Kansas City Chiefs

Grading Chiefs’ Moves Through First Full Week of Free Agency

Grading Chiefs’ Moves Through First Full Week of Free Agency

Let's assess the job Brett Veach did on the market during the first week of 2023 NFL free agency.

As the month of March rolls on, so does 2023 NFL free agency. Ever since the legal tampering period launched on the 13th and the official signing window opened two days later, teams around the league have been extremely busy working to improve on the foundations they built during the 2022 campaign.

For the Kansas City Chiefs, the blueprint of a Super Bowl champion has already been set. With that in mind, general manager Brett Veach is tasked with finding ways to continue what appears to be a two-year retooling process that started when the team traded superstar wideout Tyreek Hill an offseason ago. Act I of that process was deemed a success, although Kansas City entered this offseason with a free agent class that brought into question whether the franchise can make another run in Act II. 

That question ultimately won't be answered until deep into the 2023-24 season, but Veach and company made multiple decisions during the first week of free agency that will shape both the present and future of the Chiefs organization. Let's break down the five biggest ones thus far and give them a letter grade. 

Jawaan Taylor signs a four-year, $80 million deal

The Chiefs made it pretty clear once they declined to franchise tag left tackle Orlando Brown Jr. that they probably wouldn't be retaining the four-time Pro Bowler. He's since signed with the Cincinnati Bengals, but Kansas City has also managed to replace him. Former Jacksonville Jaguars tackle Jawaan Taylor inked a lucrative four-year contract in free agency, and the team's plan appears to be for him to follow in Brown's footsteps by transitioning from right tackle to left tackle. The value of this deal will be reflected in how well — or poorly — Taylor handles the switch over to the left side of the offensive line. 

On one hand, Taylor is a better athlete than Brown and showcased a ton of improvement in his final season with the Jaguars. He's an ascending player and if Brown was capable of pulling the switch off in Kansas City, Taylor stands a decent chance of doing so. On the other hand, Taylor has limited experience at left tackle and would average the highest average annual value of all right tackles in the league, per OverTheCap, if he's unable to stick on the left side. The Chiefs shelled out a hefty sum for Taylor's services, and they'd likely feel better about the move if it turns out to be a contract that locked down the left side of the line long-term rather than one that secured a good or even great right tackle.

Grade: B-

Charles Omenihu inks a two-year pact

Kansas City saved a large chunk of cap space by parting ways with recent franchise legend Frank Clark and likely replaced him with a superior player on the open market. Charles Omenihu's $16M pact maxes out at $20M with incentives and could turn out to be one of the better deals of free agency if things break right. Even if they don't, Omenihu still boasts an intriguing floor that makes him a decent rotational defensive lineman at the very worst.

Omenihu, who doesn't turn 26 until August, racked up 54 pressures this past season and emerged as one of the San Francisco 49ers' most productive per-snap pass rushers. He's a well-built defensive end who also boasts the ability to be kicked inside as needed. That versatility is music to Chiefs defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo's ears, and he'll likely find multiple different ways to put Omenihu in advantageous positions. Assuming health, a solid role will be there for Kansas City's newest pass-rush threat. There's a chance that a starting job could be in the cards at some point, too, which is just another reason why this is a nice pickup.

Grade: B

Nick Allegretti re-ups for 2023 season

Many (including this writer) thought that when Nick Allegretti hit the market this offseason, he'd possibly get paid to be a starter somewhere in 2023. That likelihood didn't parlay itself into reality, though, as the veteran is back in Kansas City as a depth piece for the upcoming campaign. While that may not be a perfect ending for Allegretti's free agency experience, it's a perfect move by the Chiefs. 

On the fourth-year qualifying veteran salary benefit, Allegretti's 2023 cap hit comes in at just over $1.3M according to Spotrac. For a quality backup lineman capable of filling in at each of the three interior offensive line spots, that's extremely hard to beat. For someone who already has experience in the system and is guaranteed to be a quality fit in the locker room, that's even better. This re-signing made all the sense in the world for Kansas City, as a team can never have too many reliable linemen on either side of the ball. Allegretti running it back for the upcoming season is a slam dunk, even if he doesn't end up playing a single snap. 

Grade: A

Drue Tranquill brought in to bolster linebacker position

The Chiefs have plenty of firsthand experience seeing how good of a player Drue Tranquill is, as the former Los Angeles Chargers standout has spent his entire playing career in the AFC West. One of the more notable linebackers on the market this offseason, he now joins the Chiefs on a one-year deal that is reportedly worth $3M with a maximum potential to reach $5M if he hits certain benchmarks. 

Tranquill has the ability to be a proficient DIME linebacker for the Chiefs and is a very clear upgrade over Nick Bolton in coverage. He may even be an upgrade over Willie Gay Jr. as far as consistency is concerned, which is why this move raises some questions. Darius Harris, who took snaps from Gay at times this past season, was not tendered a qualifying contract this offseason as a restricted free agent. There wasn't a clear need to replace him with a starting-caliber player, though, as the door was presumably opened for Gay to blossom in year four. The addition of Tranquill seems to be more than just a part-time depth move so while the value is good, the intrigue might be worth following even more.

Grade: B-

Mike Edwards signed to compete in safety room

Kansas City lost Juan Thornhill, a 2019 NFL Draft selection, to free agency this offseason and decided to bring in another 2019 draft pick to compete at safety. Mike Edwards is a Super Bowl champion and a 26-year-old with some serious playmaking chops, and his contract structure is similar to that of Tranquill in terms of value. The veteran has some truly impressive ball skills and also offers a bit of alignment versatility, which is a quality fit with Bryan Cook and Justin Reid on the back end of Spagnuolo's secondary.

Edwards is coming off a year that saw him start a career-high number of games and post some nice volume stats, but it also may have been the worst season of his career. He's better suited to be a third safety in an ideal scenario, which very well could be the case if Cook locks up the second starting job alongside Reid this offseason. This is a respectable pickup by the Chiefs, and betting on Edwards to bounce back in a new role isn't too big of a risk to take.

Grade: B

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Chiefs 2023 NFL Mock Draft Roundup 2.0

Chiefs 2023 NFL Mock Draft Roundup 2.0

Let's take another look at which prospects are projected to land in KC at pick No. 31.

The Kansas City Chiefs have just over a month until the 2023 NFL Draft, which means the NFL offseason is in full swing.

Free agency saw general manager Brett Veach make multiple additions to the team's roster, including adding depth along the offensive and defensive lines, the linebacking corps and the secondary. As this article is being published, Kansas City still has quite the assortment of draft picks to work with that can be used to navigate up and down the board or even be swapped in exchange for proven talents. The Chiefs' options certainly won't be limited over the next month-plus, and that extends to April's draft.

With a bit of time having passed since Mock Draft Roundup 1.0, there are plenty of updated mock drafts from around the football world. Who is projected to become a Chief in the first round? Let's take a look. 

All mocks are updated as of March 20.

Pro Football Network: Dawand Jones (OT, Ohio State)

For the second time in a row, Dawand Jones is leading off the Arrowhead Report Chiefs mock roundup. The 374-pound mammoth of a tackle is one of the more physically imposing presences in this year's draft class, and the Chiefs have a clear need at right tackle with Jawaan Taylor likely shifting to the left side and Andrew Wylie leaving for Washington. Lucas Niang can't be counted on completely, so Kansas City would be wise to bring in some external competition. From Ian Cummings' seven-round mock draft for PFN

Acquiring Jawaan Taylor was big for the Chiefs, but there’s still a void on the right side that needs to be filled. Dawand Jones can fill it and then some. At 6’8“, 374 pounds, with 36 3/8” arms, he’s truly one of the biggest humans alive. That size alone makes him a towering spectacle at right tackle, but he has underrated feet and hands as well.

