With Kansas City winning the Super Bowl, we’re going into unfamiliar territory as a franchise, where we’re on top, and have to reload for another Super Bowl run. Due to us being on top, our free agents are going to be more poached than from any other teams. Due to this, people ask for more money, which can be an issue with a hard salary cap.
So, as we prepare to enter the offseason, I’m going to play my own version of Brett Veach, making the roster decisions to reload this roster. To start this mini-series, let’s look at some players on this roster currently, and make tough decisions on what to do.
2020 Available Salary Cap: $21,295,495
(Disclaimer: I’m not going to dive into if the numbers work or not. It’s not that I didn’t try, but in all reality, I’m not knowledgeable enough on contract structures to make it all work. So, I’ll leave Brett Veach to figure that out).
This may be the hardest decision on the Chiefs roster. While Watkins does have a lot of injuries and makes a lot of money, the way he plays in the playoffs and what he does to open up the offense is exceptional. Besides Tyreek Hill, the only receiver left on the roster for next year with any significant snaps is Mecole Hardman, and while he’s played well, he doesn’t fit the X receiver role that Watkins is.
Given the way he did stay healthy this year, his unselfishness, and the way he always shows up when it matters, I think we’re going to try and restructure him. This will be difficult given the salary cap situation, but given some of our other moves on the roster, he either takes a pay cut, or he needs to go.
Decision: Ask Sammy to take a pay cut (12 million per year), or release him and save 14 million.
Chris Jones is an absolute stud. I did have my doubts in the fit in Steve Spagnuolo’s scheme, but by having another amazing season as a pass rusher while improving as a run defender, he’s worth keeping. We saw in the games he didn’t play, even with Frank Clark playing out of his mind, we did struggle to get to the quarterback. I understand the thought perspective of trading him. The thing is, Jones isn’t Dee Ford. He’s a generational talent as a pass rusher.
We’ll start by franchising him, making sure there is no chance at a bidding war, and working with Jones in the offseason. He may miss OTAs, but as long as he’s still committed to working out a friendly deal for both sides, he’s completely worth re-signing.
Decision: Franchise Jones (18 million), work out long-term deal this summer (5 years, around 100 million).
Kendall Fuller has had a weird time in Kansas City. After really struggling as a nickel corner for a year and a half, he’s found a really nice role as the nickel and dime safety, playing single high. He shows off his impressive intelligence, range, and short area quickness back there.
With Juan Thornhill probably not being fully healthy in 2020 until late in the season, I think we should gradually work him back for next year’s playoff run. If we do that, we’re going to need a single high safety. Fuller is that. Re-sign him on a one-year, mid-salary safety deal, and give him the chance to put on more tape as a good safety.
Decision: Re-sign for 1 year, 4.5 million.
Steven Wisniewski has been an absolute gem this year as our left guard. With Andrew Wylie struggling on the field and with injuries, Wisniewski was signed to play left guard, but he’s been so much better than Wylie. He’s an amazing pass protector, being able to pick up stunts and blitzes with ease while also handling top-tier interior pass rushers well.
Wisniewski will be 31 in free agency, plus he nearly retired last year, so he’s not going to get insane offers in free agency. If he loves Kansas City and wants to continue to work with Pat Mahomes, he’s going to sign for cheap. Easy re-sign for me.
Decision: Re-sign for 1 year, 4 million.
Just like Wisniewski, Mike Pennel was also an amazing midseason addition at defensive tackle. He’s nearly single-handedly fixed the run defense, playing with amazing strength and pad level. He’s unmovable as a run defender, and also has really good lateral agility for a defensive tackle.
This one is also easy, Pennel was out of football for a year, and doesn’t bring much as a pass rusher. I don’t see a team overspending on Pennel. I’m giving him a 2 year deal, keeping him in Kansas City for what likely is the rest of his prime.
Decision: 2 Year, 9 Million Dollar Deal.
I’m still the biggest Ogbah fan, and with the way he played pre-injury we have to find a way to keep him for next year. The potential he has is through the roof and he can turn into a serious #3 pass rusher in our system. We’ll be unblockable up front with a healthy Clark, Jones, and Ogbah.
Decision: Re-sign to 2-3 year, 6-7 million dollar deal
Reggie Ragland played a key role in this run. He’s a good run defender, he was used well in some of the dime packages Steve Spagnuolo ran, and he wasn’t terrible in coverage. With our later move at linebacker, we’re going to replace one with another linebacker.
Decision: Re-sign for 1 year, 2 million dollar deal
Disclaimer: Not going to write, but cut Dustin Colquitt (save 3 million). Also, traded Breeland Speaks (save 500,000). 3.5 Million Saved
Due to so many moves on the roster, we’re going to have to make a few tough decisions on the roster. The first is LDT. LDT has had a nice career, but he easily had his worst season in Kansas City, and he’s too old and injury-prone to keep him. If we want to re-sign other players, we’re going to have to say bye to a few fan favorites.
Decision: Cut LDT, save 5.4 million.
This decision is much easier. Cam Erving is really bad, overpaid, and provides no value to this team. The other guys we need to re-sign are way more valuable to this football team, and we don’t need to pay a cheerleader any longer.
Decision: Cut Erving, save 4.7 million.
Austin Reiter also struggled in the interior, showing a lack of progression from 2019. He has improved in the playoffs, but a small sample size can be hard to keep with our other decisions to make. We’ll have to rebuild the offensive line in the offseason, but we can go young. We have Nick Allegretti, Wisniewski back, and Martinas Rankin. This is a good class for interior lineman. We’ll be even better next year, and for much cheaper.
Decision: Cut Reiter, save 2.4 million.
I like Damien Wilson, he just doesn’t fit this team. With re-signing Reggie Ragland, we desperately need a WILL linebacker. Wilson can’t play it consistently enough. We’re going to draft one early in a couple months, which leaves Wilson meaningless on this team.
Decision: Cut Wilson, save 3 million.
Robinson has played 71 games as a Chief. He has 3 games with over 60 yards in that span. He’s not consistent enough as a receiver, he drops too many balls, and we have too many needs, Robinson will be grossly overpaid by another team.
Decision: Let Walk
Bashaud Breeland had a really good Super Bowl. We don’t have a lot of depth at cornerback. Still, with all the other moves on the roster, there’s no chance we can really keep Breeland on this roster, with a pay raise. If he took another 2 million dollar deal, maybe, but with a good Super Bowl, expect him to get a raise.
Decision: Let Walk
Also Let Walk/Cut: Dustin Colquitt, Breeland Speaks (Trade), Darron Lee, LeSean McCoy, Terrell Suggs, Jordan Lucas, Andrew Wylie
I’m not going to act like this was easy. I had to make some really tough decisions regarding some fan favorites, even guys that have been around awhile. I’m trying to build a dynasty though, and that requires tough decisions. It won’t be easy, with some extensions on the way, but I trust the front office to make decisions that will work out in the long run.
Regardless of what happens, it will be an interesting offseason. Make sure you follow @natech479 on Twitter, for reactions and thoughts on every move the Chiefs make this offseason.