Since then we’ve witnessed a remodeling of the secondary, wide receiver room, linebacker core, and running back stable around a foundation of four: Andy Reid, Patrick Mahomes, Travis Kelce and Chris Jones.
Sure, other pieces have remained in place since the 2019 championship run but that number of holdovers dwindles by the day. Now, it’ll be up to this next generation of Chiefs football to make history but for general manager Brett Veach, the work is never done.
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Edge Rusher Is the ‘Greatest Question Mark for the Entire Team’
During Arrowhead Pride’s weekly edition of “Let’s Argue” with Mark Gunnels, one fan’s “unpopular Chiefs take” was that the franchise does not need another pass rusher.
Gunnels disagreed with this opinion, adding that he “wouldn’t be surprised if general manager Brett Veach makes a midsummer signing or value trade [at defensive end] before the deadline.” He reasoned:
This room is the greatest question mark — and not just defensively. It’s the greatest question mark for the entire team. When I look at every other position on this roster, I don’t see any glaring holes. However, edge, in particular, gives me cause for concern. At this point in his career, it would be unfair to expect a major impact from Frank Clark. Can he be solid? If he is healthy, sure. But Clark is not a guy you can expect to get home consistently. The Chiefs did draft [George] Karlaftis in the first round, but how much can we really expect from him in his first year? Losing Melvin Ingram to the Miami Dolphins hurt.
That mention of Ingram sparked the theory that Veach isn’t done adding pass rushers. It may not happen until the trade deadline — like last year — but KC shouldn’t hesitate to acquire a veteran here if recent draft picks like Joshua Kaindoh and Karlaftis don’t have as strong of an impact out of the gates.
Then there’s Clark, the all-important mystery. Are the Chiefs too dependent on a bounceback campaign from “the Shark?” It stands to reason that they might be.
Having said that, is there anyone worth pursuing that’s still available?
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Free Agents on the Market
Outside of an edge rusher trade before Week 1, the free-agent market is somewhat barren. There are familiar faces like Justin Houston (tendered) and Alex Okafor that probably won’t move the needle with fans.
Several other veterans had success elsewhere but have aged since their prime. Jason Pierre-Paul and Everson Griffen headline that list, which includes Carlos Dunlap, Ryan Kerrigan and Benson Mayowa.
Pierre-Paul has won two Super Bowl rings and was on the Bucs team that defeated Kansas City. He had 9.5 sacks that season, but that production rate dropped to 2.5 sacks last year. At age 33, this might be a tough signing to sell.
Griffen has suffered a similar regression with 11 sacks over his past two NFL campaigns — for three different franchises. Although he’s coming off a mildly better season than “JPP,” he’s also one year older at age 34.
Dunlap could be the cream of the crop at this point in their respective careers. The under-the-radar ex-Pro Bowler had 8.5 sacks and 14 quarterback hits in 2021 with Seattle. At age 33, the question would be his price tag. The Seahawks guaranteed him $8.5 million a year ago according to Spotrac, but have since terminated the remainder of the two-year deal.
One other route could be a cheaper pickup with upside or untapped potential. These moves don’t always work out, as we’ve seen in the past, but sometimes they do — think Charvarius Ward.
Former New York Jets UDFA Kyle Phillips is an interesting name that’s still available for a look in training camp. The 25-year-old showed some promise as a rookie but has been stalled by injuries and lack of opportunity since then.
Or Veach could just wait on the inevitable roster cut to shake free via waivers or trade. KC similarly lost Tim Ward last offseason during cuts but could become buyers this time around.