Draft Network: Derick Hall (EDGE, Auburn)

Derick Hall was a popular name in the first roundup as well, and Brentley Weissman's pick for the Chiefs on the Draft Network follows that trend. Hall impressed at the NFL Scouting Combine and has a motor that gives him an intriguing profile at the next level. The Auburn Tigers standout isn't quite what Steve Spagnuolo typically prefers from his defensive ends, but perhaps the influence of defensive line coach Joe Cullen could lead to a selection of Hall — even if the value at 31 isn't great. Here's what Weissman had to say about the pick:

With the loss of Frank Clark, the Chiefs now have a need for additional pass rush and they fill that need in this NFL mock draft with Derrick Hall. Hall is a long and explosive edge rusher who has very strong hands and base. He plays with his hair on fire and would fit in very well in this young but talented Chiefs defense.

Pro Football Focus: Dalton Kincaid (TE, Utah)

Trevor Sikkema comes up with an interesting selection for the Chiefs with the 31st overall pick: a tight end! 

It isn't all that far-fetched, as Kansas City has yet to add a bona fide top receiver to their wideout room and a lot of pressure is being placed on Travis Kelce to continue being one of the best pass-catchers in the entire NFL. Kelce will be 34 in October, though, and bringing in someone capable of spelling him from time to time would be a smart move. Kincaid has already met with the Chiefs pre-draft and had eight touchdowns in his final season with the Utes. One of the best tight end prospects in this year's class, passing on Kincaid might prove to be too difficult if he's available at pick No. 31. More from Sikkema: 

With JuJu Smith-Schuster gone, the Chiefs could try to replace him with one of the wide receivers left. But the best options on this board are players of smaller size, which the Chiefs still have. Instead, they could switch it up and take a chance on a receiving tight end to pair with Travis Kelce. I like the size option with Kincaid.

CBS Sports: Will McDonald IV (EDGE, Iowa State)

Kyle Stackpole of CBS Sports goes with Iowa State's Will McDonald to Kansas City at the end of the first round. The No. 11 EDGE/defensive end on their board and the 71st-ranked prospect overall, this pick feels like a reach for a player who doesn't come remotely close to fitting the traditional Spagnuolo prototype. McDonald's 34 collegiate sacks and his upside give him a solid draft profile without a doubt, but the fit and value aren't suitable for this offering. Stackpole kept his analysis short and sweet:

The Chiefs replace Frank Clark with the explosive and tough-to-block Will McDonald IV.

DraftKings: Josh Downs (WR, North Carolina)

In the DraftKings post-free agency mock draft, Nick Simon gives Patrick Mahomes another weapon to throw to. UNC's Josh Downs isn't a boundary starter, though, as he measured up 5-foot-9 and weighed 171 pounds at the Combine. He brings a plus profile as a vertical field-stretcher and competes for the ball better than someone his size should, but his play strength and role versatility still remain questionable as he heads to the NFL. Downs got plenty of free releases off the line of scrimmage in college and is more of a Day Two draftable talent than a pick to close out the first round. Simon didn't provide any analysis for his projected choice. 

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In Veach We Trust: Why KC's GM Has Earned Faith Amidst Uncertainty

In Veach We Trust: Why KC's GM Has Earned Faith Amidst Uncertainty

The Kansas City Chiefs general manager, Brett Veach, is looking to continue his recent string of offseason success with another solid free agency and draft.

Here we go again! Free agency has begun and Kansas City Chiefs general manager Brett Veach is at it again, starting the retooling process that will hopefully bring another championship to the franchise. With the offseason action in full swing, it’s time to remember the mantra that has carried Chiefs fans through free agency in the past few offseasons: in Veach we trust.

Last year, there weren’t any immediate, needle-moving transactions that took place within the first few days of free agency. Sirens were blaring among media and Chiefs fans alike wondering why the Chiefs weren’t jumping in on the action. As is the case with every offseason, we don’t have Veach’s playbook.

As the offseason unfolded a year ago, we could see the team's plan being put into action. They traded Tyreek Hill, added wide receivers in free agency, and had an absolute monster draft. This year, things seem to be progressing a little bit more quickly.

Just two years after Veach and the front office rebuilt the entire offensive line, it appears he is doing a similar re-tooling job this offseason. Former starting right tackle Andrew Wylie signed with the Washington Commanders. Negotiations broke down with Orlando Brown Jr. and he didn’t become a top priority heading into free agency, ultimately signing a four-year, $67 million deal with the Cincinnati Bengals. The Chiefs added Jawaan Taylor as a replacement for either Wylie or Brown. The majority of reporting and speculation indicates that Taylor will likely be playing left tackle, but KC's flexibility remains. With Lucas Niang and 2022 fifth-round pick Darian Kinnard set to battle it out at right tackle, there’s plenty of time to add competition along the offensive line through free agency or the draft.

The defensive line has been a work in progress for the last several seasons. Frank Clark was cut and Carlos Dunlap is a free agent. 2022 first-round pick George Karlaftis and fourth-year veteran Mike Danna will be the returning defensive end talent. For the d-line's biggest splash of the offseason so far, the Chiefs signed former Houston Texans and San Francisco 49ers defensive lineman Charles Omenihu. Omenihu has the versatility to play defensive end or tackle, something defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo has always appreciated in his defensive linemen.

There’s no doubt the Chiefs will continue to pursue more defensive line options. They can add a pass rusher through the NFL Draft, and there’s a chance they bring back a veteran like Dunlap. This is the way the Chiefs can continue to get better, mixing young talent with veteran leaders along the line. Plus, there’s a good chance All-Pro defensive lineman Chris Jones will be getting an extension with the team in the near future. That’s a move that everyone can get behind, as Jones has been one of the best interior pass-rushers in the league over the course of his career.

There will be rumors of what will happen with running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire leading up to the draft. The Chiefs will need to add a piece to their quarterback room to back up Patrick Mahomes, although the team has tendered preseason fan-favorite Shane Buechele.

Juan Thornhill looks to be the lone secondary piece who will be on the move in free agency, leaving for the Cleveland Browns. Veach did a great job planning for that last offseason adding a ton of talent to the secondary, including safety Bryan Cook who will likely take over the snaps left behind in Thornhill's absence. Meanwhile, KC locked up former Tampa Bay Buccaneers safety Mike Edwards to provide a veteran presence, keeping them flexible in the draft.

Wide Receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster is on his way out, getting a multi-year deal from the New England Patriots. It feels like the Chiefs will make an addition to the receiver room with a veteran either via free agency or trade. Another fan-favorite, tight end Jody Fortson, is coming back after being tendered.

Veach is always looking to improve the team and understands the best way to do it. While many thought it would be tough to keep the team in contention with Mahomes and his big contract leading the way for at least the next decade, Veach has played his hand perfectly and has shown the ability to never have to rebuild, just retool.

As rumors and speculation swirl while free agency continues and the NFL Draft approaches, know that Veach has a plan. If recent history means anything at all, that should be enough for Chiefs fans to rest easy during a tumultuous time of year.

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Chiefs Signing Former Buccaneers Safety Mike Edwards

Chiefs Signing Former Buccaneers Safety Mike Edwards

Kansas City adds to its safety room shortly after losing Juan Thornhill to the Cleveland Browns.

The Kansas City Chiefs lost former 2019 NFL Draft pick and four-year safety Juan Thornhill to free agency this week, and they're already hitting the open market to replace some of his production with someone taken in the same draft class. 

Per Ian Rapoport of NFL Network on Friday afternoon, Kansas City is signing former Tampa Bay Buccaneers safety Mike Edwards:

Rapoport adds that the one-year contract for Edwards is worth $3 million and has the chance to get to $5M with incentives. This serves as the second deal of its kind for the Chiefs on Friday, as former Los Angeles Chargers linebacker Drue Tranquill was signed to a similarly-structured offering as well.

