Chiefs Nation can be excused for simply basking in their Super Bowl win less than two months ago.
The 38-35 win over imposing Philadelphia in Super Bowl LVII burnished the Chiefs’ standing as a truly great team that might be on its way to being the dominant franchise of the decade with two Lombardi Trophies, three Super Bowl appearances and a near-miss in an AFC Championship game, all just since the 2019 season.
However, as the giddy fan base looks ahead – and aren’t fans always looking ahead? – the Chiefs that walked off the field triumphant in Glendale, Ariz., are missing some key components that helped make them winners – such is life in the 21st century NFL.
There is no Missouri sports betting at the moment but legislation could be passed to give the state equal footing with neighboring Kansas, which launched last year.
Whatever Kansas City needs to do to prepare for 2023, they are the decided Super Bowl favorite on the national front at BetMGM at +550 and at Caesars Sportsbook at +600. To win the AFC, the Chiefs are +300 at BetMGM and +350 at Caesars.
Free Agency Hit OL, WR for Chiefs
Looking at the roster, the glaring losses in free agency were at key offensive positions, namely tackle and wide receiver.
Anyone who watched quarterback Patrick Mahomes get mauled in the Super Bowl LV loss to Tampa Bay knows that even the presumptive next GOAT needs some bodyguards as the Bucs exploited the overmatched Chiefs offensive line in that 31-9 rout two years ago
So, the losses of starting offensive left tackle Orlando Brown Jr. and right tackle Andrew Wylie in free agency should have caused some worry for Chiefs fans. On top of that, Mahomes saw his top two wide receivers, Juju Smith-Schuster and Mecole Hardman, also leave in free agency.
The Chiefs already have addressed the tackle issue, at least on the left side, by signing Jawaan Taylor, formerly of Jacksonville, to a fat, four-year, $80 million deal. The depth chart has second-year player Lucas Niang stepping into the right tackle position.
The Chiefs haven’t approached wide receiver with the same sense of urgency but maybe that’s not a must. They did lose more than 100 catches between Smith-Schuster and Hardman, but they still have on their roster Kadarius Toney and Skyy Moore. Toney already has ingratiated himself to Chiefs fans with a key 64-yard punt return in the Super Bowl and a short touchdown reception. Likewise, Moore, a rookie second-round pick, had a 4-yard TD catch in the Big Game.
So, maybe the Chiefs don’t feel desperate enough to mess with locker room chemistry by bringing in a big-timer like free agent Odell Beckham Jr.
Considering the Draft in Chiefs’ Future
In the upcoming draft, the Chiefs have plenty of capital with which to wheel-and-deal. They have 10 picks overall and two in the first two rounds (No. 31 and No. 63).
Kansas City addressed what has become a pressing need for every team, edge rusher, in signing Charles Omenihu (San Francisco) to a two-year, $16 million contract after releasing DE Frank Clark.
However, most importantly in the grand scheme of the NFL, is that the Chiefs locked up Mahomes in 2020 with a 10-year, $450 million contract that gives them some peace of mind as other teams wrestle with the specter of signing franchise quarterbacks.
Lamar Jackson in Baltimore, arriving at the end of his rookie deal, presents the most immediate contract soap opera, but Philadelphia also still needs to come to a long-term deal with Jalen Hurts and so does Cincinnati with Joe Burrow. Both QBs are headed into the last year of their rookie deals. Considering how letting a rookie contract run its course is working out for the Ravens, the Eagles and Bengals don’t need that aggravation.
However, happily for Kansas City fans, that is not a worry for the foreseeable future. Along with perhaps a veteran wideout, Kansas City could use a veteran running back, and coach Andy Reid usually can find one who can run, block and mostly catch.