The Chiefs’ offseason roster improvements show why they continue to be one of the league’s elite teams.
The term “offseason” in the National Football League is basically a misnomer. While there are no games, so much goes on between the months of February and August. Each month in the offseason has its own event or team function that determines so much of what happens during the season. From the frenzy of free agency to the draft to various team activities, there’s always something to keep football fans entertained.
Fortunately, for Chiefs Kingdom, there’s always the possibly of something big happening at any given moment. The reason why is because the organization has become so aggressive in recent years. Under general manager Brett Veach’s leadership, the Chiefs seem to have taken on a bold new attitude. It wasn’t very long ago that the Chiefs seemed pedestrian in their approach to offseason football.
Now, the offseason offers a lot more excitement than it used to. Take this for example: the Chiefs went from a completely busted offensive line to being completely reworked only halfway through the offseason. What often takes teams years to repair was done in months in Kansas City. Granted, no one knows yet how this revamped offensive line will perform, but it certainly gives a ton of hope moving into the 2021 season. So, after a flurry of roster-bolstering moves this offseason, the roster looks even better headed into the season.
It didn’t take long to see the effects of that embarrassing Super Bowl loss in February. Within weeks, Veach was already making bold moves, which included releasing both of their long-time starting offensive tackles. He then wasted no time in bringing in some pieces to begin the rebuild process. Former New England Patriot and All-Pro, Joe Thuney, was brought in to anchor the left guard spot. That move was then followed up by signing another former All-Pro guard in Kyle Long.
The fun didn’t stop there, though. Veach then pulled off what could be his best trade yet in getting Orlando Brown from the Baltimore Ravens. Although it cost this year’s first-round draft pick, he’s a proven quantity that’ll give the team a two-time Pro Bowl left tackle at only 25 years old. The sixth round of the draft then brought in Tennessee guard, Trey Smith, in what’s likely the steal of the draft. While there’s still questions on how exactly this line looks and who starts, the amount of talent and depth is without question.
The KC Chiefs went from a broken offensive line to one of the better position groups in the NFL.
Even though rebuilding the offensive line was clearly the goal, Veach didn’t ignore needs on the defensive side of the ball either. The biggest move was signing free agent and former Seattle Seahawk, Jarran Reed. This was a key signing as it brought in a very talented defensive tackle who essentially signed for less to compete for a Super Bowl win. His presence along that defensive line gives this defense a major boost in getting after opposing quarterbacks.
If there was another position of real need heading into the offseason for Kansas City, it was likely at linebacker. Fortunately, the Chiefs were able to get one of the most talented linebackers in the second round this year’s draft in Missouri’s Nick Bolton. It may take a little time, but it wouldn’t be surprising to see Bolton starting some games this season earlier rather than later. If he and last year’s second-round draft pick, Willie Gay, can grow together, they’ll become one of the better linebacker tandems in the entire league.
To shore up the back end of the defense, Veach brought in former Broncos veteran safety, Will Parks, and then worked out a trade with Minnesota to bring in cornerback Mike Hughes. Hughes is a 2018 first-round draft pick that Kansas City acquired in a swap of sixth and seventh round draft picks. While Hughes has struggled with injuries, it sounds like he’s healthy and should be ready for a fresh start on a new team. The Parks signing likely won’t move the needle much, but the Hughes signing has the potential to pay big dividends.
It’s interesting to think that the Chiefs weren’t in a good salary cap situation headed into the offseason. Now, only three months later, their salary cap situation looks very manageable and they’ve even upgraded their roster in the process. That really says a lot about how well this organization is ran. One thing is for sure – the Kansas City Chiefs head into 2021 with a much improved roster.