The Chiefs Offseason Agenda

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We are now solidly in the offseason, as the Chiefs victory in Super Bowl 57 is becoming more distant and the so-called legal tampering window date of March 13th is drawing ever closer. So let’s take a moment and think about what the Chiefs might do this offseason to build a team that can defend a Super Bowl championship for the first time in nearly 20 years.

Restructure: Mahomes and Frank Clark

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As I explained back when he signed the deal, Mahomes’ contract is set up in a way where the Chiefs should restructure it every offseason, pushing back the cap hit indefinitely so that we can maximize the teams around Mahomes while we can. In fact, it was one of the major reasons I labeled last season as a rebuilding year (a framing I’m proud to say I was one of the first to realize and everybody else slowly realized later. I’m not Peggy Hill’ing it I promise.)

With the rebuilding year ending in wild success, it’s now time to take advantage of the extra cap space, so we really should restructure Mahomes this year. This would create $33.5 million in space, which will come in handy.

As for Clark, his is more of a pay cut as he’s failed to live up to his massive contract. Originally this wasn’t going to be a cut to gain $21 million in space, but in my mind it makes more sense to keep him around one more year at a lower rate than to try and bring in a free agent. Anybody much better will also be more expensive, and we should be focusing our spending elsewhere.

Franchise Tag: Orlando Brown

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There’s already rumors swirling around him, and with the window already open for tagging players it’s possible that this has already happened by the time you read this.

But tagging him simply makes more sense than signing him to the big time extension that he’s looking for given his inconsistent play. If he can establish himself as a dominant left tackle then maybe we can talk a big contract. Otherwise, a franchise tag of $20 million dollars is hard to argue against as it buys us time to potentially find a replacement.

Re-sign: Juan Thornhill and Shane Buechele

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I’m going to focus on the bigger names here. Whether they decide to bring back or churn through role players like Blake Bell and Darius Harris doesn’t really matter.

Anyway, Thornhill is the one free agent the Chiefs should bring back no matter the price. He has done a good job solidifying the secondary and finding an adequate replacement would be tough. He will command a decent number, so this will be one of our splurge players.

Despite having a list of potential backups I’d like to bring in, it just doesn’t make much sense to spend our limited resources on a top-end backup. One of my favorite NFL anecdotes is when a Colts coach said Manning got all the practice reps because if he went down the were fucked, and they don’t practice fucked.

That philosophy can be a bit questionable, as we just saw the value of having a backup who can step in for a drive or two and be somewhat competent. But I also think we’re better off making sure the team around Mahomes is as good as possible, as if he goes down for an entire game in the playoffs we’d have little chance of winning no matter who was backing him up. Better to go cheap with Buechele and spend the money elsewhere.

Re-sign (If The Price Is Right): JuJu Smith-Schuster and Mecole Hardman

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The Chiefs took a receiver-by-committee approach after trading Tyreek Hill, and it proved to be effective as Mahomes won his second MVP award. While it’s tempting to then conclude that we need to bring the gang back, it should instead lead the team to conclude that Mahomes can make even mediocre receivers look good.

If Smith-Schuster and Hardman are willing to come back on reasonable deals, then I see no reason to refuse to bring them back. But if they’re demanding too much, there are plenty of equivalent guys out there who we can replace them with. Hardman especially has never seemed to had chemistry with Mahomes, and Toney can fill his role as the screen and reverse runner.

Bring In: The Best Right Tackle Available

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Andrew Wylie has filled in admirably at right tackle, but he should be more of a high-level backup than a true starter. The Chiefs obviously expected to have Lucas Niang available to start, but injuries have kept him off the field forcing Wylie into action.

Maybe the team is confident that Niang is still the long term answer there (he did look solid when he played), but given his injury history I’d rather have him as the swing backup and use our cap space to swing for the fences at the position.

Who that top right tackle will be is still up in the air. Right now the consensus seems to be Mike McGlinchey, but you never know if the 49ers will franchise tag him or re-sign him before he hits the open market. Regardless, whoever that top tackle available ends up being he needs to be wearing an arrowhead on his helmet next season.

Draft: Trade Up And Best Player Available (NO 1ST ROUND RUNNING BACKS!)

