Offseason In Review: Kansas City Chiefs

Notable signings:

Notable losses:

Draft picks:

  • Dee Ford, DE, Auburn (1.23): Signed
  • Phillip Gaines, CB, Rice (3.87): Signed
  • De’Anthony Thomas, RB, Oregon (4.124): Signed
  • Aaron Murray, QB, Georgia (5.163): Signed
  • Zach Fulton, G, Tennessee (6.193): Signed
  • Laurent Duvernay-Tardif, OT, McGill (6.200): Signed


On December 30th, 2012, 3 days after six Chiefs had been named to the AFC Pro Bowl team, the Romeo Crennel-led squad crawled to a 38-3 defeat against the Broncos to end their season at 2-14. The team’s shortcomings were obvious: Matt Cassel and Brady Quinn took turns leading a completely stagnant offense while the defense vastly underperformed against the expectation set by the play of its four Pro Bowlers. The detrimental organizational culture had long-been questioned– with horror stories of General Manager Scott Pioli‘s intense nature and accusations of inter-departmental spying. Kansas City fans had even formed a group that received national media attention called ‘Save Our Chiefs’ that organized blackouts at home games and plane-dragged banners demanding Pioli’s firing. A regime change was imminent.

Fast forward four months:  General manager John Dorsey and head coach Andy Reid have been hired, bringing with them high profile assistant coaches Doug Pederson, Bob Sutton, and Brad Childress, and Alex Smith has taken the reins at quarterback. A nine-game win-streak to start the 2013 Season affirmed that the massive overhaul from owner Clark Hunt had been a decidedly successful move. Although the season ended in a catastrophic Wild Card round loss to the Colts, the Chiefs entered the 2013-2014 offseason in a surprisingly stable position given the dire straits in which the franchise had found itself in 12 months prior. That said– the Chiefs still moved some pieces around this past offseason.

On the offensive side of the ball, the Chiefs’ O-line will have the most new faces of any positional unit heading into next season after the departures of three starters- Branden Albert to the Dolphins, Jon Asamoah to the Falcons, and Geoff Schwartz to the Giants. 2013 first overall pick Eric Fisher will slide over to left tackle to replace Albert, while ex-Colt Jeff Linkenbach and third-year Donald Stephenson, a former swingman, will comprise the new right side of the line.

One of the biggest headlines of the Chiefs’ offseason was the decision to let Pro Bowl return man Dexter McCluster become a free agent and sign with the Tennessee Titans. One would reasonably suspect the Chiefs to try out rookie speedster De’Anthony Thomas to fill McCluster’s void. Free agent signing Weston Dressler, who has dominated the CFL for the past few years, has also been projected to take over some of McCluster’s leftover snaps. The return of 2013 third-round pick Travis Kelce, who missed his entire rookie season with a knee injury, at the tight end position could also prove to be a boon to the offense, given Reid’s historical propensity toward using tight ends.

Defensively, the Chiefs shook up their secondary significantly, parting ways with Pro Bowl cornerback Brandon Flowers, free safety Kendrick Lewis, and nickelback Dunta Robinson. Many expect 2014 third-round pick Phillip Gaines out of Rice and hard-nosed veteran Husain Abdullah to factor significantly into the Chiefs’ 2014 defensive backfield.

Up front, the Chiefs’ defense made a few moves along the line, which had proved vulnerable at times last season after injuries to Pro Bowl outside linebackers Tamba Hali and Justin Houston. The defensive end position left vacated by former third overall pick Tyson Jackson will be fought over by Allen Bailey and Vance Walker, whom Chiefs fan will recall played with the Raiders last season. The Chiefs also hoped to provide depth to their outside linebacking corps by drafting pass rush specialist Dee Ford in the first round of the 2014 Draft. Additionally, former Alabama standout linebacker Nico Johnson will look to start alongside All Pro Derrick Johnson at the interior of Sutton‘s 3-4 defense.

The Chiefs stayed relatively quiet this offseason: although at one point they mistakenly thought that they had made waves by signing Emmanuel Sanders, the reigning AFC Wild Card team made no major acquisitions despite losing three starters on the offensive line and a Pro Bowl cornerback. In order to succeed, big strides will need to be made by Andy Reid’s young pair of bookend offensive linemen- Stephenson and Fisher. Off the field, Alex Smith’s contract renewal situation will increasingly loom over the franchise until the former 49er receives a new deal.

As long as Jamaal Charles stays healthy, the Kansas City offense possesses one of the most dangerous weapons in the NFL, and the defense should continue to improve after last season’s renaissance. Although the Broncos are still clearly a superior team and will likely dominate the AFC West once again, the Chiefs will be a popular pick to win a return trip to the AFC Wild Card round.

Spotrac and Over The Cap were used in the creation of this post.

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