After a few days of no activity from the Kansas City Chiefs front office, the defending Super Bowl champions ended their week with a pair of transactions of Friday. Along with the much-anticipated decision surrounding the future of WR Sammy Watkins (who will stick around on a newly restructured 1-year deal), the Chiefs also signed their fourth outside free agent, TE Ricky Seals-Jones, since NFL free agency opened on March 18.
While Kansas City has been among the least active franchises in recent weeks, a number of the league’s most popular players have changed teams, including QBs Tom Brady and Philip Rivers, RB Melvin Gordon and CB Chris Harris.
In a recent roundup article on The Athletic, senior NFL writer Mike Sando gathered opinions from executives and coaches around the league on each team’s approach to free agency this offseason.
While many Chiefs’ fans have voiced displeasure with the organization for bringing in minimal outside talent to date, many within league circles are offering a much different perspective, per Sando.
“They have done nothing and I think they are wise to have done nothing,” an evaluator said. “What did they really lose here? They can replace all these guys. The teams that do nothing are often the best teams.”
Kansas City entered the 2020 offseason with two dozen free agents of their own and minimal salary cap space to operate with. Although their financial flexibility remains restricted at approximately $3.5 million to spend (per Over The Cap), general manager Brett Veach and staff have done well to retain in-house talent, such as RB Damien Williams and DT Mike Pennel, while limiting their losses.
As of writing, only six players from the Chiefs’ 2019 roster have moved on to a new team – CB/S Kendall Fuller (Redskins), S Jordan Lucas (Bears), LB Emmanuel Ogbah (Dolphins), LB Reggie Ragland (Lions), C/G Stefen Wisniewski (Steelers) and TE Blake Bell (Cowboys).
The biggest win for Kansas City heading into 2020 is the return of star DT Chris Jones, who was given the non-exclusive franchise tag in early March, which carries a value of approximately $16.1 million for next season. While the 25-year-old’s salary consumes a large portion of the Chiefs’ spending power right now, it still comes in under Jones’ expected market value and is only one of the major pieces of the financial puzzle for the organization moving forward.
“They don’t have obvious holes, but the other part of free agency that doesn’t get talked about is, you are budgeting for the quarterback, whether it is next year of the year afterward,” an exec said. “That is part of the process right now.”
Even with two years remaining under team control, the Chiefs are already well into the planning phase for locking up QB Patrick Mahomes long before the 24-year-old MVP ever hits the open market. With speculation of a $200 million deal floating around, it’s no surprise that Kansas City has been calculated in their timing and spending.
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