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With the roster as constructed above, it should give the Chiefs freedom to truly draft the best player available. Other than positions like quarterback and offensive line, any rookie is going to be able to get significant playing time if they’re good enough. At the same time, there’s no position where we’d feel like we’d absolutely need to get an immediate starter in the draft.

That being said, we are going into the draft with 12 draft picks (judging by comp pick projections), just like in 2022. But these picks are significantly worse than 2022. Heading into last year’s draft, we had 2 picks in each of the first 4 rounds. In 2023, we are going into the draft with 6 of the 12 picks in the 6th and 7th rounds, with the only other extra pick being in the 4th round. In 2022 we ended up with 10 picks after trades, and 2023 should see even more picks used to trade up.

The reality is that there just isn’t enough roster spots available for half a dozen late round picks who are likely going to be special teamers and fringe roster players. It makes more sense to use them to trade up in earlier rounds to make sure we get our guys. We should expect to come out of the draft with 8 or 9 new players.

And, this should really go without saying, don’t draft a running back in the first round! Hopefully Veach learned his mistake from Clyde Edwards-Helaire, but I’ve seen a number of mock drafts having us wasting our pick on a running back, so it bears repeating.

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ArrowFan
02/23/2023 2:47 pm

If we can afford a luxury pick for the Offense I would like to see a large WR/TE in the draft. Maybe 3rd round or latter.

zulu trader
02/23/2023 1:54 pm

Trade up and get top DE/DT

DenverDonkeyHater
02/23/2023 12:33 pm

I’d cut clark and resign him to an incentive laden contract. Dead money is what it is. Basically our new Ingram or Dunlop.

I think Edge should be top of our draft list still.

upamtn
02/23/2023 11:15 am

re-structure Mahomes yes, if warranted and needed

Frank Clark ain’t worth whatever $$$ he’s been getting … a cut clears out $20M … draft his replacement

Tag Brown if needed and still need to draft an OT (remember too gonna need to draft OG to replace Thuney)

Thornhill bring back if at a very good price

Beuchele bring back absolutely

Re-sign Juju & Hardman if possible and it doesn’t kill too much cap space (Hardman should be the more cost-effective)

as for RT: Wylie’s been good and at times very good … either way, gonna need to draft OT (see above)

Draft BPA that’s pretty much a given, one would think

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vis-a-vis trading up in first round of draft: that’s gonna be pricey …

https://walterfootball.com/draftchart.php

as of now, what KC has the most of are lower, later picks: 6th and 7th round picks that have very little value in terms of “trading up” in the 1st … if BV can find a team willing to trade DOWN just to get more back-end picks that would be wonderful, but I’d imagine he’s thinking maybe trade up in 2nd or 3rd rounds for BPA-type

upamtn
Reply to  Tony Sommer
02/23/2023 12:41 pm

this^^^ is where the REAL “value” is IMO … and BV is the best when it comes to “value picks”

Slayer0810
Reply to  upamtn
02/23/2023 12:33 pm

Tag-and-trade OBJ and trade CEH. Doubt we can get a 1st, but maybe a 2nd/3rd for OBJ and a 4th/5th for CEH. Use those picks, #31, and some of the remaining later-round picks to try to get in the early teens and draft a potential franchise LT.

The way I see it, Brown and Wylie were the two worst tackles in the league at allowing pressures, but Mahomes is the best in the league (by a lot!) at keeping pressures from turning into sacks. I just can’t imagine that a rookie T is likely to be significantly worse than those two were all year long, and playing with Mahomes helps the OL because he isn’t taking unnecessary sacks (*cough, cough* Joe Burrow). And if we either sign a FA RT or Niang is ready to step up, we can finally have the offensive line that we deserve after building a top IOL over the last few years.

upamtn
Reply to  Slayer0810
02/23/2023 12:49 pm

Brown improved by a lot the last half of the season … tag him for sure, but would need to get something VERY good in return if they do a tag/trade (and FWIW: both Brown AND Wylie kicked some serious butts in the SB and even before that)

can’t count on Niang nor can one count on a rookie OT (personally I’m hoping Kinnard pans out at either OG or OT, but who knows) and most FA’s are gonna be as pricy as Brown (a known commodity who, again, did show improvement as the season progressed)

wondering and maybe Tony can crunch some numbers or find already crunched numbers) if Reid at some point “changed the blocking scheme” from basic Pass Pro to basic Run Block last part of the season: Pacheco’s numbers went up dramatically and the # of Mahomes sacks went down dramatically … and look how it all ended up in the SB … PANCAKES FOR BREAKFAST! (just thinkin’ out loud here)

