Super Bowl 56 is almost upon us, which means we aren’t very far off from the beginning of the NFL offseason. The Chiefs will have at least nine selections in the upcoming NFL draft. After cutting Frank Clark, Anthony Hitchens, and restructuring Patrick Mahomes they figure to have at least $30 million in cap space as well. The Chiefs should be highly active this offseason.
Last offseason, we saw the Chiefs aggressively pursue offensive line improvements. They released long-tenured offensive tackles, Mitchell Schwartz and Eric Fisher. Veach signed All-Pro guard, Joe Thuney, to a massive free-agent contract. They also traded for Pro-Bowl tackle Orlando Brown Jr. Of course, they also invested heavily in the draft in Creed Humphrey and Trey Smith.
This offseason, the Chiefs have already stated that defensive line will be the first priority. What might that entail? What else will be a focus this offseason? Here are three bold moves the Chiefs should make this offseason:
Trade Chris Jones For A First Round Selection
Change is never easy. The Chiefs are going to turn over the defensive line. The bigger question will be who stays, not so much who is let go. It’s already mostly accepted that Frank Clark and Anthony Hitchens will be cap casualties this offseason. Releasing Clark will save $12.7 million against the Salary Cap. Anthony Hitchens’ release will save an additional eight million.
Jarran Reed is a free agent who is unlikely to return. Melvin Ingram could be a departure as well, despite his strong showing this season. With so much change, why trade the Chiefs’ best defensive player left on the roster?
A post-June 1st trade of Chris Jones would cost seven million in dead-cap but create $22-million in cap savings. This would balloon the Chiefs’ cap space to over $50 million. That alone creates a large amount of flexibility for Brett Veach to tackle the defensive line. More importantly, he can tackle other holes on the roster, such as safety (we will get there).
It’s worth noting that Jones is still an elite defensive talent. He has the talent to win a Defensive Player of the Year award someday. However, even with his talent, this defense has struggled mightily for multiple years with Jones on the roster. Jones has not registered a single playoff sack in his career.
Cap savings aren’t the only driving factor to a Chris Jones trade. A return for Kansas City would be comparable to the Deforest Buckner trade, which saw the Niners net the 13th-overall selection in return for Buckner. In this scenario, I expect the Chiefs to acquire a pick somewhere in the 15-20 range of the first round.
The Eagles make a ton of sense in a trade partner, owning picks 15, 16, and 19. If Fletcher Cox returns to Philly, he and Jones make a scary pairing on the inside for a still-building franchise. The Chiefs would suddenly boast two first-rounders and a ton of cap space to invest in their roster.
Sign Jabrill Peppers And Let Tyrann Mathieu Walk
Tyrann Mathieu is one of the best safeties in the entire NFL. One day, he will enter Canton as a Hall-of-Famer. Even still, his time as a Kansas City Chief should come to an end. Mathieu is entering his age-30 season. At the same point in their careers, Earl Thomas and Eric Berry saw a sharp decline. Although Mathieu was outstanding this season, he didn’t quite have the same impact that we saw in previous years.
Even still, his absence was clear in the Divisional round game versus Buffalo. The Chiefs need someone over the top. Enter: Jabrill Peppers. Peppers entered the league as the 25th overall selection in the 2017 NFL Draft, by the Cleveland Browns. He was one of the key pieces in the Giants trade that sent Odell Beckham Jr. to Cleveland. In three seasons as a Giant, Peppers has appeared in just 30 games. He’s tallied just two interceptions in that span, 3.5 sacks, and 196 tackles.
The Chiefs can acquire Peppers for less than Mathieu will cost. Peppers could be a large drop-off from Honey Badger, but there’s still some projectability. Peppers is just 26 years old. Spotrac lists the Market Value for Mathieu at three years, $45 million. Peppers comes in at four years, $50 million. The Chiefs would be taking a bigger risk with Jabrill Peppers, but the payoff could be worth it.
Draft Jameson Williams In The First
Brett Veach said this offseason “if there’s any way we can get better and there’s any way we can get Pat Mahomes more weapons, we’ll do that.” This would be doing just that. With the Chris Jones trade, the Chiefs would be in range to draft one of the big wide receiver prospects in the NFL Draft. The Chiefs have a lot of long-term question marks at the wide receiver position.
After 2022, not a single wide receiver is currently under contract. Extensions for Tyreek Hill and Mecole Hardman are coming due. While I don’t think it’s likely that the Chiefs extend Hardman, even if they extend both it’s time for the Chiefs to get younger and cheaper at the position.
Jameson Williams played two seasons at Ohio State, buried on the depth chart where he didn’t produce much at all. In 2021, he transferred to Alabama as a Junior and he exploded. He caught 79 passes for 1572 yards and 15 touchdowns. He led the SEC in receiving yards, receiving touchdowns, and yards per reception.
If the Chiefs want to be aggressive and follow through with their promise to get Mahomes weapons, this is how they do it. Capitalizing on Chris Jones’s trade value, saving cap space, and drafting the top wide receiver in the draft would be a phenomenal move for the front office.
Which bold moves do you think the Chiefs will make this offseason? Leave a comment down below to join the discussion.
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