Chiefs revel in Super Bowl win, then get into offseason work
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Andy Reid isn’t done yet. Patrick Mahomes isn’t going anywhere, either.
Chad Henne is heading off in retirement but otherwise the Kansas City Chiefs have very few holes to address heading into the offseason, which is why they already have been tabbed the favorites to defend their Super Bowl title next year.
It’s also bringing up the subject of dynasty.
The Chiefs are the first franchise to host five consecutive championship games, winning the AFC three times and now twice hoisting the Lombardi Trophy. Their latest performance may have been their best: They played a near-perfect second half Sunday night to rally from a 10-point deficit for a 38-35 victory over the Philadelphia Eagles.
“I’m not going to say dynasty yet,” Mahomes said, but only because, “we’re not done.”
As the Chiefs enjoy a parade through downtown Kansas City on Wednesday, then head into the offseason, here are some of the biggest decisions that general manager Brett Veach and Reid are facing:
The Chiefs tried last offseason to reach an agreement with left tackle Orlando Brown Jr. on a long-term deal, and he wound up playing this season on the franchise tag for about $16.6 million. Brown was excellent most of the season, too, posting a pass-block win rate of nearly 92% while helping Mahomes set a career high for yards passing.
The Chiefs will try to get that long-term deal done this offseason, but the pressure is squarely on their side of the ledger, because while the option of tagging Brown a second time exists, it would be prohibitively expensive.
“I was brought here to win championships and year after year that’s the plan,” Brown said. “I’m so blessed and so fortunate to have the opportunity to do these things with this group of men. It’s what I was brought here for, to win championships.”
OTHER FREE AGENTS
The Chiefs gave wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster what amounted to a one-year prove-it deal worth a paltry $3.76 million for this season, and he massively outplayed it. Smith-Schuster would like to remain in Kansas City, and the Chiefs would prefer not to completely rebuild their wide receiver corps, but his play this season likely warrants a significant deal.
“I’m not the type of guy who cares about stats, catches, who gets the ball or whatnot,” Smith-Schuster said. “All I care about is winning and when you win everyone is so happy.”
Defensive tackles Derrick Nnadi and Khalen Saunders, running back Jerick McKinnon, wide receiver Mecole Hardman, right tackle Andrew Wylie and safety Juan Thornhill also are free agents. The Chiefs have some tough decisions to make when it comes to pursing any of them, but don’t be surprised to see a couple take club-friendly deals to keep winning.
KEEPING OTHERS HAPPY
Chris Jones, a finalist for defensive MVP, has one year left on his four-year, $80 million contract, and the Chiefs would be wise to begin negotiating a deal now. Jones piled up 15 1/2 sacks this season to match the best year of his career, and he had two more sacks in the AFC title game, before helping put just enough pressure on Jalen Hurts in the Super Bowl.
Versatile cornerback L’Jarius Sneed and linebacker Willie Gay Jr. also have one year left on their rookie deals, and the Chiefs would like to keep both of them around if the price is right. Both have become staples in the defense.
COME ON DOWN
The Chiefs are hosting the NFL draft for the first time in April and they’ll be hard-pressed to fare better than they did last year. They added long-term starters in cornerback Trent McDuffie and defensive end George Karlaftis, and role players in wide receiver Skyy Moore, linebacker Leo Chenal and defensive backs Jaylen Watson, Josh Williams and Bryan Cook.
Their first pick is No. 31 with additional selections in the second and third rounds. They have two fourth-round picks thanks to their trade last year of Tyreek Hill along with one in the fifth, one in the sixth and two in the seventh.
The Chiefs could use more help at wide receiver, regardless of whether Smith-Schuster signs elsewhere. They also could use another offensive tackle given Brown’s contract status and with Wylie becoming a free agent.
AS FOR COACH
There were reports surfacing before the Super Bowl that the 64-year-old Reid, now a two-time champion, would contemplate retiring after the game. But he wasted no time brushing them off.
“I look in the mirror and I’m old. My heart, though, is young,” he said. “I’m good with what I’m doing right now.”
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