The defending Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs suddenly find themselves in a precarious position at wide receiver.
Kansas City lost Mecole Hardman and JuJu Smith-Schuster during NFL free agency. As of right now, an unproven youngster in Skyy Moore and former New York Giants first-round bust Kadarius Toney would be among Kansas City’s top-three wide receivers.
We know very well that reigning NFL and Super Bowl MVP Patrick Mahomes can get water from a rock. He’s a magician on the field.
Even then, there’s every reason to believe that always active Chiefs general manager Brett Veach is going to add a starter-caliber veteran. There’s also no reason to believe that Kansas City will avoid a wide receiver early in the 2023 NFL Draft. Below, we look at four options for the defending champs.
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Kansas City Chiefs sign Odell Beckham Jr.
This seems to be the most obvious option when it comes to the veteran market for Kansas City. Beckham Jr. sat out all of last season with a torn ACL after winning the Super Bowl with the Los Angeles Rams back in February of 2022. The three-time Pro Bowler has made it clear he wants to join a Super Bowl contender. Kansas City obviously qualifies.
With that said, there’s a couple drawbacks to this possibility. First off, OBJ could very well opt to sign with the New York Jets once they ultimately land four-time MVP Aaron Rodgers. Secondly, the veteran is said to be asking for $15 million annually on a contract. Kansas City has been in cost-cutting mode this offseason and might not be able to afford that.
Related: 2023 Kansas City Chiefs mock draft
Defending champs find perfect fit in NFL Draft
Boasting the 31st overall pick in the draft, it’s highly unlikely that any of the top-three receivers will be available to Kansas City unless the team looks to trade up. We’re also under the belief that a defending champion would want to add an immediate impact player in the first round. Historically, rookie wide receivers have not played at that level.
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Instead, we expect Kansas City to target a player at this position with its second-round selection (63rd overall). Of those potentially available at the end of Round 2, Tennessee’s Trey Palmer makes the most sense. His short-area quickness and elusiveness after the catch is a perfect fit in Andy Reid’s offense. Palmer put up north of 1,000 yards with nine touchdowns while primarily catching passes from another dynamic quarterback in Hendon Hooker last season.
Related: 2023 NFL trade tracker with grades
Kansas City Chiefs pull off DeAndre Hopkins trade
At this point it’s safe to say that the Arizona Cardinals are not going to get their initial asking price for Hopkins. The market for his services has decreased significantly in recent weeks with multiple potential landing spots dropping out of the sweepstakes.
If the Chiefs can nab Hopkins for a couple mid-round picks, there’s absolutely no reason to believe they won’t look in this direction. Said move wouldn’t preclude adding a wide receiver in the NFL Draft, either. The idea of bringing Nuke into the mix on the cheap would be tremendous over the short-term. After all, the former All-Pro averaged 93 receptions for 1,251 yards from 2013-20.
Related: Moves the Kansas City Chiefs must make to maintain dynasty
Brandon Aiyuk heads to Kansas City
Brett Veach has exhausted first-round picks for win-now players a couple times over the past several years. It would not be a surprise if he kicked the tires on this possibility ahead of the 2023 NFL Draft. The thought process is simple. Can a rookie provide the same type of short-term production as someone like Aiyuk? It’s highly unlikely.
- Brandon Aiyuk stats (2022): 78 receptions, 1,015 yards, 8 TD, 68.4% catch rate
Still only 25 years old, Aiyuk put up this production catching passes from the likes of Trey Lance, Jimmy Garoppolo and rookie Brock Purdy last season. Imagine what he’d be able to do with Mahomes. The youngster could also be under team control through the 2024 season.
In this scenario, Kansas City offers up a similar bounty to what the Philadelphia Eagles paid for A.J. Brown during the 2022 NFL Draft. That is to say, a first-and-third-round pick. If Aiyuk is put on the block, this would be the Kansas City Chiefs’ best option.
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