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How Kansas City Chiefs have improved this offseason

Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

The Kansas City Chiefs’ offseason, which has mostly been defined by the investigation into All-Pro wide receiver Tyreek Hill, has been quietly productive. Perhaps it hasn’t been all that quiet, just more-so drowned out by the tumultuous and harrowing audio tape of Hill, which seem to implicate the wide receiver’s involvement in the injury to his son.

That’s not really what this is about, though it would be irresponsible to talk about Kansas City’s offseason without acknowledging the situation. Much of what the Chiefs have done since the release of the tapes have been telling about the direction of the offseason and the team’s current mindset: the Chiefs fully intend to win now — with or without Hill.

They’ve cut aging, expensive players, made marquee trades and gambled on draft picks. The Chiefs know they’ll be the heir to the Patriots in the AFC if they play their cards right, and that’s exactly what they’re trying to do.

The rundown: Let’s take a look at what the Chiefs have done and what they should do next.

  • We’re going to take a broad look at Kansas City’s transactions as a whole, as well as breaking down important individual transactions like the trade for former Seattle defensive end Frank Clark.  
  • Despite their rather busy offseason, the Chiefs still have work to do. We’ll look at what needs to happen for the Chiefs to solidify themselves as Super Bowl favorites.
  • When it’s all said and done, the Chiefs will get a grade for what they have and haven’t done, rating where they stand today versus where they stood a few months ago.

Fitting farewells: The Chiefs said goodbye to a few players that needed to go.

Holes to fill: Some key departures that need to be addressed.

  • Center Mitch Morse signing with the Buffalo Bills went somewhat unnoticed this offseason, but will be all too evident once the season starts. The Bills made him the highest paid center in the league for a reason.
  • Chris Conley signing with the Jacksonville Jaguars didn’t seem like a huge loss at the time, but with the aforementioned uncertainty surrounding Tyreek Hill, Kansas City’s receiving corps is suddenly an area of weakness, or at the very least, not near as strong as it was a few months ago.
  • Backup tight ends aren’t something that will generally make or break a team’s offense, but replacing Demetrius Harris, who signed with the Cleveland Browns, could be easier said than done. The Chiefs did sign tight end Blake Bell, though he just 30 career receptions and zero touchdowns in four NFL seasons.

Reinforcements: A bolstered, new-look defense has arrived.

Other acquisitions: A few other notable moves that could put the Chiefs on top.

Shopping list: What Kansas City could still use heading into the season.

  • Realistically, the Chiefs probably still need a cornerback. They’ve got Kendall Fuller, who was solid in his first season in Kansas City, and they’ve got Breeland, who’s more of a gamble than a sure-thing. Charvarius Ward seems to be up-and-coming, but the Chiefs would be better suited with an established corner. Someone like Marcus Peters would fit really well, if only the Chiefs hadn’t traded him for relatively nothing.
  • Staying in the secondary, the Chiefs could use another safety to work opposite Mathieu.
  • A trade for Patrick Peterson, as suggested by John Breech of CBS Sports, would be costly but would secure the Chiefs as the best team in the AFC.
  • As pointed out earlier, the back-up tight end spot could use improvement, perhaps through a trade for Minnesota’s Kyle Rudolph, who is reportedly available.
  • Additionally, the Chiefs could use another established linebacker.

Final grades: Assessing the Chiefs on their offseason so far and expectations going forward.

  • Of course, the offseason isn’t quite finished, but it seems likely that most notable acquisitions that could happen have already happened, barring an unforeseen trade. The Chiefs have done well.
  • Cutting ties with franchise greats was a tough choice, but a necessary one, and grabbing Mathieu and Clark was a breath of fresh air for Chiefs fans. The team that won 12 games a season ago looks like it has improved — Hill’s status notwithstanding.
  • And, of course, they still employ the reigning MVP at quarterback.

We’ll give the Chiefs’ front office an A- for its work this offseason.

  • Failing to sign add an established corner or trading up to draft one early was the only thing keeping Kansas City from an A+. Anything short of another AFC title game appearance would be a disappointment for the Kansas City Chiefs.
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