Edwards, who was selected one round later than Thornhill in 2019, has played in 58 games over the course of his first four seasons. The veteran safety has career stat totals of 184 tackles (seven for loss), 21 passes broken up, seven interceptions and three fumble recoveries. The Kentucky product started a career-high 12 games for the Buccaneers in 2023-23, setting a personal best mark with 82 combined tackles.

According to Pro Football Focus, Edwards was given a 56.7 overall defense grade for his efforts in 2022 after posting figures of 73.6 and 77.0 in 2021 and 2020, respectively. Lining up 455 times as a free safety last season, he also offered a bit of versatility by spending 213 snaps in the box and 97 in the slot. In coverage, per Pro-Football-Reference, he surrendered a 110.4 passer rating when targeted this past season. Those ratings were 67.9 and 21.9 in the two years prior.

Outside of his volume stats, it's reasonable to imply that 2022 wasn't a terrific showing for Edwards as he prepared to hit the open market. He still managed to gain valuable experience in a starting role, though, and could be battling with 2022 Chiefs draft pick Bryan Cook for solid reps in the safety room as he advances through the offseason. This transaction helps offset some of the ability lost from Thornhill's departure. Nick Korte of OverTheCap writes that while Edwards counts as a compensatory free agent against Kansas City, the team's exact cancellation chart as of Friday afternoon is a bit shaky:

Read More: Chiefs Re-Sign Nick Allegretti, Bolster Offensive Line Depth

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Chiefs Re-Sign Nick Allegretti, Bolster Offensive Line Depth

Chiefs Re-Sign Nick Allegretti, Bolster Offensive Line Depth

Kansas City brings back one of its key reserves along the offensive line for the 2023 campaign.

The Kansas City Chiefs' offensive line has undergone a shuffle of sorts thus far in the offseason, with left tackle Orlando Brown Jr. departing for the Cincinnati Bengals and right tackle Andrew Wylie joining the Washington Commanders. Jawaan Taylor is in the fold as a starter but with depth being an ever-important component of ensuring that Patrick Mahomes is protected, the Chiefs are retaining one of their mainstays in the offensive line room.

Per a Friday morning report by Herbie Teope of The Kansas City Star, Kansas City is re-signing interior offensive lineman Nick Allegretti to a one-year contract: 

Allegretti, who is a two-time Super Bowl champion with the Chiefs, has played in 57 games for the club since entering the league as the team's own seventh-round draft pick back in 2019. Twelve of those games have been starts, and the player who left Illinois as primarily a center prospect has since spent time at center and both guard spots for Kansas City over the course of his four-year career.

According to Pro Football Focus, Allegretti has logged 905 career snaps at left guard, 114 at right guard and 13 snaps at center. All 13 of those reps came this past season, with six of them being in Week 7 against the San Francisco 49ers and seven coming in the regular-season finale against the Las Vegas Raiders. PFF doesn't grade Allegretti's 2022 campaign favorably, although each season prior to that saw him post a composite offensive grade of at least 62.4. 2021 was his best season by their standards, as he had a 70.4 offensive grade with a terrific 89.0 grade as a pass blocker.

The Chiefs' starters at each interior offensive line spot are firmly entrenched, with the trio of Joe Thuney, Creed Humphrey and Trey Smith being some of the better players at their respective positions. With that said, Allegretti's versatility and experience are major benefits to have in the offensive line room. The Chiefs now don't have to replace his production and value in free agency, and the one-year contract presents both sides with an opportunity to chase another championship together in 2023-24. 

Read More: The Overall Impact of the Charles Omenihu Signing

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Chiefs Reportedly 'Showing Interest' in Odell Beckham Jr.

Chiefs Reportedly 'Showing Interest' in Odell Beckham Jr.

KC attended Beckham's private workout and might be in the race for his services in free agency.

The Kansas City Chiefs lost wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster to the New England Patriots on Wednesday, serving as a reminder that the free agent market can weaken a team's position room just as much as it can help it. With the available options continuing to dwindle down as time passes by, the pressure is on general manager Brett Veach and company to make a move to add depth at the receiver position.

According to Jonathan Jones of NFL on CBS, the Chiefs were one of 12 teams in attendance at free agent wideout Odell Beckham Jr.'s private workout on March 10. Beckham held the workout to showcase his abilities in front of prospective teams as he looks to join a club for the first time since he played in Super Bowl LVI with the Los Angeles Rams. Beckham tore his ACL during that game but now that he's over a year removed from the injury, his market is beginning to heat back up.

Jordan Schultz of theScore reported back in December that Kansas City had "stayed in contact" with Beckham, although a formal visit and signing never manifested itself. After reporting on Wednesday — the first day of the new NFL league year — that the Dallas Cowboys had positive discussions with Beckham, Schultz added the Chiefs and Baltimore Ravens to the list of teams "showing interest" in the 30-year-old on Thursday: 

Per Schultz, Beckham is eyeing a multi-year contract. Spotrac estimates that he's worth an average annual value of $13.5 million on the open market, with Pro Football Focus' projected AAV of $13M being in that same general area. Smith-Schuster's deal with New England was worth $11M AAV, as were the multi-year commitments for Allen Lazard (New York Jets) and Jakobi Meyers (Las Vegas Raiders), so Beckham's potential market might be just a tad bit richer as of now until any reported offers come in to indicate otherwise.

Beckham isn't the dominant force he once was in his prime with the New York Giants, but he showed with the Rams that he could still impact winning football and be a dynamic force on the field. He hauled in 27 passes for 305 yards and five touchdowns in eight regular season contests with Los Angeles before emerging as a key contributor along their path to the Super Bowl. With that said, his ability to keep up that level of play post-ACL injury and post-turning 30 is worth questioning.

After Schultz published his December report, I wrote on Arrowhead Report that the Chiefs shouldn't pursue Beckham for the remainder of the regular season or into the playoffs. Given where he was at in his rehab, as well as where Kansas City's wideout room was in its development, a signing just didn't make much sense:

Reports throughout Beckham's rehab and free agency tour have indicated that he'd like a multi-year deal. If that remains the case during the offseason, it makes much more sense for the Chiefs to see how things play out with the likes of Smith-Schuster and Hardman (and possibly even Valdes-Scantling), then potentially get in on the Beckham sweepstakes. The timing just doesn't seem to be ideal right now, nor does the opportunity. As a result, Kansas City is best suited simply relying on the guys it has and revisiting the Beckham situation a few months from now.

It was always a possibility that this offseason could change things, and that very well may be the case. It remains to be seen what the Chiefs' level of interest in Beckham is or whether they have other desired options on the table, but this is something to monitor in the coming days (or potentially weeks). Talented receivers don't grow on trees once the initial wave of free agents has been signed, and Beckham still has that talent. How well the league believes he can translate it to success — and how much Kansas City believes that's worth — will determine how his market ultimately takes shape.

Read More: Chiefs Move Mahomes Money, Creatively Convert Cap Space

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The Overall Impact of the Charles Omenihu Signing

The Overall Impact of the Charles Omenihu Signing

The Chiefs made their first impact offseason signing on the defensive side. How does Omenihu fit, and what does it mean for KC moving forward?

