Analysis

Kansas City Chiefs Free Agency Outlook

Kansas City Chiefs Free Agency Preview

The Kansas City Chiefs have made it to every single AFC Championship Game since the 2018 season, but this has only resulted in one Super Bowl Championship. Andy Reid and Co. had a chance to get their revenge from their Super Bowl LV loss at the hands of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers until they met up with Joe Burrow and the upstart Cincinnati Bengals. It appeared that the Chiefs were on their way to their third-straight Super Bowl appearance until the Bengals mounted an 18-point comeback victory in overtime.

After coming up short of the Super Bowl title with Patrick Mahomes under center, the Chiefs now have many questions to answer, especially with an extensive list of free agents that includes a number of key contributors. With Orlando Brown Jr. receiving he franchise tag, the Chiefs can now work on their other free agents in order to figure out a way to get back to the top in what is looking like a tough AFC for the 2022 season. 

Impending Free Agents:

  • S Tyrann Mathieu
  • IDL Jarran Reed
  • EDGE Melvin Ingram
  • RT Mike Remmers
  • CB Mike Hughes
  • S Daniel Sorensen
  • WR Byron Pringle
  • QB Chad Henne
  • RB Darrel Williams
  • LB Ben Niemann
  • RG Kyle Long
  • TE Blake Bell
  • WR Demarcus Robinson
  • EDGE Alex Okafor
  • RB Jerick McKinnon
  • C Austin Blythe
  • FB Michael Burton
  • IDL Derrick Nnadi
  • WR Marcus Kemp
  • LB Dorian O’Daniel
  • S Armani Watts
  • LB Anthony Hitchens (SFA)
  • CB Deandre Baker (ERFA)
  • RB Derrick Gore (ERFA)
  • WR Jody Fortson (ERFA)
  • CB Chris Lammons (RFA)

While the Chiefs had their fair share of struggles during the middle of the season, the Chiefs turned it on after their Week 7 loss to the Titans on the defensive side of the ball. On their list of free agents there are a wide number of key defensive players who Kansas City could possibly lose to other AFC contenders.

The most notable one is safety Tyrann Mathieu, but there are others like cornerbacks Charvarius Ward and Mike Hughes, edge rusher Melvin Ingram, and safety Daniel Sorensen who the Chiefs will have to make tough decisions on. They’ll also have a number of key depth players on the offensive side of the ball set to hit free agency, such as running backs Darrel Williams and Derrick Gore and wide receivers Byron Pringle and Demarcus Robinson. Even though these players may be overshadowed by their offensive counterparts they are still players that the Chiefs need to re-sign or replace.

Franchise Tag:

  • Franchise Tag Used on Orlando Brown Jr.

The Chiefs manage to keep an important piece of their offensive line for at least the 2022 season after they elected to use their exclusive franchise tag on left tackle Orlando Brown Jr, one year after trading their first-round pick to the Ravens to acquire him. Kansas City saw their offensive line improve immensely from the 2020 season after adding Brown and others, so it was essential to make sure they promote continuity among this unit. Now, the Chiefs can focus on signing Brown to a long-term extension without the chance for him to move on to another team. 

Top Team Needs:

  1. Cornerback
  2. Wide Receiver Depth
  3. EDGE
  4. Running Back Depth

With such a long list of free agents, the Chiefs find themselves with a number of big needs, especially on the defensive side of the ball. The first position that comes to mind is the safety position, where Tyrann Mathieu and Daniel Sorensen could both move on as reports have speculated for the former player. They also see two key members of their cornerback room potentially leave.

Behind Tyreek Hill, the Chiefs have had a number of different players at the wide receiver position, but many of them have been inconsistent to say the least in helping to take some of the pressure off of Hill and star tight end Travis Kelce. Even with Byron Pringle and Demarcus Robinson slated to hit free agency, theycould look to bring on a more veteran presence to help Hill out more than this most recent supporting cast. At EDGE, the Chiefs have struggled to fill the shoes of Dee Ford since he was traded to San Francisco. Frank Clark had a nice year in 2019, but he has been on the decline ever since. 

Kansas City could also see two of their backup running backs leave, and this comes after a year where former first-round pick Clyde Edwards-Helaire struggled to stay healthy. Jerick McKinnon and Darrel Williams both played huge roles in helping the Chiefs get to the AFC Championship game after the Chiefs looked dead in the water on the offensive side of the ball. Depth for Edwards-Helaire could be very crucial, especially if he is unable to stay healthy this upcoming season.