Slayer0810
Reply to  upamtn
02/23/2023 3:26 pm

I’m not sure I see the improvement over the season, but I’m concerned about pressures allowed far more than sacks. There’s no doubt both tackles had a good Super Bowl, but the average tackle this year gave up 1.88 pressures per game. Over the 20 games that KC played, this average would add up to 37.6 pressures allowed. OBJ allowed 58 pressures and Wylie allowed 54 pressures. (For your argument, in weeks 1-9, Brown allowed +14.9 sacks more than the average and Wylie allowed +12.9 sacks more than the average. Looking at week 10 and on was better but still pretty bad. Brown allowed +5.4 sacks more than the average, and Wylie allowed +3.4 more than the average. Extrapolate the per-game average pressures allowed in the second half of the season to an entire season, and Brown is #3 in pressures allowed with 46.7 while Wylie is #6 with 43.3. Still not good enough when you want to consistently be the best passing team in football.) When I look at the distribution of pressures, while the overall numbers are better in the second half of the season, they’re still not good and they’re horribly inconsistent. Brown’s worst game of the season (or, at least, one of two) was the conference championship game. It’s also interesting to see that both tackles struggled mightily against Buffalo and Tennessee. Brown’s pressures allowed, most to least: 7 pressures – Buffalo (week 6) and Cincinnati (conference championship) 6 pressures – Tennessee (week 9) 5 pressures – Arizona (week 1) 4 pressures – Tampa Bay (week 4) and Cincinnati (week 13) 3 pressures – Jacksonville (week 10) and Houston (week 15) 2 pressures – Chargers (week 2), Indianapolis (week 3), Raiders (week 5), 49ers (week 7), Chargers (week 11), Broncos (week 17), Raiders (week 18), Jacksonville (divisional round), and Philadelphia (Super Bowl) 1 pressure – Broncos (week 14) 0 pressures – Rams (week 12) and Seattle (week 16) Wylie’s pressures allowed, most to least: 9 pressures – Buffalo (week 6) 8 pressures – Tennessee (week 9) 4 pressures – Raiders (week 5) and Houston (week 15)… Read more »

Nasrani
Reply to  Slayer0810
02/23/2023 3:56 pm

While an upgrade is needed, how much of those pressures are on the O-Linemen in question and how many were just defenders beating them?

NovaChiefs
Reply to  Slayer0810
02/23/2023 5:13 pm

This could be s core of an interesting article. Just sayin…

upamtn
Reply to  Slayer0810
02/23/2023 5:32 pm

terrific research and stats, thank you and well done

except for Brown during the CIN AFCCG he was far better last half of season … (both had issues with BUF and TEN as you noted) …I suppose looking at this one could go in two directions of thinking: neither Wylie nor Brown is “elite” or that both Wylie and Brown stepped up their games last half of the season (AFCCG for Brown being a statistical outlier)

given that Brown wants a massive amount of $$$ long-term, it might be best to (again) use the tag while drafting a (possible) replacement … Wylie should be about $5M for 2023, not all that expensive given how much some players make

BRaG would have you consider the “overall trend” in the reduced number of pressures as the season wore on (and the stats do bear that out as a “trend”) … is that because the entire O-Line simply worked better together as a whole by the end of the season? maybe …

yes, both had terrible, horrible, not-very-good games against both BUF & TEN and that in itself might reason enough to dismiss those games as outliers … toss out “the worst of the worst” and between them they were at least average and perhaps better than average overall (certainly later in the year)

ultimately, whatever BV decides is ok by me, and it’s always a yearly matter of churning the roster from the bottom up, finding new backups (and, if needed, new starters) … we’ll see how it goes

KCChef
Reply to  upamtn
02/23/2023 10:03 pm

Uhhh … IIRC … Both were ranked Dead Last 2/3rds of the way through the Season … : (

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