The NFL's free agency period is still relatively young, but some teams already look different from the year before. That includes the Kansas City Chiefs, who made two significant moves before the start of the new league year to fill big offseason needs. The first move was Jawaan Taylor, who has been rumored to have the chance to switch from right tackle to left tackle in Kansas City. While Taylor’s exact role hasn’t been pinned down, the Chiefs’ second signing has a more straightforward plan of use. The second move was the addition of defensive lineman Charles Omenihu

Omenihu agreed to a two-year deal worth up to $20 million. He was drafted in the fifth round of the 2019 NFL Draft by the Houston Texan and after two and a half years in Houston, he was moved at the 2021 trade deadline. Though the Chiefs were interested in him then, the San Francisco 49ers gained his services and helped him blossom into the player he is. Now, general manager Brett Veach finally got a player he coveted at an ideal time in his career from an on-field perspective.

October 23, 2022; Santa Clara, California, USA; Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes (15) passes the football against San Francisco 49ers defensive end Charles Omenihu (94) during the second quarter at Levi's Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

It would be remiss not to mention what occurred in January with Omenihu prior to the NFC Championship Game. He was arrested in San Jose, CA, after his girlfriend put in a call causing suspicion of misdemeanor domestic violence. The local district attorney’s office is still gathering information before deciding whether to file official charges. The Chiefs signing Omenihu likely means that they have done their due diligence and feel comfortable with where the situation is at.

Going back to Omenihu on the field, he had a career-high 4.5 sacks last year as part of the loaded San Francisco defensive line. His numbers only get better the deeper you dive, too. According to Pro Football Focus, Omenihu ranked in the top 30 in pressures last year with 54. He also had the sixth-best pass rush win rate in 2022, behind five Pro Bowlers. That’s extremely promising for the Chiefs to get for less than double-digit millions per year. As a 25-year-old pass rusher, Omenihu has a chance to continue to build and grow in Kansas City.

Omenihu is possibly the most ‘Spags EDGE' ever. He has the size and length that Chiefs defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo covets at the position to an extreme level. Right now, Omenihu projects into a rotational pass-rushing role, primarily on the outside of the defensive line, in a group with other young players: George Karlaftis and Mike Danna. He also can kick inside with his versatility, which is another plus in Spagnuolo and defensive line coach Joe Cullen’s books. Last year, the addition of Cullen led to multiple players having career years. Omenihu has the explosion, power and handwork foundation that Cullen can continue to maximize and help him reach his potential.

Adding Omenihu makes a ton of sense for the Chiefs. He checks almost every on-field box the team has for their secondary pass rushers. In Kansas City, similar to when he was in San Fransisco, Omenihu won’t be the main focus of the opposing offense. Instead, Chris Jones will get the most attention and be doubled, allowing Omenihu to be one-on-one. Especially when he’s kicked inside, he will have an excellent opportunity to win against favorable matchups. His pass-rushing prowess will also be on display often because one would think the Chiefs will be leading in games, forcing their opponent to play catch-up.

Jan 22, 2023; Santa Clara, California, USA; San Francisco 49ers defensive end Charles Omenihu (94) celebrates with San Francisco 49ers defensive end Samson Ebukam (56) after defeating the Dallas Cowboys 19-12 in a NFC divisional round game at Levi's Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

The Omenihu signing also gives the Chiefs more flexibility this offseason. Coming into the offseason, they needed to address offensive tackle, defensive end and wide receiver. Though they haven’t made a move at wide receiver as of the publishing of this article, the assumption is that will happen sometime before the 2023 NFL Draft. 

If that’s the case, the Chiefs aren’t pigeonholed into taking a specific position in the first round, which may have been the case less than a week ago. They can now move up if someone they like falls down the board. Also, they can take their true favorite player from one of those positions if they stay that 31. Veach and his team still need to add to those groups, but they now have the ability to go in many different directions and choose the one they believe is best for the team’s future.

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Orlando Brown Jr. Signing With Bengals

Orlando Brown Jr. Signing With Bengals

The Chiefs lose Brown to Cincinnati after he spent two years protecting Patrick Mahomes in Kansas City.

The 2023 NFL free agency season is in full swing and with that, the Kansas City Chiefs have witnessed their offensive line undergo some changes. After it was reported that right tackle Andrew Wylie was set to become a member of the Washington Commanders and former Jacksonville Jaguars tackle Jawaan Taylor was coming to Kansas City, the writing appeared to be on the wall for Orlando Brown Jr.'s future with the club.

That turned out to be the case, as Brown is reportedly joining the Cincinnati Bengals on a four-year deal worth $64.092 million. Tom Pelissero of NFL Network first had the news and details:

Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reports that Brown gets 67.87% of his $64.1M figure fully guaranteed, with $42.3 of it through year two and $49.9 through year three. NFL Network's Mike Garafolo confirms that the deal is for Brown to play left tackle, adding that he spoke with Brown and he had the following to say about becoming a Bengal: 

"I'm super thankful for the opportunity to carry on my father's legacy and be a left tackle. It was important to be able to play that position and play for a winning team and a winning quarterback. Who Dey!"

For Brown, this marks the official end of his tenure in Kansas City after general manager Brett Veach completed a big-time trade to acquire him prior to the 2021 NFL Draft. In two seasons as a Chief, Brown made 33 of his possible 34 starts in the regular season and was a Pro Bowler in back-to-back years. He's now held that distinction in four consecutive campaigns dating back to his time with the Baltimore Ravens, and the Chiefs' decision to not franchise tag him earlier in March shocked the football world. Brown subsequently hit the open market after he and the team's respective camps couldn't agree on a contract extension, paving the way for Cincinnati to swoop in via free agency.

Brown graded out favorably for his efforts in 2022, ranking as Pro Football Focus' No. 20 offensive tackle in composite offensive grade. He was 31st in overall pass block grade, recording a league-high 843 opportunities in pass protection. With that, however, Brown also surrendered more pressures and hurries than any tackle in the entire league and struggled immensely at times. A knee injury limited him early in the season, although his play never quite aligned with the contract he wanted from the Chiefs even once he got healthier.

While Brown's ride in Kansas City was bumpy at times, the trade was undoubtedly worth it. The Chiefs gave up roughly the equivalent of a second-round pick for him once the dust settled, and they paid around $20M over the course of two years for some solid left tackle play. Brown helped the team win a Super Bowl, which is the ultimate prize. He's a champion. With Brown now moving on and Taylor in the fold to (potentially) take his place, there's a clear resolution reached.

Read More: Chris Jones Tweets Thoughts on Long-Term Future With Chiefs

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Chiefs Move Mahomes Money, Creatively Convert Cap Space

Chiefs Move Mahomes Money, Creatively Convert Cap Space

The Chiefs have returned to The Bank Of Patrick Mahomes, but they're not maxing out their credit cards.

The Kansas City Chiefs created salary cap space by adjusting quarterback Patrick Mahomes's contract on Wednesday, moving money around in the two-time MVP's contract for some immediate financial flexibility.

Reported by Field Yates of ESPN, the Chiefs converted $12 million of Mahomes's 2023 roster bonus into a signing bonus in order to create $9.6 million in salary cap space this season. This is an annual option for Kansas City due to the structure of Mahomes's decade-long contract extension, signed in July 2020.

As noted by Arrowhead Report's Zack Eisen, the Chiefs didn't move the maximum amount of money in the deal, which seems to indicate that the Chiefs' goal was to create nearly $10 million in cap space as opposed to simply creating the most 2023 cap space possible.

As AR's Conner Christopherson surmised, the Chiefs should now have roughly $10 million in cap space after their pending contracts are signed, giving them flexibility in the weeks to come, either for a big splash or for a variety of smaller moves.

Matt Derrick of Chiefs Digest tweeted that the $12 million in moved money is roughly a third of Mahomes's $34.4 million roster bonus, which spreads out $2.4 million in dead money over the next five years — a relatively insignificant amount of cap space over the half-decade span for an actionable chunk of change this year.

