Feb. 07, 2019
3 Things the Kansas City Chiefs must do this offseason
The Chiefs are currently the favorites to win next year’s Super Bowl, due mostly to the fact that they have the most exciting superstar quarterback in the last decade (at least) on their roster. The team has some very solid building blocks in Patrick Mahomes, Travis Kelce, Tyreek Hill, Chris Jones, and Kendall Fuller. This offseason the emphasis should be solely on the defense, as Andy Reid’s offense moved the ball at will for most of the season while the defense turned blowouts into shootouts. The team is expected to have just over 40 million in cap room to play with this offseason, a direct benefit of having three of their stars still on rookie contracts. With that said let’s get started on the 3 things the Chiefs need to do this offseason.
Sign RB Jay Ajayi
Okay so you know how I said the Chiefs offseason should be solely focused on defense? Well here’s the caveat. After releasing Kareem Hunt the team turned running back duties over to Spencer Ware who looked like a fullback masquerading as a running back far too often. Soon Damian Williams began to take the majority of snaps as lead back, and to his credit he had some really good performances and looks like a keeper for the Chiefs. Now imagine the pairing of Williams the explosive receiving back with a knack for tearing off long runs, with Ajayi, a rumbling power back who could really help in the red zone. It’s a match made in heaven, and while neither Ajayi nor Williams are as complete a player as Hunt was, their talents in tandem could be terrifying for the rest of the AFC. We just saw the Patriots win a sixth Super Bowl behind the strength of a running back committee that sometimes ran as deep as five players. The Eagles last year won the Super Bowl behind a strong committee of backs, and the Broncos won the Super Bowl (sandwiched in between two Patriot wins in 2016 and 2014) behind the duo of C.J Anderson and Ronnie Hillman. You need more than one good back in today’s league to win the Lombardi trophy, and it would not surprise me to see the chiefs bring in Ajayi as well as another running back in the draft (maybe Memphis’s Darrell Henderson or Stanford’s Bryce Love).
Draft the best cornerback available in round 1
Whether that player is Washington’s Byron Murphy, Penn State’s Amani Oruwariye, Georgia’s Deandre Baker, or even Temple’s Rock Ya-Sin, the Chiefs need to get better at the position in this draft after trading away Marcus Peters prior to the 2018 season. Aside from Kendall Fuller the team has no viable starting NFL corners on the roster as Steven Nelson and Orlando Scandrick should be let go of, and Eric Murray is at his absolute best a third corner on a bad defense. Kansas City would be lucky to have Murphy or Baker fall into their laps as both players are excellent in coverage despite being undersized, and they both play with the toughness and swagger that the best corners in the league possess. If they don’t draft a corner at pick 29 (or trade up to select one) the team should at least consider sticking with the defensive back route by taking one of the best safeties in the draft (Alabama’s Deionte Thompson, Delaware’s Nasir Adderley, or Washington’s Taylor Rapp).
Resign Dee Ford to a reasonable contract, look into Jadeveon Clowney as a backup plan
Dee Ford was excellent this season as he accumulated 13 sacks and earned a grade of 87.7 from Pro Football Focus, a performance worthy of a huge contract. The only problem with Ford is that he had just 17.5 sacks in his previous four years combined, on a defense where his only job was to rush the passer. The Chiefs should absolutely consider resigning Ford, and should not be afraid to pay the man, as Ford and Chris Jones sneakily were the best pass rushing duo in the league with a combined 28.5 sacks between them. However, they will be wondering whether they are getting the Dee Ford from 2014-2017 or the Dee Ford from his 2018 contract year. While the Chiefs have the cap room they should do their best to keep Ford around as losing him just exacerbates the endless defensive needs. The only scenario where it would be okay to let Ford walk would be one in which the team truly believes that it can sign Ford’s fellow 2019 free agent class member Jadeveon Clowney to a less expensive contract on the open market. Clowney, the former first overall pick, has had some injury issues in his career but at full health has proved to be an absolute nightmare alongside J.J Watt in Houston. Pairing him with Chris Jones would be devastating for the rest of the AFC West. If the Chiefs truly intend to go “full hog” on the season, they could explore the possibility of signing both Clowney and Ford, making Steve Spagnuolo's pass rush easily the best in the league.
All stats and numbers from Pro Football Focus and Pro Football Reference