NFL Offseason Outlook: AFC Champion Chiefs Look For O-Line Help, Cap Space This Offseason

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February 7th was a tough day for Kansas City Chiefs fans all over the world, as the team was ready to be crowned back-to-back Super Bowl champs and cement their legacy as one of the best teams in the National Football League.

Instead, the beautiful afternoon in Tampa turned dark for the Chiefs and “Chiefs Kingdom.” For the first time in a long time, they were given a taste of their own medicine and were held without a touchdown in a 31-9 loss that ended their hopeful dynasty.

Sure the Chiefs could use the Super Bowl loss as motivation for 2021, and they could be right back in the championship game come February 2022 and win their second title in three seasons.

That doesn’t mean that Chiefs fans should make Super Bowl reservations right away though, as this team has plenty of work to do before they are back on the biggest stage next year.

The club has to make decisions on its 23 free agents, and as it stands today, they are projected to be around $15 million over the salary cap in 2021.

After the Buccaneers beat up on their offensive line in the Super Bowl, there’s no doubt that Kansas City has to put emphasis on their O-line and make sure that their franchise QB Patrick Mahomes never has to run for his life like he had to do for three hours in Super Bowl LV.

The line has to be priority number one, as we saw how quickly the injury to Eric Fisher hurt this team and messed up the synergy of the unit overall.

Fisher is not the only one who could be gone from this line though. The club could also dump tackle Mitchell Schwartz, which would then force them to find a couple linemen to protect Mahomes for 2021 and years to come.

Schwartz would count $9.8 million against the Chiefs’ 2021 salary cap. If the team dumps him, they could save $6.1 million and leave behind $3.8 million in dead money.

If the Chiefs get rid of Fisher, they could save around $12 million in salary cap space in 2021, money that could be used to upgrade the line as a whole.

Two other players who could save the Chiefs money this offseason are running back Damien Williams, who would save $2.2 million in cap space, and defensive tackle Derrick Nnadi, who would save the Chiefs $2.2 million in 2021 salary cap space and leave $200,000 in dead money.

Let’s take a look at the Chiefs’ 23 free agents:

RB Darrel Williams
RB Le’Veon Bell
RB Anthony Sherman
WR Byron Pringle
WR Demarcus Robinson
WR Sammy Watkins
TE Deon Yelder
TE Ricky Seals-Jones
RG Mike Remmers
C Austin Reiter
C Daniel Kilgore
LG Andrew Wylie
LG Kelechi Osemele
LG Stefen Wisniewski
EDGE Tanoh Kpassagnon
EDGE Taco Charlton
IDL Mike Pennel
LB Ben Niemann
LB Damien Wilson
CB Charvarius Ward
CB Bashaud Breeland
CB Antonio Hamilton
S Daniel Sorensen

Offseason Outlook: Most NFL insiders say that the Chiefs are likely to stay away from using a tag this offseason, meaning that for these free agents, it’s either ink a new deal or bust.

The club might be the best team in the AFC, but there’s no question they have needs that they will have to fill in free agency, the draft or via trade.

In addition to the offensive line, there is also a need for a cornerback or two, an edge rusher and a wide receiver for depth purposes. Adding a defensive lineman wouldn’t hurt either.

Putting pressure on the quarterback should be something the Chiefs look to do a lot more of in 2021 since Tom Brady basically sat back in the pocket for way too long on Super Bowl Sunday.

The first thing that this team will have to figure out is their cap situation, and as stated above, it’s likely they are going to have to release a couple players just to have cash to spend.

GM Brett Veach and Coach Andy Reid will do whatever they can to make sure they don’t leave any stone unturned when it comes to keeping the Chiefs’ roster one of the best in the league.

Expect a number of moves this offseason but for the Chiefs to enter 2021 with one of the best rosters in the AFC and the entire NFL.

Written by Matt Loede

Matt has been a part of the Cleveland Sports landscape working in the media since 1994 when he graduated from broadcasting school. His coverage beats include the Cleveland Indians, Cleveland Browns and Cleveland Cavaliers. He's written three books, and won the "2020 AP Sports Stringer Lifetime Service Award."

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