The Chiefs chose to convert none of Mahomes's roster bonus last offseason, allowing them to take the full brunt of his 2022 cap hit without spreading money out down the line. Now, KC has found a middle ground, allowing themselves to borrow a bit from The Bank of Patrick Mahomes without going all-in and suffering heavier hits down the road.

From the archives: Patrick Mahomes's Contract is a Blessing for the Chiefs, Curse for the Rest of the NFL (2021)

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Juan Thornhill Signing Multi-Year Deal With Browns

Juan Thornhill Signing Multi-Year Deal With Browns

After four seasons as a Chief, Thornhill moves on with a pair of Super Bowl wins on his resume.

The Kansas City Chiefs' secondary saw some changes last offseason, bringing in a trio of rookie cornerbacks and also seeing safety Justin Reid replace Tyrann Mathieu on the back end of Steve Spagnuolo's defense. Another change is coming this time around, as safety Juan Thornhill is leaving Kansas City after four seasons with the team.

Per Tom Pelissero of NFL Network, Thornhill is inking a three-year deal with the Cleveland Browns. The contract is worth $21 million with $14M fully guaranteed at signing:

According to OverTheCap, Thornhill's 2022 production was valued at just over $7.5M. Pro Football Focus gave him a projected free agent contract of three years on an average of $7.75M per season, which is just a bit above what he ultimately got with Cleveland. Early in March, it was reported that the Virginia product would have a solid market this offseason and cash in at a figure that could cause him to depart from the Chiefs organization.

Selected 63rd overall in the 2019 NFL Draft, Thornhill had an up-and-down tenure in Kansas City spanning his rookie contract. He burst onto the scene as a rookie, starting all 16 regular-season games and picking off three passes (with five passes broken up) before suffering a torn ACL that held him out of action for the remainder of the season. Thornhill was able to return in time for the start of the 2020 campaign and while he played in all 16 games for the Chiefs, he didn't look anything like his rookie self.

After admitting that he was never truly 100% "back" the previous year, Thornhill started 12 games — playing in all 17 — for Kansas City in 2021 and began to show some of the flashes he routinely displayed as a rookie. The addition of Reid during the following offseason required Thornhill to step up as both an on and off-the-field leader, and that's exactly what he did.

At first, Thornhill took a while to get going in 2022. Once he did, though, he and Reid combined to serve as a formidable duo at safety for Kansas City by the end of the season. Thornhill was playing his best football when it mattered the most, and his overall season stats were anything but poor. Recording a career-high 71 tackles on the year, he also matched his previous best mark with three interceptions while setting a new personal record in passes broken up with nine. Now, he'll head to Cleveland and look to play a more consistent brand of football as his second contract soon comes into effect.

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JuJu Smith-Schuster Signing With Patriots

JuJu Smith-Schuster Signing With Patriots

Kansas City loses its leading wide receiver from a season ago and has some production to replace in his absence.

The Kansas City Chiefs' 2023 unrestricted free agent class featured some notable names, setting the table for the team to potentially lose some key contributors from its championship run this past season. Wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster was one of those players, and he's reportedly leaving Kansas City after one season.

Per Taylor Bisciotti of NFL Network, Smith-Schuster is signing with the New England Patriots:

Smith-Schuster was projected by Spotrac to be worth $14.6M per year on the open market, and Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reports that the contract is a three-year commitment worth $33 million. The Super Bowl champion was one of the top names among all free agent wideouts, joining the likes of Odell Beckham Jr. and a couple of others as far as well-known names were concerned. The receiver market was slow to develop at first, but the process unfolded and resulted in Smith-Schuster getting an offer that caused him to move on from the Chiefs.

In his one and only year as a Chief, Smith-Schuster was targeted 101 times by Patrick Mahomes and hauled in 78 passes for 933 yards and three touchdowns in 16 games (14 starts). He helped the Chiefs pick up 47 first downs on the year via reception, also posting a career-high catch percentage of 77.2 while also averaging his second-best yards per target mark (9.2) since entering the league in 2017. Smith-Schuster signed an incentive-laden deal with the Chiefs last offseason and while he battled some injuries throughout the season, he ended up hitting his benchmarks to earn a decent chunk of change overall and helped parlay it into a free agent contract elsewhere.

Smith-Schuster was quiet for two-and-a-half of the Chiefs' playoff games this past season, but he came alive in the second half of Super Bowl LVII and helped Kansas City put up enough points to complete its comeback and secure a thrilling victory. In all, the veteran wideout had seven catches for 53 yards in the biggest game of the year and played through a nagging knee injury that he wasn't originally sure he'd be able to fight past. He now joins a Patriots organization that has some work to do offensively in order to climb up the AFC East — and AFC — standings. 

Shortly after the news was reported of his plans to sign with New England, Smith-Schuster tweeted that he's "excited" for his next chapter:

10 minutes later, he tweeted a thank you to Kansas City.

"Thank you to Kansas City for the giving me the opportunity to come in and contribute to a Super Bowl, the most unforgettable experience of my life. I will always love my teammates, the coaching staff, and the fans for being so great to me. 🙏🏾 💍"

According to Rapoport, things came down to New England versus Kansas City for Smith-Schuster. His heart was in Kansas City, Rapoport mentioned, but the Patriots ultimately offered him more money.

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Chiefs Tender Shane Buechele as ERFA for 2023

Chiefs Tender Shane Buechele as ERFA for 2023

Kansas City retains one of its backup quarterbacks for the offseason program and beyond.

The Kansas City Chiefs' quarterback room saw a bit of a shake-up at the beginning of the offseason when veteran Chad Henne announced his retirement shortly after the team won Super Bowl LVII. That left Shane Buechele as Patrick Mahomes's primary backup, but the 25-year-old was an exclusive rights free agent for the 2023 offseason.

With a deadline — the start of the new league year — in place for the Chiefs to tenders their ERFAs, they extended a qualifying offer to tight end Jody Fortson on Tuesday. On Wednesday afternoon, per Matt Derrick of Chiefs Digest, Buechele was also tendered with an ERFA contract. Here's more from Derrick's report:

The Chiefs as expected are returning Shane Buechele to the quarterback room but unlike the past two seasons, he currently ranks at No. 2 on the depth chart and is a prime contender for the backup job behind Patrick Mahomes.

The club has tendered the exclusive rights free agent a contract offer, a source tells Chiefs Digest, keeping him in the stable for a third season in Kansas City.

Buechele, who signed with Kansas City as an undrafted free agent coming out of SMU back in 2021, has been with the team since then but has yet to play any snaps in the regular season. The Arlington, TX native was a candidate to remain on the Chiefs' practice squad this past season but in an effort to protect him from another franchise poaching him, he routinely occupied an active roster spot and simply wasn't active on game days (Henne was the game day backup for Mahomes). Without Henne in the picture, though, and as Derrick noted, Buechele is currently quarterback No. 2 on the depth chart. 

In the 2022 preseason, Buechele completed 31 of his 51 pass attempts for 335 yards and three touchdowns. He did throw an interception, but his performances were enough to turn the heads of many. The door is open for the Chiefs to sign a veteran backup later this offseason or potentially even select a quarterback in April's 2023 NFL Draft, although Buechele now has multiple years of experience with the franchise and the element of his rostering during the 2022 campaign could signal belief on the team's behalf. 

Read More: Chiefs Bolster Pass-Rush, Sign DL Charles Omenihu

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Khalen Saunders Signing With New Orleans Saints

Khalen Saunders Signing With New Orleans Saints

Kansas City loses its former 2019 third-round pick after four seasons with the team.

The Kansas City Chiefs' defensive line entered the 2023 NFL free agent period with the potential to undergo a fair amount of change, and that's exactly how things are unfolding as things progress. Along Steve Spagnuolo's defensive line, there's a four-year player leaving town on a new deal.

