The Kansas City Chiefs are Super Bowl champs, but soon work begins to try to repeat and create a dynasty. Let’s look at an offseason snapshot.
The Kansas City Chiefs have their second Super Bowl title in four years, winning two of three in the big game in that span. For Patrick Mahomes, he’s now entering rarified air. The same goes for head coach Andy Reid, and Travis Kelce continues to put up phenomenal postseason numbers.
This team isn’t going anywhere after a strong performance from Mahomes, the running game, a dominant interior offensive line trio, a young defense with studs like Nick Bolton, and one of the best in the game at tight end (Kelce) and defensive tackle (Chris Jones).
Kansas City Chiefs Offseason Guide
But, to potentially go back-to-back or win a ring in the next few seasons, it will take more maneuvering and reloading from GM Brett Veach and the front office. Veach crushed the 2022 NFL Draft, and he might have to do it again. There are also several free agents to worry about, and while the Chiefs currently sit $11 million under the cap, some players will command a hefty amount.
Let’s look at an early offseason preview for the Kansas City Chiefs, with free agents, draft picks, and more.
RB Jerick McKinnon
WR JuJu Smith-Schuster
WR Mecole Hardman
WR Justin Watson
OT Orlando Brown
OT Andrew Wylie
DT Khalen Saunders
DT Derrick Nnadi
DE Carlos Dunlap
SAF Juan Thornhill
Big decisions have to be made for Kansas City up front. With both starting tackles in Orlando Brown and Andrew Wylie sitting as free agents, it’ll be interesting to see if either is back. Brown had a big offer on the table from the Chiefs back in the summer, but opted to play in order to get a bigger deal. His regular season wasn’t the best, but he blanked the Eagles rushers in the Super Bowl, along with allowing no sacks all postseason. That big stage recency bias could drive up his AAV. Wylie did the same of course, but he’ll likely be the easier of the two to get back.
On the flip side, Carlos Dunlap meant a good deal to the Chiefs defensive line. He could come back on a team-friendly number, and the Chiefs should look into that. Khalen Saunders and Derrick Nnadi were important depth pieces along the defensive line.
Juan Thornhill has been a quality starter, playing a versatile game with Kansas City all these years. His range, athleticism, and opportunistic playmaking skills will be coveted around the league.
Kansas City tried to recreate Tyreek Hill in the aggregate, and it worked to a degree. One of the major contributors to that was JuJu Smith-Schuster, who probably won’t be back due to how young he is and the deal he’ll command. Mecole Hardman has speed, but he’s probably just redundancy in the offense at this point. Justin Watson could get brought back, as his importance as a blocker when the Chiefs get into 13 personnel looks is understated.
2023 NFL Draft Picks
Round 1 (31), Round 2 (63), Round 3 (95), Round 4 (134), Round 5 (168), Round 6 (197, 217*, 219*), Round 7 (227, 251, 258*)
*Projected Compensatory Selections
Early Draft Needs
With so much potentially leaving the defensive and offensive lines, that’s where the Kansas City Chiefs will likely look early in the 2023 NFL Draft, pending free agency results. Pick 31 will give them an opportunity to reload any of the positions with a quality player.
Oklahoma’s Anton Harrison could step in as the next left tackle, as he plays with an edge, uprooting defensive ends in the run game and possessing the foot speed and powerful hands in pass protection. If they want to go the right tackle route, Dawand Jones is the big riser in the draft process right now, and had a heck of a day at the Senior Bowl on the first day of practice. Jones has improved his balance and quick feet in pass protection. Darnell Wright is another powerful right tackle with great grip strength and the ability to snatch at will.
On the defensive side, Mazi Smith should jump up boards after a strong combine. He was high on Bruce Feldman’s freak list, and could sneak his way into the first round. His power at the point of attack as a run defender is impressive, and he has the functional athleticism to develop pass rushing upside. Keeanu Benton is not the nose tackle type that Smith is, but Benton is an interior penetrator as a three technique who can get after the quarterback.
If they look edge, there should be plenty of players to watch for. Isaiah Foskey is brimming with potential, and already has a strong floor as a run defender. His cross chop is a nice go-to move, and his athleticism suggests there’s more to unlock. If they want a pure pass rusher, guys like Andre Carter, Will McDonald, and B.J. Ojulari could all help out.
Running back won’t be an early selection, but with Jerick McKinnon hitting free agency, it could happen in April. If Bijan Robinson is available, look out NFL. Otherwise, pass catching backs like Devon Achane (who has strong vision and speed as well) and Deuce Vaughn would be complimentary to Isaih Pachecho’s skill set.
Wide receiver is a fun position to watch for in Kansas City. They have Marquez Valdes-Scantling as the deep threat, Skyy Moore as the short/intermediate route running separator, and Kadarius Toney as their space/YAC player. If Watson doesn’t come back, a big “X” type like Cedric Tillman or A.T. Perry would fill out the basketball team build in the room.
Bonus Position To Watch: Tight End
The NFL Draft is nothing if not a BPA world. The Kansas City Chiefs have three tight ends they use a lot, but the chance to upgrade might be too good to pass up at pick 31. Imagine if, somehow, Michael Mayer gets to this pick. They add a great inline player with the versatility to split out into the slot or work out wide.
Dalton Kincaid is another who has shown the ability to hold up as a blocker, but his rare quicks, route running prowess, reliable hands, and body control offer an heir apparent to Kelce. Luke Musgrave is in that department as well as a height/weight/speed tight end.
It’s going to be an interesting offseason for the Kansas City Chiefs, especially in the trenches. Can they keep the five offensive linemen together? Or will it require a quick rebuild like wide receiver last year? If Brett Veach can do what he did in 2022, watch out.