KANSAS CITY, Mo. – The Chiefs had been so assured of their Tremendous Bowl-winning roster from the 2019 season that they did all the things they might to carry it again intact, signing quarterback Patrick Mahomes and defensive deal with Chris Jones to large offers and remodeling different contracts to make the numbers match within the wage cap.
It nearly labored, too. The Chiefs made it again to the massive sport earlier than accidents alongside the offensive line, psychological errors and a near-perfect efficiency by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers ended their season one win in need of a repeat.
Now, the Chiefs must take a a lot totally different tact in the event that they need to make their third consecutive Tremendous Bowl.
Whereas their core group is signed for the following a number of years, the Chiefs have a raft of essential contributors which might be as a result of hit free company. That features large receivers Sammy Watkins and Demarcus Robinson and 4 of the 5 offensive linemen that began within the Tremendous Bowl. In addition to the protection, together with eight gamers that had been regulars or starters this previous season.
“Like all groups, we’ll get busy right here happening the street,” Chiefs coach Andy Reid stated Monday. “We’ll nonetheless have a superb core of gamers coming again. We’ll have some additions. No group stays in the identical in at the moment’s NFL.”
It was clear in a 31-9 romp by the Buccaneers that the established order most likely would not work anyway.
The Chiefs managed to cover their many shortcomings whereas successful a franchise-record 14 regular-season video games after which beating Cleveland and Buffalo within the playoffs. However these points had been on stark show Sunday night time: a makeshift offensive line pounded by the Tampa Bay move rush, their very own move rush by no means getting strain on Tom Brady, their secondary struggling in opposition to the Bucs large receivers and their linebackers continually out of place or gradual to make performs.
“Yearly is totally different due to your cap scenario and what you may have and what you want,” Chiefs common supervisor Brett Veach stated. “We at all times have a pair totally different street maps to get the place we need to be. We’ll have some robust selections to make making an attempt to maintain as many gamers on this group intact. Yearly is totally different. Yearly is exclusive.”
BIG NAMES, BIG HOLES
Mahomes can have large receiver Tyreek Hill, tight finish Travis Kelce and operating again Clyde Edwards-Helaire at his disposal subsequent season. However the huge names are surrounded by some huge holes that Kansas Metropolis must fill.
Watkins solely had 28 catches for 421 yards and two touchdowns throughout one other injury-filled season, and Robinson slowly misplaced taking part in time to Byron Pringle, who’s a restricted free agent. That leaves Mecole Hardman, who has loads of limitations as a large receiver, as the one viable No. 3 pass-catcher heading into subsequent season.
Offensive linemen Mike Remmers, Stefan Wisniewski and Andrew Wylie had been purported to be backups, however every performed within the Tremendous Bowl due to accidents. Now, all three are free brokers together with middle Austin Reiter.
The explanation that Brady dominated the Chiefs protection within the Tremendous Bowl was twofold: their incapability to generate move rush — he was pressured 4 occasions on 30 drops in comparison with 29 pressures on 56 drops for Mahomes — and shortcomings among the many cornerbacks when it got here to protecting deep downfield.
That leaves the Chiefs looking for upgrades to edge rushers Alex Okafor, Tanoh Kpassagnon and Taco Charlton whereas additionally having to exchange fellow free-agent defensive backs Bashaud Breeland, Charvarius Ward and Daniel Sorensen.
The Chiefs are practically $12 million over the wage cap headed into subsequent season, and no one is aware of fairly what the 2021 cap shall be given the COVID-19 pandemic that affected the league’s backside line. In different phrases, they are going to seemingly want to remodel a number of contracts or reduce some big-name gamers to avoid wasting cash for subsequent season.
Left deal with Eric Fisher, who tore his Achilles tendon within the AFC title sport and should not even be prepared for subsequent season, could be an apparent selection; reducing him forward of the ultimate yr of his contract would save about $12 million in cap area and value solely $3.1 million in useless cash.
The Chiefs ought to get some assist from guys that had been injured or opted out of this previous season. That features left guard Laurent Duvernay-Tardif, the educated doctor who opted out to assist COVID-19 sufferers in his native Canada, and third-round decide Lucas Niang, who additionally opted out. Each of their losses had been sorely felt within the Tremendous Bowl.
Proper deal with Mitchell Schwartz additionally must be again from a again damage that ended his season, whereas operating again Damien Williams is anticipated again after his opt-out — although reducing him would save about $2.2 million in cap area.
The Chiefs will draft late in every spherical, they usually additionally traded away their sixth-round decide, placing the strain on Veach and his workers to unearth some missed gems that may plug a few of their holes at comparatively low prices.
They did a superb job final yr: Second-round decide Willie Homosexual Jr. developed right into a stable linebacker, fourth-round decide L’Jarius Sneed was simply their greatest cornerback and fifth-round decide Mike Danna offered some good depth on the defensive position.
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