It's tough to be overly critical of the Kansas City Chiefs, especially after the three-year run they have been on since Patrick Mahomes took over as the starting quarterback. In that three-year span, the Chiefs have made it to three straight AFC Championship games and two Super Bowls with one Super Bowl win. Even through all of this success, one could argue that the Chiefs can still get better, and as they continue to build around Mahomes, this team will be even harder to defeat.
This year’s Super Bowl loss was perfect evidence that this team does have plenty of room to improve—and if they do, the rest of the league won’t have much of a shot if we are being honest. Throughout the season it was clear that this year’s offensive line was not as strong as it was in years past. The Chiefs struggled in both run blocking and pass protection and were getting bullied up front. This lack of consistent play (and injuries) along the offensive line was a direct reason why the Chiefs lost in the Super Bowl against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Even with the struggles of the offensive line, Mahomes and Co. still were one of the best offenses in the NFL, finishing first in yards per game and sixth in points per game. With several high-paid veterans on this Chiefs roster, including Mahomes and defensive tackle Chris Jones, who both received big contract extensions last offseason, the Chiefs are currently 29th in overall cap space heading into the start of free agency. The team also has decisions to make regarding some key free agents including Sammy Watkins, Kelechi Osemele, and Charvarius Ward, so it will be tough for the team to be super active in free agency. That being said, there will still be enough money available for the team to add some veteran help in free agency to improve this team and continue to maximize Mahomes’ prime.
Here are three offensive free agents the Chiefs could look to sign this offseason.
Alejandro Villanueva, OT, Pittsburgh Steelers
As previously mentioned, the Chiefs need to get better along the offensive line. The unit was hit extremely hard with injuries last season and was playing with third-stringers in the Super Bowl because they had experienced so much attrition. The good news for the Chiefs is that right tackle Mitchell Schwartz should be ready to go for the start of training camp after missing half the season with a back injury. The bad news, however, is that left tackle Eric Fisher won’t be ready for the start of the season as he continues to rehab an Achilles injury he suffered in the AFC Championship Game. Now, the reality here is that both players aren’t even assured to be back with the team next season, as they both carry high cap numbers and the team could look to get out of those contracts. That being said, the Chiefs will need tackles up front to protect Mahomes, and will undoubtedly add talent to that position either through the draft or free agency.
If they go the free agent approach, the Chiefs could look to add veteran Alejandro Villanueva, who could be on his way out of Pittsburgh. Villanueva has been one of the best left tackles in football over the last three to four seasons, but saw his play decline last year and the Steelers may look to get younger at that position. Villanueva can still play, and even though he had a down year, he certainly wasn’t a liability. He could be a veteran presence at left tackle that can serve as a short-term fix as the Chiefs look to compete for another Super Bowl next season.
T.Y. Hilton, WR, Indianapolis Colts
The Chiefs appear likely to lose Watkins this offseason as he will be testing the free agent market as an unrestricted free agent. Demarcus Robinson is also an unrestricted free agent and could see a bigger payday if he leaves Kansas City. The team will need to find a dependable No. 2 option opposite Tyreek Hill, as it is still unclear if Mecole Hardman will develop into a consistent option for that role. Whether or not Hardman takes that next step, it is clear this team needs to add more talent at the receiver position.
T.Y. Hilton could make a lot of sense as a veteran receiver who may be willing to take a pay cut in order to have the opportunity to play with Mahomes and compete for a Super Bowl. Hilton is coming off a solid year playing with future Hall of Fame quarterback Philip Rivers; however, it was clear that Rivers' dink-and-dunk horizontal passing style didn't necessarily fit with what Hilton does best. Hilton’s strengths are his speed and ability to win down the field, and Rivers' lack of arm strength hindered that last season. That obviously won’t be the case with Mahomes and the Chiefs.
Jon Feliciano, G, Buffalo Bills
Kansas City needs more depth at just about every position along the offensive line, especially at guard. Osemele was having a good season for the Chiefs last season before going down with a serious knee injury halfway through the year. Osemele is a free agent heading into the offseason, and it is highly unlikely that he will be brought back. The team is set to return Andrew Wylie, Nick Allegretti, and should have Laurent Duvernay-Tardif back in the fold after he opted out of the season due to COVID-19. Having Duvernay-Tardiff back is huge, as he was the Chiefs' best interior offensive lineman the year they won the Super Bowl in 2020, but they can still stand to improve at the other guard spot.
Feliciano would be a very solid addition to the Chiefs if he is not ultimately brought back by Buffalo. He played well at guard for the Bills last season and can bring toughness, competitiveness, and versatility to the Chiefs' offensive line.
- Jun 24, 2022
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