After a heartbreaking loss to the Tennessee Titans, the Kansas City Chiefs made some changes. They promoted running backs coach Eric Bieniemy to offensive coordinator replacing the departing Matt Nagy. The major roster move came when the Chiefs agreed to a trade that would send Alex Smith to the Washington Redskins for Kendall Fuller and a third round pick. The trade can’t be finalized until March 14th when the league year begins. With Smith gone, it means Patrick Mahomes will be the gunslinger for the Kansas City Chiefs moving forward.
On February 13th, the Chiefs announced that Derrick Johnson would become a free agent, ending his 13-year career in Kansas City. During his 13 years in KC, Johnson became the Chiefs all-time leading tackler with 1,262 tackles, 27.5 career sacks, and 14 interceptions, being named to the Pro Bowl four times.
On Friday, the Chiefs and Rams worked out a deal that the Chiefs would send Marcus Peters to Rams. The full terms of the proposed trade between Rams and Chiefs are still being discussed will not be revealed until the start of the new league year on March 14th.
So with all of these moving parts, what’s next for the AFC West champions? These three moves could be key heading into 2018 where the Chiefs will be looking to defend their division title.
Finding another receiver to accommodate Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce at would be beneficial in 2018. The Chiefs do have some good options on the team currently with Albert Wilson, DeMarcus Robinson who showed flashes last year, and Chris Conley who is coming off a torn Achilles that caused him to miss the whole 2017 season. If the Chiefs decide to go outside of the organization, there are a few guys out there that could help them and would break the bank.
Sammy Watkins spent last year with LA Rams as he had 593 yards and eight touchdowns. The key to Watkins productivity is staying healthy. Marqise Lee had 53 catches for 702 yards and three touchdowns and could be a nice fit on the opposite side of Hill. Finally, Eric Decker is a 31-year old who had 54 catches, 563 yards, and one touchdown. He did catch the game winning touchdown for the Titans in their win over the Chiefs in the Wild Card round.
The offensive line will need to be rock solid next season protecting Mahomes. The Chiefs are have strength at the tackle position with former first overall pick Eric Fisher at left tackleand veteran Mitchell Schwartz at right tackle. The center position is back to being a strong point for the Chiefs with the return on Mitch Morse who is returning from injury. The biggest need for the Chiefs to insure the offensive line is rock solid would be an upgrade at left guard. The right guard position is set with Laurent Duverany-Tariff manning that spot.
Here are few names the Chiefs could go after in free agency to shore up the left guard position. Jack Mewhort considered around the NFL as one of the best young guards. He has been injury prone, only playing one full season in the NFL. He still would be a upgrade at left guard for the Chiefs. Andrew Norwell from the Carolina Panthers continues to improve year-by-year in the NFL. If the Chiefs go the veteran route, they could look at Josh Sittonfrom Chicago or Jahri Evans from the Green Bay Packers. Both players are over the age of thirty, but when both are healthy they are two dominating guards.
Defensively, the Chiefs did add Fuller to help the corner position next season, but the trade of Peters puts a hole on the other side. The Chiefs could have Steven Nelson or Terrance Mitchell step into that position. Philip Gaines is a free agent and could possibly re-sign with the Chiefs. If Chiefs wanted to go out and get a free agent corner here are a few names that could be on their radar.
Trumaine Johnson is a talented corner coming off his worse season in the NFL. He could benefit from a change of scenery. Prince Amukamara is a very talented corner whose biggest issue is his health. The final free agent is Malcolm Butler, the Super Bowl 49 hero. After a fall out with the Patriots organization, Butler hits the free agent market and will be the top corner on the market. If the Chiefs are going to wrestle this guy away from other NFL teams, they would have to open the check book up and pay him top corner money.
All in all, the Chiefs still have pieces in place with Kareem Hunt, Hill, and Kelce on offense. Chris Jones and Bennie Logan are two free agent the Chiefs need to bring back in 2018. Justin Houston, Reggie Ragland, and the return of their emotional leader Eric Berry will all be back on defense. General manager Brett Veach and head coach Andy Reid will do the best to put the best team on the field in 2018. A good mix of youth and veterans will be helpful for the Chiefs to defend their division crown.