Kansas City Chiefs: Analyzing the list of AFC West opt outs

Kansas City Chiefs offense and Denver Broncos defense (Photo by Ric Tapia/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
Kansas City Chiefs offense and Denver Broncos defense (Photo by Ric Tapia/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images) /

The opt out deadline has come and gone with eight players from the AFC West, and three Kansas City Chiefs, deciding not to play in 2020.

The COVID-19 pandemic is going to make for an NFL season unlike any we’ve ever seen before. That includes players deciding to opt out and not play in the 2020 season.

Three Kansas City Chiefs players have made the decision not to suit up in 2020 as well as three members of the Las Vegas Raiders and two members of the Denver Broncos. No one from the Los Angeles Chargers opted out.

Out of this bunch, the biggest name not to play this year is Damien Williams from the Chiefs, simply because he played a big part of the team winning Super Bowl LIV with his late game touchdown run that sealed the deal.

The other two Kansas City Chiefs to opt out are offensive linemen.

Laurent Duvernay-Tardif was the first NFL player to opt out and his decision stemmed from working the frontlines during the offseason. LDT would have been the team’s starting right guard, so the decision not to play hurts, but it’s not the end of the world by any means.

Rookie Lucas Niang was one of the last players to opt out and we don’t know how big this decision  is quite yet. It extends his time with the Chiefs now, but at the same time, he could have been a starter in either of the guard spots.

The Broncos only had two players opt out, Ja’Wuan James and Kyle Peko. James is the bigger name and was going to be a key piece along Denver’s offensive line this year, so losing him is huge. Their offensive line has struggled and with an up and coming quarterback, not having James on the right side of the line could be tough. Peko is more of a depth piece, so that’s not a huge loss.

The Raiders won’t have Ukeme Eligwe, D.J. Killings, or Jeremiah Valoaga in 2020. Eligwe was a former Chiefs draft pick and has started just one game during his career. Killings and Valoaga are also depth pieces.

The Chargers were one of three teams to not have anyone opt out.

When looking at this final look of players, the Kansas City Chiefs were obviously hurt the most by it because all three were potential starters. Williams and LDT for sure would have been starters and Niang had a good chance to be a starter along the offensive line too.

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These players did what they felt was best for themselves and their families.