Per Tom Pelissero and Ian Rapoport of NFL Network, defensive tackle Khalen Saunders is signing with the New Orleans Saints:

A (literally) big addition for the #Saints: DT Khalen Saunders is expected to sign with New Orleans, sources tell me and @RapSheet. 

Saunders is coming off his best season with the Super Bowl champion #Chiefs, recording 3.5 sacks. - Tom Pelissero @TomPelissero on Wednesday, March 15, 2023 at 10:19 a.m. CT

Pelissero reports that the contract from the Saints is a three-year pact worth a maximum of $14.5 million. Saunders, who hit the free agent market for the first time after his rookie deal expired at the end of the 2022-23 campaign, was projected by Spotrac to be worth an average annual value of $6.4M on his next contract.

In four years as a Chief after being drafted in the third round back in 2019, Saunders played in 38 games and recorded 81 tackles (three for loss), 4.5 sacks and a pair of passes broken up. The veteran has 10 quarterback hits in his career, including eight that came in just this past season alone. The most recent campaign was easily Saunders's best, as he played in 16 games and saw a career-high 39% snap share on defense (421 total). According to Pro Football Focus, Saunders had 15 pressures on the year after combining for 10 in the previous three seasons. 

On Tuesday, Saunders took to Twitter to provide a "transparent moment" where he thanked the Chiefs' fans for supporting him since he arrived in Kansas City. Below is the second portion of that thread, one in which he described an "emotional as hell" free agency process:

"Jesus Christ, I’m not built for free agency lol, my whole life at any level I’ve been the unifier in the locker room. So my relationships with my dawgs be different, be personal. This shit feel like transferring schools from my best friends 😭 my big ass been emotional as hell 😂" - Saunders (via Twitter @khalenNOTkaylen) on Tuesday, March 14, 2023 at 12:21 p.m. CT

Read More: Free Agent WRs ‘Blowing Up Patrick Mahomes’s Phone’

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Chiefs Bolster Pass-Rush, Sign DL Charles Omenihu

Chiefs Bolster Pass-Rush, Sign DL Charles Omenihu

The Kansas City Chiefs have made their biggest splash on the defensive side of the football in the new NFL league year, signing defensive end Charles Omenihu.

The Kansas City Chiefs have made their biggest splash on the defensive side of the football in the 2023 NFL offseason by signing defensive lineman Charles Omenihu, as reported by Jordan Schultz of theScore on Tuesday night.

Matt Verderame of Sports Illustrated reports that Omenihu's deal is for two years, worth $16 million with a maximum value of $20 million with incentives. 

Omenihu, a former fifth-round pick of the Houston Texans in the 2019 NFL Draft, was traded from Houston to the San Francisco 49ers in November 2021 for a 2023 sixth-round pick. He played 26 games for the 49ers and recorded 4.5 sacks and 17 quarterback hits.

October 23, 2022; Santa Clara, California, USA; Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes (15) passes the football against San Francisco 49ers defensive end Charles Omenihu (94) during the second quarter at Levi's Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Omenihu finished the 2022 season with a 75.3 pass-rush grade from Pro Football Focus, good for 28th among all qualifying EDGE/defensive ends and finished 16th in quarterback hurries with 39.

Omenihu, 25, checks a lot of boxes for Chiefs defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo, as his 6-foot-5, 280-pound measurables project him as a solid fit at defensive end in Spagnuolo's system. However, Omenihu also spent time in the interior for the 49ers, and the Chiefs have frequently moved defensive ends (such as Mike Danna) to the interior while also moving defensive tackle Chris Jones to the outside on a regular basis.

Sam McDowell of The Kansas City Star noted that Omenihu played 364 snaps on the outside, 144 over the tackle and 138 as a defensive tackle in 2022, according to PFF.

Omenihu is a welcome addition to a rapidly thinning defensive end group in Kansas City, which entered Tuesday with only George Karlaftis and Danna as defensive ends on the depth chart with significant NFL playing time, even as Karlaftis has just one year of NFL experience. Following the release of Frank Clark and the unknown status of Carlos Dunlap, Omenihu's signing allows the Chiefs to pencil in a Karlaftis/Omenihu starting duo on the edges before the NFL Draft begins in Kansas City. The Chiefs should still look to add another EDGE early in the draft, but KC's need isn't nearly as glaring as it was before adding Omenihu.

Jose Luis Sanchez III of All 49ers listed Omenihu as one of San Francisco's free agents who the team should allow to leave in free agency, though not for lack of recent production:

Trading for Charles Omenihu turned into one of the more underrated transactions that the 49ers have made. He gave them quality snaps game after game. The work that defensive line coach Kris Kocurek did with Omenihu to get him to be an effective rusher cannot be overstated. But Omenihu is going to be this year's Arden Key when it comes to free agency.

The 49ers would surely want him back, assuming his domestic violence case doesn't escalate, but only at their relatively team friendly cheap price. Efficient pass rushers can demand a good $5 million to $10 million in salary and for multiple years. I just think the 49ers will be able to find someone else who is better or almost as good for a fraction of what he would cost.

Omenihu was arrested due to a misdemeanor domestic violence allegation on January 23. ABC7 News in San Francisco reported on the known details shortly after the arrest:

Officials say a woman called to report that her boyfriend, Omenihu, pushed her to the ground during an argument. She complained about pain to her arm, police say, but there were no visible injuries and she declined medical treatment at the time of the investigation.

Officers contacted Omenihu at the scene. He gave a statement and was cooperative with officers.

He was then arrested for misdemeanor domestic violence and he was served with a restraining order by investigating officers. It was not deemed a felony arrest.

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Orlando Brown Jr. Reportedly Viewed as Right Tackle by NFL

Orlando Brown Jr. Reportedly Viewed as Right Tackle by NFL

Brown reportedly isn't seen by the league how many believed he'd be heading into the 2023 offseason.

The 2023 NFL offseason is in full swing, and so is free agency. Unrestricted free agents' camps have been free to negotiate with teams since the legal tampering period opened on Monday at noon ET, and the Kansas City Chiefs had multiple players hitting the open market this week. Because of a failure to reach a prior agreement on a long-term contract extension, left tackle Orlando Brown Jr. was one of them.

As of the publishing of this article, less than 24 hours before the new league year begins on Wednesday at 4:00 p.m. ET, Brown remains unsigned by any NFL team. The Chiefs have made a concerted effort to replace him already, being set to add former Jacksonville Jaguars tackle Jawaan Taylor into the fold on a four-year deal. In a recent appearance on ESPN's NFL Live program, Adam Schefter discussed Brown's situation and how things got to where they were as of Tuesday afternoon: 

"Essentially, it was a case where I think that Orlando Brown Jr. was talking to the Chiefs, a deal didn't get done, the Chiefs moved on with Jawaan Taylor and now Orlando Brown is looking to find a new home. The Bears were in on Mike McGlinchey and didn't get him, he went to Denver. Chicago would seem to make a lot of sense, but he wants a lot of money and some teams were thinking in other areas." 

The Chiefs offered Brown a six-year contract extension worth $139 million an offseason ago, but concerns about the deal's guarantees led to Brown having to play on the franchise tag for the 2022 campaign. His production was mixed over the next several months, though, as he allowed more pressures than any offensive tackle in the league and was Pro Football Focus' No. 31-ranked tackle in pass blocking grade for the year. Brown had some better moments with improved play down the stretch but even in the playoffs, he was far too inconsistent to justify a market-defining extension. The Chiefs, sticking to their guns, didn't tag him and instead allowed him to hit the open market as a free agent.

