What the Chiefs need to do this offseason

Chiefs offseason

MARCH 2016 – As we prepare ourselves for the upcoming baseball season and wondering if the Kansas City Royals can defend their World Series championship, the Kansas City Chiefs are actively planning for the upcoming NFL draft at the end of April.

Clark Hunt and John Dorsey look to have their hands full as several key Chiefs are free agents.

It was a great ride in 2015 as the Chiefs finally got a playoff win, only to watch division rival Peyton Manning and the Broncos go all the way to the Super Bowl and bring Denver home the Lombardi Trophy.

Sure, the Broncos almost certainly will be without Manning next season, but their stifling defense is what brought them the championship.

You can call it a successful year for the Chiefs.  Whenever a team exceeds expectations and makes the playoffs, you have to applaud the achievement.  And picking up the first Chiefs’ playoff victory since Joe Montana added frosting to the cake.

Heck, the 2014 Royals got further than anyone could imagine and won it all the next year. Although I’m not sure I see that in the cards for the Chiefs in 2016, the opportunity is there.

The Chiefs free agent list includes Tamba Hali, Eric Berry, Derrick Johnson, Chase Daniel, Sean Smith, Mike DeVito and Jeff Allen.

The NFL makes signing free agents interesting by having it a couple weeks after the draft.  The big questions are: Who should the Chiefs re-sign and for what price? What areas do they need to address in the draft? What free agents should the Chiefs go after?

The Chiefs have had good luck and no luck in previous drafts.

Marcus Peters was phenomenal last year for a rookie, but the Chiefs have not always been that fortunate in the draft.

A high draft pick or picks that would contribute mightily in 2016 would be welcome. Coming off last year’s success, the Chiefs need to go for it all in 2016. The future is now.

The AFC West ought to be wide open up in 2016 and the Chiefs should contend for the division title.

What should we do in the off-season to ensure a playoff caliber team, one capable of making a lengthy postseason run? We have room under the salary cap (around 30 million), so playing the armchair general manager, I would do the following:

  1. Bring back Berry and DJ.  Hali would probably be the odd man out, but Dee Ford is waiting to step in. With some other voids, we can’t afford to bring all three back.  Berry is young and DJ is a year older than Tamba; focusing on these two core defensive players allows us to build around it.
  2. Andy Reid promoted Brad Childress and Matt Nagy to co-offensive coordinators, replacing Doug Pederson, yet Reid insists he will still call the shots. Let the coordinators do the play calling.
  3. KC needs to look at a solid replacement long-term for Jamaal Charles.  Charcandrick West, Spencer Ware and Knile Davis have been adequate fill-ins with Charles injured, but KC needs to look for a future running back to handle the carries that Charles once had. The draft might be a nice option in the second or third rounds.
  4. Look at getting another wide receiver in free agency.  There is a ton of talent out there that would complement Jeremy Maclin and provide us with additional arsenal for quarterback Alex Smith to target.  Jermaine Kearse, James Jones and Percy Harvin are some solid free agent options. Kearse has said he won’t give Seattle a hometown discount.
  5. Quarterback acquisition. Smith had another good year, but I don’t see him being the go-to QB to win January postseason games.  Chase Daniel is probably gone, so draft or acquire a QB who may end up replacing Smith in the near future. I would certainly take a chance on Robert Griffin, the former Heisman winning quarterback from Baylor who was released by the Redskins. Please, do not bring back Matt Cassel. Pretty please.
  6. Offensive line help.  Protecting the quarterback and opening holes for our running game is so crucial for our offensive game plan. Consider drafting guard/tackle Cody Whitehair, who started 50 games at Kansas State and was a four-time Big 12 selection.

There are some major questions that the Chiefs’ front office will have answers to in the next few months. But with the Chiefs winning double-figure games last year after a horrid start, expectations have heightened. And it’s all about timing in the NFL. Let’s hope we take the ball and run with it in 2016, ending in the 2017 Super Bowl.

Article by James Peuster. Visit his website jpegsports.com.

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