Kansas City Chiefs February Scouting Report
How ‘bout that Nick Foles!
OK, hopefully the Super Bowl win by the Philadelphia Eagles over the Patriots brought about a weird sense of healing and vicarious joy for Chiefs fans still feeling the sting of the playoff flop to the Tennessee Titans, ending the 2017 campaign. Just 2 seasons ago Philly head coach Doug Pederson was co-scripting the Kansas City playbook as Coach Reid’s Offensive Coordinator. So, in a displaced sort of way, Chiefs folks can take some pride and share in the former KC coach’s title run. Yeah, and it is also frustrating seeing Coach Pederson now own a Lombardi in just his 2nd season as an NFL head coach, while Big Red and Chiefs die-hards pang for just 1... or even at the very least a trip to the Big Dance.
Since the end of the Chiefs’ 2017 football season, much has taken place. Doug Pederson’s KC replacement, Matt Nagy, has gone the way of Dougie P and become head coach of the Chicago Bears. Looks like Chi-town’s front office is banking on a similar trek as Philly to win their Lombardi trophy by raiding Coach Reid’s OC/QB guru to coach-up a young passing talent. Coach Pederson did wonders for young rising star Carson Wentz. The Bears drafted Mitchell Trubisky last year, a QB with similar tools as Wentz. We’ll see.
QB Alex Smith was dealt to the Washington Redskins for a 3rd rounder in this year’s draft and CB Kendall Fuller. Fuller was a 2016-3rd round choice of the Redskins. He figures to line up as a starter across the field from star (tarnished?) CB Marcus Peters... that is IF Peters isn’t traded as well. As-is, with Fuller and Peters projected at the corners, DB/CB Steve Nelson can slide into the slot/CB job full time. Failed late-season addition Darrelle Revis has been shown the door. Of course, the most impactful result of the Smith trade is the promotion of uber-talented 2nd-season QB Pat Mahomes to starting signal caller. If you want to get an idea of what to expect, just glance over at what Doug Pederson did with Carson Wentz in two full seasons. What Wentz has that Mahomes doesn’t is a bevy of pass-catching weapons, particularly at wideout.
Currently, the Chiefs have explosive and versatile Tyreek Hill, very average receiver Demarcus Robinson and hope for a big come-back story from injured Chris Conley. Jehu Chesson? Really? Albert Wilson is now an unrestricted free agent (UFA) and, though KC might like to retain the underutilized, underrated speedy slot-receiver, the cap situation is a bit of a hurdle yet to leap for GM Brett Veach.
The UFA list of Chiefs is as follows: (position, player, age, 1017 cap-hit, contract status)
WR Albert Wilson, 25, $1,797,000, UFA
WR De'Anthony Thomas, 25, $666,277, UFA
CB Steven Terrell, 27, $690,000, UFA
RB C.J. Spiller, 30, $0, UFA
FB Anthony Sherman, 29, $2,333,333, UFA
CB Darrelle Revis, 32, 5,500,000, UFA
OLB Kevin Pierre-Louis, 24, $651,413, UFA
DT Bennie Logan, 28, $8,000,000, UFA
ILB Derrick Johnson, 35, $5,125,000, UFA
DE Jarvis Jenkins, 29, $825,000, UFA
CB Phillip Gaines, 26, $706,028, UFA
G Zach Fulton, 26, $587,305, UFA
G Jordan Devey, 30, $690,000, UFA
P Dustin Colquitt, 35, $3,750,000, UFA
DT Stefan Charles, 29, $0, UFA
QB Tyler Bray , 26, $962,500, UFA
CB Kenneth Acker, 26, $585,150, UFA
The Alex Smith trade and the release of Darrelle Revis helped to lift the Kansas City salary cap around the $17.7 million mark, but that puts the Chiefs 9th from-the-bottom in cap space so far. Mr. Veach should look to secure Wilson if possible, FB Anthony Sherman (at a friendly rate) and DT Bennie Logan, who played darn well. ILB will need to be deepened as long-time All Pro Derrick Johnson is let go. And beyond Mahomes, the Chiefs have no other QBs under contract.
