have been connected to the 30-year-old wide receiver throughout the offseason. Early in April, we saw the initial rumblings that Hopkins could be released — which would be the only way the Chiefs could feasibly sign the wide receiver.
It was well known that the Cardinals were shopping the five-time All-Pro with high hopes for a trade, but the $19.45 million 2023 salary that would have come with a trade prevented teams from committing to a deal. Now, all bets are off, and the Chiefs should be back in the mix.
Keep in mind: though Kansas City could find itself back in the mix, it would still need to free up some cap space. At Arrowhead Pride, we estimate the Chiefs have about $1.1 million in 2023 cap space, and that number will drop once wide receiver Rashee Rice signs his rookie deal. But that could be alleviated by a contract extension for defensive tackle Chris Jones or a restructure/adjustment for quarterback Patrick Mahomes.
A tweet to make you think
People seem to forget when the #Chiefs had like $2.73 to their name in the form of cap space in 2019 yet somehow found a way to sign Patrick Mahomes to a ten-year, $450 million dollar contract extension. If Veach and the Chiefs (ie, Mahomes) want D-Hop, they can make it happen. pic.twitter.com/X3GsSIYQzs— Darren Smith (@DarrenSmithWHB) May 26, 2023