Kansas City Chiefs cornerback Bashaud Breeland

Kansas City Chiefs: Top 2020 off-season needs to address

  • Kansas City Chiefs
  • nfl free agency
By Mike Brez February 28, 2020 0 Comment
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The Kansas City Chiefs are Super Bowl champions, but in order to make another run in 2020, there are positions that need addressing over the off-season.

The 2019 season has come to a close, but not before the Kansas City Chiefs claimed Super Bowl champions. Despite the injuries piling up against them throughout the year, the team was able to overcome and capitalize on what they barely missed out on just one season prior. To remain one of the top teams in Super Bowl conversations, they must continue building their roster with young talent who can contribute early on.

General manager Brett Veach nailed the 2019 NFL Draft with selections including Mecole Hardman, Juan Thornhill, Khalen Saunders, and Reshad Fenton, who all contributed in prominent roles. Darwin Thompson saw limited carries his rookie year, but there is potential for him to take a significant step forward in year two. Nick Allegretti could be the only player that didn’t see a considerable amount of snaps in 2019 but could be the developmental center the team is grooming for the near future.

Kansas City has done an excellent job of building through the draft, keeping a good mixture of building through the draft and signing key free agents. Of course, not every signing or draft pick is going to turn out as expected, but this past off-season was rare. Under a massive overhaul in both starting and rotational roles, Veach supplied the new coaching staff with the talent it needed. From liability to a group that could carry the offense from time to time.

Given the number of Chiefs players that are hitting free agency, Veach is once again going to need to work his magic. There are several areas in need of improvement, while other areas will need to replace due to players leaving to play elsewhere.

Interior Offensive Line

After Mitch Morse signed a deal with the Buffalo Bills, Austin Reiter took over coming back from injury. He showed some promise in the few games he played in 2018, but much of 2019 was a struggle. Laurent Duvernay-Tardif was another player returning from injury, but he wasn’t the player we had seen over the last few years. Andrew Wylie moved to left guard after starting 2018 at right guard in LDT’s absence. All three had their struggles throughout the season. Not only did it affect the passing game when you saw Mahomes taking massive dropbacks, but there was no push in the run game either. With all of the changes that went on along the offensive line, it’s not hard to make another significant change considering there wasn’t enough time to gain continuity. Kansas City would be smart to address one, if not two, of these spots along the interior.

Cornerback

Cornerback is once again a major talking point this off-season as it has been for the last couple of years. With only Charvarius Ward and Rashad Fenton under contract in 2020 with any significant playing time, Veach and company have work to do. Not only does the room still need a real number one cornerback, but they also need depth. Luckily, the 2020 draft class has a deep group at the cornerback position. The Chiefs could go after one of the top names at the end of the first round, or they could wait to select one that falls due to the depth of the position on day two. Grabbing a guy on day two that would typically be a late first-round pick could be what they elect to do—especially given the lack of talent at other positions of need. Veach could choose to sign a free agent on a one year prove it deal similar to what he did with Breeland in 2019. Will they bring back Kendall Fuller as one of those versatile starters that can help both at cornerback and safety?

Linebacker

Lastly, we have the linebacker position. Anthony Hitchens is here to stay due to his contract, but there are still needs at the second level. At this point, we have to accept Hitchens for the player he is since his contract is not going away. While overpaid, he still does some things well. Damien Wilson is a team option decision that I think would be smart to keep around in 2020. Wilson had some excellent play at multiple points of the season, and he is an excellent fit for a role player under a small contract. Reggie Ragland hits free agency, and the Chiefs don’t need another thumper. What defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo needs is a linebacker that can play in coverage without being a liability.

Second-year linebacker Ben Niemann was one of the rotational pieces that Kansas City deployed in that role. Primarily on obvious passing downs. The former undrafted free agent has been an excellent value given his cheap contract and what the expectations are for undrafted players. Veach still needs to be looking for more options in the second level that can play against both the run and the pass. Niemann is strictly used to play against the pass as he struggles against the run. There are a few draft prospects that the Chiefs could explore, but they will likely have to be taken in the first round or trading back into the early second round. The top linebackers will go relatively early due to the lack of depth at the position, but there are some options available if the organization wants to attack that need with their first-round pick.

All three of these position groups are top needs for Kansas City this off-season. It will be a tough obstacle for Veach and his staff to work around the contracts, but it won’t be the first time he’s had to navigate the CAP. It might not be the sexiest off-season with high dollar free agent signings like we’ve seen in the past couple of years. Some good value players could help plug some holes for cheap from free agency. There are also some fascinating prospects to look at that would fit nicely with the team’s schemes.

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Founder of The Brawl Network, Writer, Podcast Host for The Bears Brawl, NFL Draft Analyst and Reporter

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