Whenever the Kansas City Chiefs‘ season reaches its course, the front office faces a pivotal offseason as the team looks to remain competitive atop the AFC for seasons to come. Questions remain whether Kansas City will pony up the money to keep star DT Chris Jones – one of the team’s two dozen expiring contracts – around for the long term.
Representatives of MVP quarterback Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs have also been in early talks about a contract extension, and as NFL Insider Ian Rapoport reported on Sunday, that mega-deal is expected to be completed this offseason as well.
With two potential top-level contracts on the way and limited salary cap space to work with heading into next season, the AFC West champions will undoubtedly have to let go of a number of their current contributors. Here are five impending free agents who are more likely than not to part ways with Kansas City this offseason.
LB Terrell Suggs
The 37-year-old pass rusher was waived by the Arizona Cardinals in on December 13 and claimed by the Chiefs three days later. ESPN Insider Adam Schefter reported that three other playoff contenders – the New Orleans, Seattle Seahawks, and San Francisco 49ers – attempted to claim the veteran. Following his departure from Arizona, speculation began circulating that Suggs would not report for any team other than the Baltimore Ravens.
Suggs played 52 total snaps over the final two weeks of the regular season, recording three total tackles and 1.0 sack. The seven-time Pro Bowler clearly wants to win, so the Chiefs’ current roster stability at least gives them a fighting chance to retain Suggs should he decide to play for an 18th season. However, his free agent status also allows him the chance to explore that reunion in Baltimore.
CB Morris Claiborne
The Dallas Cowboys’ 2012 first-round draft pick signed a one-year, $2 million contract with Kansas City this past offseason. Claiborne has yet to complete a full 16-game schedule in his eight-year career, primarily due to injuries, which again derailed his 2019 campaign. The cornerback missed the first and last four games of the season and managed a mere 14 tackles in his eight games (one start).
Claiborne will turn 30 years old in February and given his injury and availability concerns, the Chiefs could very well prioritize trying to re-sign fellow CB Bashaud Breeland, who will turn 28 this month and started 15-of-16 games for the team in 2019.
CB/S Kendall Fuller
Another highly-drafted cornerback brought in by Kansas City over the past couple season, Fuller is possibly the most interesting of the group. The 24-year-old has recently been transitioned from his natural cornerback position to safety, and to notable success.
With star S Tyrann Mathieu under contract through the 2021 season and the emergence of rookie S Juan Thornhill, the future of Fuller in Kansas City was cloudy at best just a couple weeks ago. However, Thornhill’s torn ACL could now open the door for a contract extension for Fuller. The question remains whether another team will be intrigued by his versatility and price Fuller out of the Chiefs’ range.
LB Emmanuel Ogbah
With the Chiefs currently projected to have $21.2 million in 2020 salary cap space, Ogbah is likely to command a hefty price tag that will be tough for the Chiefs to match. The 26-year-old pass rusher was on pace to set a career-high in sacks before a pectoral injury ended his 2019 season in mid-November. The former Browns second-round pick played in the first 10 games (four starts) and racked up 5.5 sacks prior to the injury.
As Arrowhead Pride recently alluded to, Ogbah could reasonably command north of $8 million annually from a team seeking a pass rusher still in his prime.
QB Chad Henne
The Chiefs will need to make a decision on both of their veteran backup quarterbacks in the coming months. The 34-year-old Henne is finishing out the final year of his two-year, $6.7 million deal as the primary backup to Patrick Mahomes. However, despite his higher salary and longer tenure in Any Reid’s offensive system, the Chiefs elected to start another former Miami Dolphins signal-caller, Matt Moore, when Mahomes went down with a multi-week knee injury earlier in the season.
Henne has played in only one game during his time in Kansas City, while Moore has been solid in relief duty when called up. At 35 years old, Moore may not be long for the NFL world either, but questions remain whether Henne has shown enough to stick around for much longer. Expect at least one of the two not to return in 2020.
For more NFL updates, follow Chris Licata on Twitter: @Chris__Licata5 Patriots Free Agents Likely to Leave This Offseason