This has been a crazy offseason in Kansas City. As the door closed on the Chiefs 2021 season with their overtime loss to the Cincinnati Bengals in the AFC Championship game, it seemed inevitable that the Chiefs would be a force once again in 2022. This, after all, is a team that has won the AFC West for six straight seasons and the opening Las Vegas Odds have them as favorites to make that seven-straight.
What a difference a few months make. The Denver Broncos have taken a step forwards after signing Russell Wilson and giving them their first legitimate quarterback since Peyton Manning.
The LA Chargers have taken a step forward after adding Khalil Mack, a player who was once the highest paid defensive player in the history of the league.
The Las Vegas Raiders have taken a step forward after giving wide receiver Davante Adams the richest contract in history at his position (at least for a short time).
And the Kansas City Chiefs have taken a step back after losing Tyreek Hill to the Miami Dolphins (in a deal that exceeded the one Adams signed) and seemingly moved on from safety Tyrann Mathieu.
A team with Patrick Mahomes at quarterback will never be discounted but you can make an argument that the Chiefs are now third favorites for the AFC West division. Trading away the most dynamic weapon in the game and moving on from a playmaking safety that has been the face of the defense for three years are bold, bold moves.
The Chiefs are zigging while the rest of the division zags. The other three teams are loading up to win now. The Chiefs knew they couldn’t afford Hill (especially after the Adams contract) and didn’t want to fall into the salary cap hell the Saints and Seahawks are currently dealing with in three or four years’ time. That is when Mahomes will be in his prime and the moves made this season – compiling a mountain of draft picks to bring in young, hungry talent – will need to pay off.
This isn’t an offseason to judge now. It is one to judge in half a decade. If Mahomes still has just one Super Bowl ring at that point it has been a failure. If, however, the zigging has worked, then the Chiefs will be in a very healthy situation long term.
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