The Kansas City Chiefs have seen a successful 2020 NFL season claiming the number one seed in the AFC and are preparing for another Super Bowl run. Yet, while the season continues, it’s never a bad time to take a look ahead at the next offseason. Here is a way too early Chiefs 2021 free agency preview.
Way Too Early Kansas City Chiefs 2021 Free Agency Preview
The Kansas City Chiefs will be entering this off-season with plenty of their top players under contract for the foreseeable future like Patrick Mahomes, Travis Kelce, and Tyrann Mathieu. However, the Chiefs can take advantage of the 2021 NFL free agency period to build their team.
Setting the Stage
As of today, the Chiefs will enter the 2021 NFL free agency period about $19.3 million over the projected $176 million salary cap. While the Chiefs can restructure deals and release players from the current roster to create more cap space, they will be strapped for cash nonetheless.
The following Kansas City players are scheduled to enter free agency: fullback Anthony Sherman, wide receivers Sammy Watkins and Demarcus Robinson, center Austin Reiter, defensive ends Alex Okafor, Tanoh Kpassagnon, and Taco Charlton, linebacker Damien Wilson, safety Daniel Sorenson, and cornerbacks Bashaud Breeland and Charvarius Ward. Most of the previous players have been key contributors at some point in the Chiefs’ effort to defend their title and their production will need to be replaced.
Chiefs Needs Entering 2021
Given the roster turnover entering 2021, the Chiefs will have needs at the following positions entering free agency: C, CB, DE, and WR. At center, the Chiefs may look to re-sign Austin Reiter, but he could end up as a cap casualty. Across the ball at cornerback, both starting corners are impending free agents. While Chris Jones and Frank Clark will once again lead the defensive line next season, losing three defensive ends in one offseason is never a good thing. Speaking of depth, Kansas City has been able to use a litany of speed at the wide receiver position to add perennial Pro Bowler Tyreek Hill. With Watkins and Robinson once again testing the market, the Chiefs may have to find their speed elsewhere.
In 2020, the Chiefs were able to maneuver the salary cap to sign Patrick Mahomes, Travis Kelce, and Chris Jones to contract extensions that were at or near the top of their position group. Since they re-signed these players, nothing can be put past general manager Brett Veach when it comes to 2021 free agency. While unlikely, here are some dream targets to improve one of the best teams in football.
At wide receiver, there will be plenty of big names on the 2021 wishlist, but the best fits for the Chiefs are Chris Godwin, Allen Robinson, and Will Fuller. All three bring an added element to Hill and could be another reliable target for Mahomes. At pass rusher, the Chiefs can dream of 2020 sack leader Shaquil Barrett, former number one overall pick Jadeveon Clowney, or oft-traded Yannick Ngakoue. All figure to price themselves out of Kansas City’s price range, but as we’ve seen before, anything can happen.
Now that the big names are gone, the Chiefs can come back down to Earth and look at realistic targets. Given the Chiefs’ status as Super Bowl contenders, they should look to veterans seeking a championship that might be willing to take a discount. They also can look to players who fit an already established system who may not have worked out with their previous teams.
The Chiefs can do all of that and fill a need at defensive end with any of the following players: Melvin Ingram, Justin Houston, Ryan Kerrigan, Ezekiel Ansah, or Everson Griffen. This group of defensive ends have proven their ability to perform at a high level in this league and might be nearing their final days as contributors for a team. The Chiefs should snatch up one of these former stars and add to an already formidable front line.
The Chiefs secondary could use a veteran addition at cornerback if Breeland does not return in 2021. The biggest names available are Richard Sherman and Patrick Peterson; both may come at discounts despite their historical greatness in the latter stages of their careers. Xavier Rhodes and Dre Kirkpatrick are both former first-round picks on new teams that may see Kansas City as a place to win a championship and stabilize their careers. Lastly, Kansas City can look to veterans Jason McCourty and Kevin Johnson. While they may not have elite potential at the position, they can hold their own.
At wide receiver, the theme this offseason should be speed as it has proven to be a successful formula for head coach Andy Reid‘s offense. If unable to retain their own free agents, Kansas City can look to veterans T.Y. Hilton and Breshad Perriman to provide speed and experience to the locker room. If the Chiefs want to take a flyer on a younger weapon, they can look no further than 40-yard dash record holder John Ross who has faced injury in his time in Cincinnati and could require a fresh start.
An oft-forgotten position in football, the Kansas City Chiefs may need a center in 2021. A rookie may not be the best option for Mahomes as he looks to continue his prime and veterans Alex Mack, Mike Pouncey, and David Andrews will all be available and targets for Kansas City this off-season.
What Should the Chiefs Do In 2021 Free Agency
Without a doubt, Kansas City will enter the 2021 free agency period with a Super Bowl or bust mindset once again. Not in need of superstar additions, the Chiefs should sign players who will embrace the winning culture and will contribute on the field. By placing veterans in smart positions on the field, the Kansas City Chiefs will be on track to add another Lombardi Trophy to their mantle.
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