The Kansas City Chiefs always seem to be at the center of the offseason's most intriguing storylines. As the 2024 offseason unfolded, the Chiefs, under the watchful eye of General Manager Brett Veach and Head Coach Andy Reid, once again found themselves making really solid moves to strengthen their roster for a possible three-peat. Sure, the Chiefs' offseason has been marked by several interesting re-signings and acquisitions. However, none seems riskier than their decision to sign punter Matt Araiza. This move, despite its potential upside, carries significant risks that could impact the team both on and off the field.

The Chiefs So Far

A few months into the 2024 NFL offseason, the Chiefs have positioned themselves solidly by making strategic investments to bolster their roster with talent, potential, and immediate depth. Veach and his team are laser-focused on securing a third consecutive Super Bowl title, driving their offseason moves so far.

Key offseason victories include retaining Chris Jones and extending Travis Kelce's contract. Additionally, the Chiefs improved their vertical passing game by signing Marquise Brown. Yes, trading away cornerback L'Jarius Sneed was a tough decision. That said, the Chiefs have young cornerback depth to cushion the blow. They also lost linebacker Willie Gay. The Chiefs also had an impressive draft. They selected players in Rounds 1-5 who can potentially start or contribute immediately. Despite some losses, Kansas City has come out ahead this offseason.

Patrick Mahomes with heart eyes looking at Marquise Brown in a Chiefs uniform.

Retaining Jones and trading Sneed, though not directly related, were two impactful decisions this offseason. Adding Brown and first-round pick wide receiver Xavier Worthy to the receiving corps should help Patrick Mahomes return to top form in 2024. Kelce's new contract sets the stage for what could be his final act in Kansas City.

Additionally, creating competition for Wanya Morris at left tackle and re-signing several key defensive linemen enhances the Chiefs' chances of minimizing weak points. This well-crafted strategy may have resulted in the most complete roster Kansas City has had in recent seasons. Even without Sneed and other departures, the team remains strong.

Here we'll look at the one player who is the Kansas City Chiefs' riskiest free agency move in the 2024 NFL offseason.

Matt Araiza, P

Tommy Townsend is widely regarded as one of the best punters in the NFL. However, due to financial constraints and the need to prioritize other signings, the Chiefs decided to let him go. Townsend subsequently signed a two-year, $6 million deal with the Houston Texans.

Enter Matt Araiza, whom the Chiefs signed in the offseason. If he makes the Chiefs’ 53-man roster, he will earn $795,000. Araiza was considered one of the most promising punter prospects in recent memory, but legal issues off the field led to his release from the Buffalo Bills last year.

Job Secured

The Chiefs recently released punter Ryan Rehkow, leaving Araiza as the sole punter on the roster. Although there is a possibility that the Chiefs could bring in another punter to compete with Araiza, it appears likely that he will secure the starting position when the regular season begins.

Araiza initially won the Buffalo Bills' punting job as a rookie in 2022. However, he was cut following a lawsuit accusing him of gang rape during his college years. Despite never being criminally charged and the lawsuit later being dropped, Araiza spent over a year out of the NFL.

At San Diego State, Araiza was highly regarded as the best punter in college football, winning the Ray Guy Award and setting an NCAA record with a 51.2 yards per punt average. He also handled kickoffs and field goals, showcasing his versatility.

The charges against Araiza have since been dropped, prompting the Chiefs to bring him in this offseason as their new punter.

USA; Buffalo Bills place kicker Tyler Bass (2) kicks an extra point with Buffalo Bills punter Matt Araiza (19) holding during the first half at Highmark Stadium
Gregory Fisher-USA TODAY Sports


Again, the off-field risks associated with Araiza cannot be ignored. The NFL is a league that values character and integrity, and the Chiefs are under constant scrutiny. By signing Araiza, the Chiefs are exposing themselves to criticism from fans, media, and advocacy groups. This backlash could distract the team and disrupt the cohesive locker room culture that Andy Reid has meticulously cultivated. Additionally, there is always the risk that new information or further allegations could emerge, reigniting the controversy and putting the Chiefs in a difficult position. The potential for public relations disasters is significant and cannot be underestimated.

Redemption Season

With the off-field issues that ended his stint in Buffalo now behind him, Araiza has a chance to showcase his abilities in the NFL. If he performs as well as he did in college, he could become one of the league's top punters this season.

The Chiefs appear confident in Araiza's potential. His impressive college stats include 79 punts and making 50 out of 68 field goals. His versatility could also prove valuable if their current kicker, Harrison Butker, ever faces injuries.

Araiza's path to redemption and success in the NFL seems clearer now. The Chiefs are aiming for a three-peat when they kick off the season on September 5 against the Baltimore Ravens. Araiza's powerful leg could be a significant asset in their campaign.

Looking Ahead

The Kansas City Chiefs have made several significant moves this offseason. However, the signing of Matt Araiza stands out as the riskiest. His exceptional punting ability offers a tantalizing on-field advantage, but the off-field baggage and potential for controversy present a substantial gamble. As the 2024 NFL season approaches, the success of this decision will hinge not only on Araiza’s performance. It also depends on the Chiefs’ ability to manage the accompanying scrutiny and maintain their focus on winning. The stakes are high, and only time will tell if this bold move will pay off or backfire in spectacular fashion. For a team with Super Bowl aspirations, the margin for error is razor-thin, and every decision is amplified under the spotlight of championship expectations.