The Kansas City Chiefs are the front runners to represent the AFC in the Super Bowl this season. With Patrick Mahomes leading the charge as one of the top candidates for the Most Valuable Player Award, the Chiefs are primed for a big postseason.
That being said, there are always opportunities to improve. Dominance does not necessarily justify silence in the offseason.
The Chiefs can look no further than their AFC rivals in New England for an example. The Patriots constantly bring guys in even though the AFC East has been theirs for a decade. Players such as Brandin Cooks, Stephon Gilmore, Cordarrelle Patterson and more.
Kansas City doesn’t need to go crazy if what they have is working, which it is, but there are a handful of players they can target to get better. Here are some options the Chiefs should look at.
5- Tevin Coleman
Tevin Coleman enters free agency after spending the entirety of his career as a member of the Atlanta Falcons. After Atlanta extended Devonta Freeman a few years back, they are unlikely to keep a second highly-paid runner in the fold.
After the Kareem Hunt saga unfolded, Kansas City was stripped of one of its best offensive contributors. Replacing 824 rushing yards through just 11 games isn’t something done overnight.
The fill-ins for Hunt have not been all that poor, as Damien Williams earned himself a two-year extension worth close to $8 million with his play as of late. Spencer Ware is also in the fold but has been sidelined due to injury, giving Williams the floor.
It just isn’t enough to replicate their early season success. In the four games since Hunt was released, they have gone 2-2 after starting 9-2. Coming off their Week 12 bye, they barely scraped by Oakland, one of the worst teams in the league, by a touchdown (40-33) in Week 13. Harrison Butker was the overtime at home against the Ravens, and then they dropped two in a row to the Chargers and Seahawks.
Tevin Coleman brings pass catching ability (31 rec-267 yds-5 td) and rushing efficiency (4.8 ypc) to the table. Now that the Chiefs have decided to keep Williams around, Coleman would make a nice partner and compete for the lead role.
4. Tavon Austin
Since the Rams spent a first round pick on Austin in 2013, he’s failed to replicate his receiving talent he showed at West Virginia. However, he’s showed explosiveness and athleticism during his time with the Rams and now the Cowboys.
The Chiefs already have a freak athlete in Tyreek Hill but a second talent like Austin could make defensive coordinators gasp, if they aren’t already.
Austin is very versatile, showing ability to line up in the backfield as well as out wide. He’d be yet another deep threat for Patrick Mahomes to utilize, especially since Sammy Watkins has showed limited ability to stay off the injury report.
Imagine a reverse or a double reverse with Hill and Austin on the field. Good luck stopping that.
3. Mark Ingram
Ingram’s situation in New Orleans is similar to Coleman’s predicament in Atlanta. Ingram is clearly positioned as the second back behind Alvin Kamara, though Ingram still gets plenty of run between the tackles.
Ingram may be a nicer option than Coleman because of his downhill style, as he’s shown ability to consistently shake off arm tackles and fight for extra yardage. Coleman doesn’t bring that to the table, as he’s one of the worst backs in the league after contact.
If Kansas City can bring a bulldozer like Ingram into the fold, someone currently in the KC backfield will wind up unemployed.
The 29-year-old will to command more money than Coleman is, which will make it harder to bring him in. He had back-to-back 1,000 yard seasons in 2016 and 2017. If not for a four-game suspension to begin the 2018 campaign, he likely would’ve made it there again.
2. Anthony Barr
Without a doubt, the defense is the biggest thing that needs work in Kansas City. The struggles without Eric Berry were felt, as the Chiefs have surrendered 413.1 yards per game, good for second-most behind the Cincinnati Bengals’ 418.3. Allowing 27.9 points per game, the fourth-most in the league, doesn’t help either. Good thing they have an offense that has registered 530 points.
Anthony Barr has been one of the main contributors on a Vikings defense that has ranked near the top of the NFL since he arrived in 2014. If he enters the fold in Kansas City, the defense will be much improved.
Kansas City’s problem isn’t their pass rush, as Chris Jones and Dee Ford are both in the league’s top-ten in that category. Barr is having a down year by his standards, and could hit the market without expecting a grand payday.
If the Chiefs can outbid his other potential suitors, which there will be plenty of, they will have themselves a nice improvement in the middle of their defense.
1. Jadeveon Clowney
Once again, the defensive line in Kansas City is solid thanks to Chris Jones and Dee Ford. However, Ford is a free agent and will command one heck of a payday before his age 28 season.
If Houston somehow decides they don’t want to use the franchise tag on the former Gamecock star, then the Chiefs would be wise to enter the bidding war.
Clowney has been one of the league’s best edge rushers when healthy and he’ll only be 26 when the 2019 season kicks off. If Kansas City is going to spend some money, why not buy the younger talent? Mahomes will be keeping this team relevant for the foreseeable future and the defense needs to be competent if he’s to wear any rings.
If Dee Ford re-signs with the Chiefs, Clowney won’t be going to Missouri. However, if Ford walks and breaks another team’s wallet, don’t be surprised if KC goes in on Clowney to keep their defensive line formidable. After all, the line is one of the few bright spots on an otherwise subpar defensive unit.