Kansas City Chiefs 2022 Offseason Previewby Kamran Nia February 10, 2022 0 comments
The Kansas City Chiefs season was successful but came to a tough end with a loss in the AFC Championship against the Cincinnati Bengals. After starting the season 2-3, the Chiefs rallied back and only lost two games the rest of the season. After winning Wild Card and Divisional matchups their run came to an end. Fans of the Chiefs are in for an eventful offseason as the team has several pending free agents, cut options, and decisions to make.
Make sure to check out all of our other NFL Offseason Previews.
Pending Free Agents
The Chiefs have 27 players hitting free agency and have key decisions to make regarding the future of the team. Veterans Daniel Sorensen and Tyrann Mathieu are hitting the market at the same time as young tackle Orlando Brown along with others. With many decisions to make, the Chiefs are project have around $15 million in cap space to make moves. They will have options and a decent amount of flexibility this offseason.
Mathieu is a polarizing player for Chiefs fans because while they have enjoyed his play over the years, without signing a contract extension, he is being questioned. There are reasons for the Chiefs to sign or to let go of Mathieu. Letting him walk would be tough because Sorensen is also hitting the free agent market which would make the Chiefs have to completely revamp their safety room. General manager Brett Veach has expressed the desire to re-sign Mathieu, however, if the Chiefs and Mathieu could not come to an agreement for an extension yet they may not be able to figure out a contract this offseason.
Orlando Brown Jr.
Brown is a key free agent because of his reliability at a premium position. The Chiefs traded a first-round pick, and others to the Baltimore Ravens to acquire him before the year so he is at the top of their list to re-sign. There have been no reports of Brown being unhappy in Kansas City and the relationship looks to be good so the possibility of Brown coming back seems likely.
Sorensen seems like one of the most likely players to be out of the door this offseason. He has spent his whole career with the Chiefs but is 32 years old now. It seems unreasonable to pay him much money when they can look to the draft or free agency for a younger and potentially cheaper replacement. There are some scenarios where Sorensen can return but he is one of the probable players to be gone this offseason.
Potential Cap Casualties
The Chiefs are expected to have a decent amount of cap space this offseason to make moves with but can have even more if they cut a few players. They do not have to make any unnecessary cuts but a couple of players seem obvious. Most of the players the Chiefs are looking to get rid of are either on poor contracts or are free agents so they may not cut many players but can improve their flexibility with a couple.
Frank Clark ($12.7 Million Saved)
Clark is one of the most popular cut candidates for the Chiefs. During the last season, he only sacked the opposing quarterback 4.5 times which does not justify being the highest-paid defensive player on the team. By cutting him before June 1 they would save around $13 million but if they do so after could save around $20 million. Regardless, cutting the veteran defensive lineman would give the Chiefs power to make aggressive moves in the offseason.
Anthony Hitchens ($8.4 Million Saved)
Another player receiving a lot of attention to potentially be cut is Hitchens. Nick Bolton was excellent for the Chiefs when he saw the field last season and is only heading into his second season. By cutting Hitchens, the Chiefs could save money to sign free agents. However, more importantly, they could give more opportunities to their former second-round pick to shine with increased snaps.
Mecole Hardman ($4 Million Saved)
Hardman is an unlikely player to be cut but is a possibility. Cutting the speedy young receiver would free up $4 million dollars in cap space, which is not much, but impactful in the NFL. It seems improbable because Hardman is still 23 years old and has the potential to improve. He was not bad either last season catching for just shy of 700 yards and two touchdowns as the Chiefs’ third passing option. If the Chiefs move on from Hardman, expect them to explore trade options.
Open Market Free Agent Targets
While the Chiefs have key decisions to make regarding their own free agents, there are a few players they can look at in the open market. They are expected to have a good amount of money and after a couple of cuts cut have close to $40 million to spend. Brown and Mathieu are priorities, but after they have flexibility with their options and could improve their roster with open market free agents.
Kyle Fuller, Denver Broncos
The Chiefs lost out on trying to sign Fuller a few years ago and with secondary a need, they could go after him again. In a tough position to improve in the draft because of the time it takes to develop cornerbacks, Fuller could be a premium on the open market. However, the Chiefs will probably have the money to go after him if they want. Just a few seasons ago Fuller was the NFL interceptions leader and could be sought after by multiple teams this offseason.
Allen Robinson, Chicago Bears
Robinson had a tough past season only catching 38 passes for 410 yards and it seems like he could want out of Chicago. In free agency, multiple teams will probably show interest because of his excellence in 2019 and 2020. In those years he caught for over 1,000 yards each time. If the Chiefs choose to cut Hardman or just want to add another target, Robinson could be their answer.
Jadeveon Clowney, Cleveland Browns
On the Chiefs’ defensive line, they need help, especially if they cut Clark. Clowney could fill their need. He played well in 2021 on the Browns and reestablished himself as an above-average defensive lineman. He sacked the quarterback nine times last season and forced two fumbles. Adding Clowney could fill a need for the Chiefs heading into the 2022 season.
Previewing the 2022 NFL Draft
The Chiefs probably will not be too aggressive in the draft but have a couple of needs they can address there. Safety and defensive line are common mock picks but wide receiver depth could be added too. They do not have any extra picks until the third round where they have two. The Chiefs have the chance to add talent and improve heading into 2022 with high hopes.
Round 1, Pick 30: Daxton Hill
The Chiefs may have to reconstruct their safety room this offseason. Another option to do so could be in the draft. Hill is a versatile player that could fill in anywhere in the defensive backfield and is good in coverage. He lacks some length but could be a replacement if the Chiefs lose one or more of their safeties during the offseason. Free agency is also a way to improve their secondary, but the draft would be cheaper to do so.
Round 2, Pick 62: Christian Watson
The Chiefs do not have a big need at wide receiver because Travis Kelce and Tyreek Hill are good pass catchers but could use some depth. Watson is a versatile prospect making him a good fit for the Chiefs. He can line up on the outside or inside the boundaries, and even in the backfield. Watson can make moves after the catch and fast as well. Adding him could make the Chiefs’ offense even more potent than it is already.
Round 3, Pick 94: Sam Williams
Having not addressed their defensive line need with the first two picks, the Chiefs could go with one in the third round. Williams was a standout at the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl and could add edge depth to the Chiefs defensive line. He is great at pass rushing and is decent against the run. He improved over his years in college and could help the Chiefs.
Round 3, Pick 103: Isaiah Thomas
It may seem a bit counterintuitive to go with back-to-back edge rushers less than 10 picks from each other. But it would make sense if the Chiefs did it. Not all picks are hits in the NFL and if the Chiefs are serious about filling their needs they may need multiple tries. Especially if Clark is cut, the Chiefs could select multiple defensive linemen to fill his role via the draft.
Early 2022 Expectations
The Chiefs project to be one of the top teams in the NFL next season. During the offseason, they could lose a couple of players. Holes may open on defense but the potency of their offense is still present. The Chiefs’ coaching staff is good and they have one of, if not the best quarterback in the league with Patrick Mahomes. Unless they have a complete collapse during the offseason, they should be good again in 2022 while getting younger.
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