Brown is a four-time Pro Bowler, making it twice as a member of the Baltimore Ravens and twice in Kansas City. He was a right tackle for Baltimore back in 2019 and performed quite well in year No. 2 on the job, later spending time at both tackle spots in 2020. The Chiefs traded for him in advance of the 2021 NFL Draft and opted to make him their (temporary) go-to option on the left side of the line, although his production came and went for stretches. In a plot twist, Schefter said on NFL Live that one of the reasons why Brown didn't cash in on a massive contract early in free agency was because the league views him as of a right tackle rather than a left tackle: 

"The league views him as a right tackle and he wants to be paid as a left tackle. That also enters into it — there's a whole host of factors here that are playing in. I'll say this also: If you're a free agent, a top free agent, your deal needs to be agreed to, almost always, on the first day of free agency. If it's not agreed to on the first day, from there, the prices usually begin to slide down."

If that viewpoint on the NFL's behalf is indeed true, it's not too difficult to at least partially justify. Brown is a poor athlete by Relative Athletic Score standards and struggled at times to form a compatible duo with Patrick Mahomes, a mobile quarterback who drops deep into the pocket on occasion. It was an unnatural fit, and one that brought into question his ability to be worthy of a top-shelf investment at the position. Kansas City opted against locking him up long-term, and the rest of the league didn't budge in the opening day-plus of the legal tampering period. Brown is expected to join the NFL Live crew on Wednesday afternoon, which could help provide some added clarity and/or perspective.

Read More: Chiefs Tender Jody Fortson as ERFA, Retain Him for 2023

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Chiefs Tender Jody Fortson as ERFA, Retain Him for 2023

Chiefs Tender Jody Fortson as ERFA, Retain Him for 2023

KC brings back one of its supporting tight ends on an inexpensive deal for the upcoming season.

The legal tampering period and open negotiation window during the early stages of NFL free agency is intended for unrestricted free agents to begin contacting teams and iron out potential deals with them. With that said, restricted and exclusive rights free agent news is also an element of the offseason process. Teams have until the new league year begins on March 15 at 4:00 p.m. ET to extend qualifying offers to their RFAs and ERFAs, and the Kansas City Chiefs are getting out ahead of that cutoff with one of their notable tight ends.

Per James Palmer of NFL Network, Kansas City has tendered Jody Fortson as an ERFA:

In the NFL, designated ERFAs are players with fewer than three accrued seasons but their contracts with their respective teams must also be expiring. Fortson, who has been with the Chiefs for multiple years now but has yet to cross that accrued campaign mark, is one of the team's three 2023 ERFAs. He joined quarterback Shane Buechele and offensive tackle Prince Tega Wanogho on that list. Fortson will make a minimum salary on the ERFA tender for the upcoming season assuming he remains with the team.

In 19 career regular-season games as a Chief, Fortson has been targeted 18 times and recorded 14 receptions for 155 yards and four touchdowns. The 2022-23 season was his most successful, as he set career-best marks across the board in volume stats and had three games with multiple receptions. Injuries, though, as they have in recent years, limited Fortson's playing time and subsequent production.

The Chiefs are fond of their 13-personnel (one running back with three tight ends on the field) looks, and Fortson has played a role in that development. His improvement as a blocker and his intriguing athletic profile make him a threat when on the field. Fortson played 184 offensive snaps for the Chiefs in 2022, which amounted to 21% of available reps. He was also on the field for a career-high 181 special teams snaps — 51% of available playing time.

While Fortson is a training camp and preseason favorite, high-level production has yet to manifest itself in a major way during the regular season. Noah Gray emerged as the better tight end No. 2 behind Travis Kelce this past season, and it's possible that the Chiefs search for more depth in the upcoming 2023 NFL Draft. Bringing back Fortson was a no-brainer type of decision due to the price point and his familiarity with the team, however, and it also doesn't limit Kansas City from doing anything else at tight end moving forward if they so choose.

Read More: Buzz Surrounding Laremy Tunsil and Chiefs Reportedly ‘More Than Rumors'

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Buzz Surrounding Laremy Tunsil and Chiefs Reportedly ‘More Than Rumors'

Buzz Surrounding Laremy Tunsil and Chiefs Reportedly ‘More Than Rumors'

KC reportedly held discussions with Houston about acquiring their Pro Bowl left tackle.

The Kansas City Chiefs are signing offensive tackle Jawaan Taylor to a hefty four-year deal once the new league year begins on Wednesday but before that news was announced, the team was reportedly at least making an attempt to learn more about a possible high-profile trade with the Houston Texans.

According to Aaron Wilson of KPRC 2 in Houston from Monday afternoon, Pro Bowl left tackle Laremy Tunsil was discussed in trade talks with the Chiefs. The true extent of those talks is a bit unclear, as is Tunsil's official availability, but the reported interest on the Chiefs' side indicated at the time that the franchise was moving on from Orlando Brown Jr. Appearing on KPRC on Tuesday morning with Chancellor Johnson, Wilson doubled down on his previous report and declared that there was more to the buzz than some originally thought:

"More than rumors. It doesn't mean that they will actually have a deal, though. The two sides, I'm told, have spoken — Brett Veach and Nick Caserio — so they've had some conversations. Whether that culminates in a deal, we don't know, but they've had those kind of conversations. It's been explored."

Tunsil, who started his career with the Miami Dolphins before serving as a mainstay along Houston's offensive line for the past four seasons, turns 29 in August. The veteran is a three-time Pro Bowler who started all 17 games for the Texans in 2022 and surrendered just one sack and 17 pressures on the year. Additionally, Tunsil was Pro Football Focus' highest-graded offensive lineman in the league in their pass blocking metric. It was another outstanding season for the former first-round pick, and one that coincides with his prime as an athlete.

Tunsil has just one year left on his current contract, being accountable for a staggering $35.2 million cap hit in 2023 as the deal is constructed. He's eligible for an extension that would almost surely make him the highest-paid left tackle in all of football (and deservedly so), but reports of serious progress with the Texans have been nonexistent.

Given Taylor's manageable year-one cap hit of $5.825M, that provides Kansas City with a bit more added flexibility as the franchise proceeds this offseason. Finding a way to fit a player of Tunsil's caliber (and cost) into the picture, though, would require some additional calculus and a contract extension in the process. Wilson isn't completely sold on the idea of Taylor being moved to left tackle — a shift that would all but preclude a Tunsil trade from making sense — and he also had a bit of backstory on the Chiefs' efforts on the Tunsil front:

"The Chiefs, while they're saying that Jawaan Taylor is going to move from right tackle to left tackle and he's so athletic and can do it, we'll see. I think some of that stuff was to throw people off the sniff [of Tunsil]. I heard very authoritatively that the Chiefs were even talking to people that know Tunsil to try to get some kind of gauge for 'What's he all about? What's he like?' So they were doing their due diligence and doing homework on Laremy Tunsil, even the last few days."

In all reality, a Tunsil trade seems rather unlikely at this point. It appears that the Chiefs inquired about his availability before ultimately opting to sign Taylor, and that could effectively extinguish the possibility of talks advancing any further now. It's important to keep in mind that talks don't always signal notable progress, so both sides may have had considerable work to do even if Taylor was never brought in by Kansas City. A Tunsil trade would probably give Patrick Mahomes the best offensive line in the NFL, but don't count on it happening.

Read More: Free Agent WRs ‘Blowing Up Patrick Mahomes’s Phone’

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Free Agent WRs ‘Blowing Up Patrick Mahomes’s Phone’

Free Agent WRs ‘Blowing Up Patrick Mahomes’s Phone’

Wideouts around the league have been in touch with Mahomes and want to join the Super Bowl champs.

The Kansas City Chiefs' wide receiver depth chart had plenty of new faces last season, and the dynamic of the 2023 offseason presents an opportunity for a few different paths.

