Chiefs Being Pressured After Back-to-Back AFC West Blockbuster Trades

Andy Reid

Getty Head coach Andy Reid and general manager Brett Veach will have some tough decisions to make at the trade deadline in 2021.

The Kansas City Chiefs began feeling the heat once the Denver Broncos made a blockbuster trade to acquire Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson on March 8. Two days later, added pressure was put on the reigning AFC West champions after another big move was made within the division.

The Los Angeles Chargers sent a 2022 second-round pick and a 2023 sixth-round pick to the Chicago Bears in exchange for three-time All-Pro defender Khalil Mack, according to NFL Media’s Ian Rapoport on March 10.

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As two of Kansas City’s biggest rivals close the competitive gap between themselves and the Chiefs, the Chiefs have done little to reassure their fan base that the gap won’t close anymore. Aside from using the franchise tag on starting left tackle Orlando Brown Jr., the biggest acquisition news coming out of Kansas City the week before free agency begins is that the team plans on tendering exclusive rights free agent cornerback Deandre Baker, according to Herbie Teope of the Kansas City Star.

Kansas City needs to restructure some of their larger player contracts to free up money to spend on free agents. Meanwhile, players like safety Tyrann Mathieu, cornerback Charvarius Ward, and wide receiver Byron Pringle will test free agency and could very well find themselves playing for a new team in 2022. This is why there is added pressure being put on the Chiefs via social media to step up and make moves so the team can continue competing for championships moving forward.

Twitter Reacts to Chiefs’ Current State

Twitter users reacted to the state of the franchise in Kansas City following Los Angeles trading for Mack.

“Russell Wilson joins the Broncos on Tuesday and now Khalil Mack joins the Chargers to pair with Joey Bosa today. Meanwhile, the Chiefs are eerily quiet…” one Twitter user wrote.

“Broncos trading for Russ, Chargers trading for Khalil Mack, while the Chiefs are about to sign Jeff Gladney,” another user wrote.

“If this Khalil Mack to the Chargers trade actually happens, the Chiefs front office needs to do whatever it takes to improve the roster. The rest of the AFC is not playing around anymore,” another user wrote.

The #Chiefs need to make a move. Russell Wilson and Khalil Mack just got brought into the division, and what has KC done? Franchise tagged a left tackle that doesn’t fit your offense? Let your star safety walk? They can NOT sit idle once free agency hits,” another user wrote. 

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Where Chiefs Stand Cap-Wise Before Free Agency

A page on the OverTheCap website shows what each team’s cap space would look like for the 2022 season if they restructured all their current contracts by converting “scheduled payments such as base salary or roster bonuses into signing bonuses that are prorated equally across the length of the contract, over a maximum of five years,” per the website.

For Kansas City, if they were to do “simple restructures,” they would have $59 million in available cap space. If they were to do “maximum restructures,” they would have $90.1 million in available cap space.

Those numbers don’t exemplify how much money the team will actually free up this offseason to spend. However, it tells us the kind of flexibility the Chiefs have with their current player contracts.

If Kansas City wants to continue contending for championships in a division that now includes Wilson, Justin Herbert, and Derek Carr, they need to upgrade their secondary for the 2022 season. However, Mack now being in the division also emphasizes the Chiefs’ starting right tackle spot.

In the case of Andrew Wylie and Lucas Niang — two players that started at right tackle last season for the Chiefs — there’s a growing concern that either of those players could be further exposed as the weakest link along the offensive line now that another elite pass rusher is in the AFC West. However, there’s a possibility that Kansas City could add to that position this offseason to erase that narrative.


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