Since January 8th, Mr. Veach and Coach Reid have been active with these transactions:
David Amerson, CB- Signed a 1-year contract with Kansas City (KC)
Darrelle Revis, CB- Released by Kansas City (KC), clearing $4.5M in cap
Kendall Fuller, CB- Traded to Kansas City (KC) from Washington (WAS) with 2018 3rd round pick for Alex Smith
Alex Smith, QB- Traded to Washington (WAS) from Kansas City (KC) for 2018 3rd round pick and Kendall Fuller
T.Y. McGill, DT- Signed a reserve/future contract with Kansas City (KC)
Jace Amaro, TE- Signed a reserve/future contract with Kansas City (KC)
Andrew Wylie, T- Signed a reserve/future contract with Kansas City (KC)
Anthony Firkser, RB- Signed a reserve/future contract with Kansas City (KC)
Gehrig Dieter, WR- Signed a reserve/future contract with Kansas City (KC)
Tyrone Holmes, DE- Signed a reserve/future contract with Kansas City (KC)
Daniel Braverman, WR- Signed a reserve/future contract with Kansas City (KC)
Dillon Gordon, TE- Signed a reserve/future contract with Kansas City (KC)
Mike Purcell, DT- Signed a reserve/future contract with Kansas City (KC)
Will Redmond, CB- Signed a reserve/future contract with Kansas City (KC)
Kaleb Johnson, T- Signed a reserve/future contract with Kansas City (KC)
Obviously, none of these moves address the lack of WR depth to assist Mahomes in his first year as a starting pro passer. Some UFA QBs out there that might end up in a Chiefs’ jersey for 2018 are Chad Henne, Mark Sanchez, Matt Moore (I’m good here!), Chase Daniel (old friend), Blaine Gabbert (ICK!), Matt Barkley (not bad), Tom Savage (well named), Austin Davis (sneaky good) and Brandon Weeden (interesting). Quite honestly, if Daniel or Moore can be had at bargain rates, I’d go hard after either. At wide receiver, Tyreek Hill needs help lifting an inexperienced Mahomes in 2018. The offense needs a savvy vet pass-catcher with size and a redzone presence. Eric Decker is available, but he’s been injury prone the past couple of seasons. Dontrelle Inman, late of the Chargers, has good size, wheels and brings a leadership quality to the field. Banking on youth and potential with some impressive evidence in the books, GM Veach could opt to roll the dice on Colts’ oft-injured but talented WR Donte Moncrief. The BIG name out there is Allen Robinson, but the Chiefs just don’t have the cash to make that play. Coach Reid is always looking to straighten the crooked paths of players who have had past troubles, and Mike Floyd not only fits that mold, but he also owns size, speed and is still just 28. Uh-oh and Hmmmmm!
With the void in the middle of the defense thanks to the release of Derrick Johnson, KC sees a variety of ways to fill that gaping hole. One ILB that I have enjoyed watching play, from day-one, is Demario Davis. Davis is a hustler, sideline-2-sideline, whisle-2-whistle. He’s quick, smart, versatile and gets to the ball. Dallas’ Anthony Hitchens is a younger version of Davis. Either would fill in nicely for departed DJ. Davis is 29 while Hitchens is 25 years old and the better salary cap value here.
Some off campus news involved RB Kareem Hunt. Hunt is alleged to have shoved a 19-year-old woman early this month at a hotel during an argument. Ok, my policy is to NOT get involved in the off-field details, and so I won’t. Just keep tabs.
So, Doug Pederson and Nick Foles leave KC and win a Super Bowl before Andy Reid and Alex Smith. OK, for 2018, let’s see how starting QBs Pat Mahomes and Philly’s Carson Wentz compare... it’s closer than you might think. Wideouts, Mr. Veach... WIDEOUTS!!!
And there you go... the Chiefs way.
John Cooney is a Senior Staff Writer for Fantasy Football Mastermind
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