Chiefs Offseason Recap: A Massive Mistake?

July 18, 2022

Can you remember all the moves the Chiefs have made in a busy offseason? Here’s a recap of the team’s moves this offseason including what may be their biggest mistake.

It has been nearly six months since the Kansas City Chiefs lost in crushing fashion to the Bengals in the AFC Championship game. The team has made a lot of moves in the wake of their blown lead that prevented a third consecutive Super Bowl appearance.

As training camp is set to kick off next week, on July 27, there will be plenty of new names and faces for fans to become acquainted with. Before we start to look ahead at what the season could bring, let’s look back at what this offseason entailed for the Chiefs and how we got here.

Kansas City Chiefs – Major Departures Of The Offseason

Roster Departures:

  • Charvarius Ward – Three year, $40 million contract with San Francisco
  • Mike Hughes – One year, $2.25 million contract with Detroit
  • Tyrann Mathieu – Three year, $28.3 million contract with New Orleans
  • Byron Pringle – One year, $4.1 million contract with Chicago
  • Demarcus Robinson – One year, $1.18 million contract with Las Vegas
  • Daniel Sorensen – One year, $1.2 million contract with New Orleans
  • Armani Watts – One year, $1.18 million contract with Indianapolis
  • Austin Blythe – One year, $4 million contract with Seattle
  • Ben Niemann – One year, $1 million contract with Arizona
  • Darrel Williams – One year, $1.18 million contract with Arizona
  • Melvin Ingram – One year, $4 million contract with Miami
  • Jarran Reed – One year, $3.2 million contract with Green Bay
  • Tyreek Hill – Traded to Miami for five draft picks

The Chiefs saw a major exodus of talent this offseason. Of the 16 free agents that played for the team last season, they retained just four. What shouldn’t be lost on the fan base is that this was mostly by design for Brett Veach and company. According to a report from Sports Illustrated, Kansas City didn’t even make a contract offer to Tyrann Mathieu this offseason. The team applied the UFA Tender to Melvin Ingram, which offered him a contract. If he remained a free agent into training camp, he would’ve been a member of the Chiefs. However, the move also protected the team with draft compensation were he to sign with another team.

It seems as if the front office was content with a major shakeup this offseason. After all, for the better part of the past three seasons, the team’s roster has been mostly consistent with very little influx of key talent. The goal this offseason was to change the direction of the roster. Kansas City needed to get younger and they needed to get better at the same time. In order to do so, many key faces had to be allowed to walk.

Kansas City Chiefs – Key Signings And Additions Of The Offseason

Free Agent Signings/Additions:

  • Justin Reid – Three year, $31.5 million contract
  • Marquez Valdes-Scantling – Three year, $30 million contract
  • Juju Smith-Schuster – One year, $3.25 million contract
  • Derrick Nnadi – Re-signed, one year, $2.75 million contract
  • Andrew Wylie – Re-signed, one year, $2.5 million contract
  • Jermaine Carter – One year, $1.7 million contract
  • Ronald Jones II – One year, $1.5 million contract
  • Jerick McKinnon – Re-signed, one year, $1.2 million contract
  • Blake Bell – Re-signed, one year, $1.2 million contract
  • Taylor Stallworth – One year, $1.1 million contract
  • Deon Bush – One year, $1.1 million contract
  • Geron Christian – One year, $1.18 million contract
  • Lonnie Johnson Jr – Acquired in a trade with the Houston Texans

In their free agent strategy, the Chiefs focused on replacing many of their key departures with established veterans on cost-controlled contracts. For essentially the same contract that Mathieu ended up signing with the Saints, the team acquired Justin Reid. Reid, who enters the season five years younger than Mathieu, is an excellent tackler with major upside. Jermaine Carter (27) and Deon Bush (28) once again fit the mold of getting younger on defense. Both have also proven themselves to be strong tacklers in the NFL already.

On the offense, Kansas City replaced Demarcus Robinson and Byron Pringle with Valdes-Scantling and Smith-Schuster. Both wideouts give the offense bigger targets on the outside. The changes should lead to a deeper wide receiver corps and also carries a larger upside. Smith-Schuster has already shown an ability to perform as a number one option with the Pittsburgh Steelers. MVS shared the same lofty expectations when he was drafted but injuries have derailed that success thus far in his career.

Draft Picks:

  • First Round – CB Trent McDuffie
  • First Round – DE George Karlaftis
  • Second Round – WR Skyy Moore
  • Second Round – S Bryan Cook
  • Third Round – LB Leo Chenal
  • Fourth Round – CB Joshua Williams
  • Fifth Round – T Darian Kinnard
  • Seventh Round – DB Jaylen Watson
  • Seventh Round – RB Isaih Pacheco
  • Seventh Round – S Nazeeh Johnson

Undrafted Free Agents:

  • G Mike Caliendo
  • LB Jack Cochrane
  • QB Dustin Crum
  • RB Jerrion Ealy
  • RB Tayon Fleet-Davis
  • DB Nasir Greer
  • TE Kehinde Oginni
  • T Gene Pryor
  • LB Mike Rose
  • WR Justyn Ross

In yet another season, it seems the Chiefs have hit the NFL Draft out of the park. The consensus around the league is that the team hauled in one of the very best draft classes league-wide. Not only did the team add top-tier talent, but they were also able to do so at key positions of need. McDuffie will fill a need for a cornerback, where the team saw Mike Hughes and Charvarius Ward depart in free agency. George Karlaftis will get a chance to step in as a starting defensive end next season.

Somehow, Leo Chenal and Bryan Cook both fell to the Chiefs in the back of the second round and third round. Both players will complement the team’s free agent strategy to get younger and add plus tacklers to the defensive rebuild. Cook was one of the best safeties in college football last season, earning first-team AAC honors. Chenal finished as one of the nation’s leaders with 18.5 tackles for loss on his way to earning the Big Ten Linebacker of the Year award.

The Chiefs Have One Big Question Remaining Ahead Of 2022

If there’s one remaining area of concern ahead of next season, it lies in the team’s edge rush. Despite ranking near the very bottom of the NFL in sacks last season, the changes on the defensive front have been mostly minimal. Instead of cutting Frank Clark, the team re-worked his contract for the upcoming season. He is now set to earn close to what the team would have owed him if he were released. This move is a no-brainer and makes complete sense.

Beyond the contract re-structure, Kansas City lost Jarran Reed and Melvin Ingram to free agency. They replaced Jarran Reed with Taylor Stallworth from Indianapolis. Stallworth, who will provide solid depth along the defensive front, has just two career starts in four NFL seasons. To replace Ingram, the Chiefs will rely on rookie George Karlaftis, Mike Danna, and a mix of second-year players (essentially “red-shirt rookies”) in Malik Herring and Joshua Kaindoh.

The depth on the edge is severely lacking. Beyond the obvious lack of depth, the unit lacks experience as a whole. The Chiefs’ five edge rusher options have a combined 80 career starts in the NFL. 73 of those 80 starts have been made by Clark. Will the strategy pay off for Kansas City? It’s possible but remains a serious risk ahead of 2022.


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