If general manager Brett Veach goes one way, he can bring back a good deal of the same group that helped Kansas City win Super Bowl LVII against the Philadelphia Eagles. JuJu Smith-Schuster, Mecole Hardman and Justin Watson are free agents, but reporting all along has been consistent with the team wanting Smith-Schuster to return on a new contract. If that happens, it leaves a quartet of him, Marquez Valdes-Scantling, Kadarius Toney and Skyy Moore in the fold as the team's top four wideouts. 

If Veach goes another way, he can overhaul the position once again to a minor degree. By letting Smith-Schuster go and bringing in someone else to help lead the group, Kansas City would still have Valdes-Scantling, Toney and Moore in the picture but also wouldn't have the same continuity from 2022. Turning over the top of the receiver room for the second offseason in a row could provide new possibilities in 2023 and potentially beyond. There's also a third path that Veach can take, though: re-sign Smith-Schuster and keep the door open for another move to be made at receiver.

Appearing on Good Morning Football on Monday, James Palmer of NFL Network reiterated that the Chiefs' goal this offseason is to keep their core group of receivers — the aforementioned four — intact. With that said, he added that receivers from around the league are interested in playing for Kansas City. As far as quarterback Patrick Mahomes is concerned, Palmer says that wideouts have been "calling him this entire offseason" asking if they can come play with him on the Chiefs. While Palmer admits that he isn't alluding to a signing directly, he continued by saying the possibility of an external addition is "out there on the table."

"It doesn't mean they're done looking. It doesn't mean also that other wide receivers, I'm told, are not blowing up Patrick Mahomes's phone. To my understanding, guys have been calling him this entire offseason saying, 'Can I come to Kansas City? Can I come and play with you guys?'

"That is a real thing that is happening. I'm not saying that they're adding anybody else. Brett Veach is one of these general managers that will always be weighing every single option that is out there on the table. There are receivers that are interested but right now, the plan appears to be bringing back everybody that they were finishing the season with which isn't a terrible thing to have but again, when everybody wants to come, maybe a discount could be there in play and could be interesting."

Any plan to add a noteworthy veteran receiver other than Smith-Schuster into the room for this upcoming season appears to be a secondary one. Veach is a rather opportunistic general manager, however, and is never afraid to take a risk or make a big-time move if he thinks someone from the outside can help put the Chiefs in the best position to win a Super Bowl.

With a little bit of flexibility at Veach's disposal, Palmer's report should further emphasize that Kansas City wants to surround Mahomes with a suitable group of weapons. If things break down with Smith-Schuster, and potentially even if they don't, that could mean adding another piece to the puzzle. Because of the team's confidence in Toney and its 2022 draft investment in Moore, though, perhaps standing pat is indeed their ultimate route of choice.

Read More: Chiefs Re-Sign Tershawn Wharton to One-Year Deal

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Report: Chiefs Re-Sign Tershawn Wharton to One-Year Deal

Report: Chiefs Re-Sign Tershawn Wharton to One-Year Deal

Kansas City brings back its 24-year-old defensive lineman on a contract for the 2023 campaign.

Near the very end of the first day of this year's NFL legal tampering/open negotiation window for free agency, the Kansas City Chiefs are still busy checking items off their to-do list.

On Monday afternoon, it was announced that general manager Brett Veach and his staff came to an agreement with offensive tackle Jawaan Taylor on a four-year deal worth $80 million. Late on Monday night, Ari Meirov of The 33rd Team reported some news regarding Steve Spagnuolo's front four on defense. According to Meirov, defensive lineman Tershawn Wharton is returning to Kansas City on a one-year deal worth $2M: 

The #Chiefs are re-signing DL Tershawn Wharton to a 1-year, $2M deal, per source. 24-year old former UDFA has racked up five sacks in three years for KC. He'll continue to develop with the Champs. - Ari Meirov (@MySportsUpdate) on Monday, March 13, 2023 at 10:32 p.m. CT

Aaron Wilson of KPRC 2 Houston expands on Meirov's report, detailing that the contract contains the following:

  • $850,000 guaranteed
  • $500,000 signing bonus
  • $1.01M base salary ($350,000 guaranteed)
  • $25,000 per-game active roster bonuses
  • $90,000 workout bonus
  • $975,000 playing time incentive 

Wharton, who was a restricted free agent this offseason, is coming off a 2022 campaign that saw him tear his ACL during the team's Week 5 win over the Las Vegas Raiders. The Missouri S&T product had one sack in five games before suffering the injury, recording eight tackles on the season. He has five combined sacks in 38 career regular-season games as a Chief, logging 1,169 snaps along Spagnuolo's defensive line over the past three seasons.

The Chiefs had hopes that in year No. 3 on the job, Wharton would be able to serve as a role player and situational pass-rusher along with the likes of Mike Danna and Carlos Dunlap. That didn't end up being the case for long, but now he'll potentially receive a similar opportunity in 2023 due to Dunlap and Frank Clark hitting the open market. Wharton turns 25 in June and will be roughly 11 months removed from his ACL injury by the time next season begins, which could leave the door open for him to reclaim a role on defense moving forward. With that in mind, the playing time incentive is something to monitor.

Read More: Mecole Hardman Explains Desire for Expanded Role in 2023

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Report: Chiefs to Sign Jawaan Taylor to Four-Year Deal

Report: Chiefs to Sign Jawaan Taylor to Four-Year Deal

Kansas City replaces a loss at offensive tackle with a hefty contract for a 25-year-old former Jaguar.

The NFL's 2023 free agency period is picking up considerable speed, as the league's legal tampering period and open negotiation window is open for clubs to speak with representatives for players hitting unrestricted free agency. Very shortly after it was reported by Ari Meirov of The 33rd Team that the Kansas City Chiefs were set to lose right tackle Andrew Wylie to the Washington Commanders on a three-year deal, another piece of news hit the wire.

According to Adam Schefter of ESPN, Kansas City has reached an agreement with former Jacksonville Jaguars offensive tackle Jawaan Taylor on a four-year contract. Schefter says the deal is worth $80 million and includes $60M guaranteed: 

Former Jaguars’ OT Jawaan Taylor reached agreement on a four-year, $80 million deal, including $60M gtd, with the KC Chiefs, per sources. Deal negotiated and confirmed by Drew Rosenhaus and Robert Bailey. - Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) on Monday, March 13, 2023 at 1:12 p.m. CT

The initial thought from many was that Taylor would be taking Wylie's spot along the offensive line, but an interesting development was revealed on Monday afternoon. Per James Palmer of NFL Network, the Chiefs are officially moving on from left tackle Orlando Brown Jr. and expect Taylor to take his place and serve as Patrick Mahomes's blindside protector.

Aaron Wilson of KPRC 2 Houston reported earlier that Houston Texans left tackle Laremy Tunsil was discussed in a potential trade with Kansas City, but the addition of Taylor effectively puts that on the back burner. Albert Breer of The MMQB confirmed the plan of moving Taylor to left tackle.

Taylor, 25, was a second-round pick by Jacksonville back in 2019. He's started every available game in his career thus far, and the 2022-23 campaign was a very solid one for him. Allowing just five sacks and 16 pressures overall (per Pro Football Focus), he did an admirable job protecting up-and-coming quarterback Trevor Lawrence and will now attempt to do the same for Mahomes while potentially switching sides along the line. In return, Taylor receives a hefty payday from Kansas City that checks in below the average annual value of what the franchise offered Brown an offseason ago.

According to Field Yates of ESPN, the breakdown of Taylor's deal with the Chiefs is as follows:

  • $18.9M signing bonus
  • $1.08M base salary in 2023
  • $20K workout bonus in 2023
  • $19.5M base salary + $500K workout bonus for 2024-2026
  • $20M cash due every year of deal

Read More: Chris Jones Tweets Thoughts on Long-Term Future With Chiefs

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