Kansas City opened the 2022 offseason by making the absurd move to trade Tyreek Hill to the Dolphins. The transaction seemingly signaled a reloading period for the Chiefs, who were tight on cap space and would have struggled to give Hill the massive extension Miami granted him. This was also set to the backdrop of every other team in the AFC West loading up on established talent. The thing about having Patrick Mahomes is that, whether you're on the field or navigating the offseason, you're never really playing from behind. Even with Hill gone, the Chiefs' juggernaut offense rolled on. Mahomes had arguably the best year of his career and led his squad to the No. 1 seed in the AFC. For the third time in four years, Kansas City made the Super Bowl. Unlike their last appearance, the Chiefs brought home the Lombardi Trophy this time around, defeating the Eagles in a nailbiter.
Key Offensive Stats
- Points per game: 29.2 (1st)
- EPA per play: 0.18 (1st)
- Dropback EPA per play: 0.27 (1st)
- Passing yards per game: 297.8 (1st)
- Rush EPA per play: -0.02 (10th)
- Rush yards per game: 115.9 (20th)
The Chiefs used the money ball approach to replacing Hill, recreating him in the aggregate. They signed JuJu Smith-Schuster and Marquez Valdes-Scantling before drafting Skyy Moore. Smith-Schuster put together a solid year, going for 933 yards on 78 catches. MVS was less productive and Moore never cracked the starting lineup. Travis Kelce picked up the slack for the pass-catchers, totaling 1,388 yards with a dozen touchdowns. Despite the spread-out nature of the offense, Mahomes made ends meet, even for his MVP-caliber standards. He led all quarterbacks in touchdown rate, QBR, and EPA per play. The only thing missing from the offense was an elite running back. Clyde Edwards-Helaire struggled early in the season and was ultimately usurped by Isiah Pacheco. The rookie finished eighth in NextGen Stats' rushing yards over expected per attempt metric.
Key Defensive Stats
- Points per game: 21.7 (16th)
- EPA per play: 0 (15th)
- Dropback EPA per play: 0.04 (16th)
- Passing yards per game: 220.9 (18th)
- Rush EPA per play: -0.08 (16th)
- Rush yards per game: 107.2 (8th)
Kansas City's defense hovered around league average in most metrics. The one area they excelled in was pressuring quarterbacks. They ranked fifth in pressure rate despite blitzing at just the 14th-highest clip. Their prowess in the trenches was led by Chris Jones. The centerpiece of Kansas City's defense led all non-EDGE players in pressures (97) and sacks (15.5). At cornerback, both L'Jarius Sneed and rookie Trent McDuffie ranked inside the top 20 players at their position according to Pro Football Focus.
Draft Picks (Top-150)
31st, 63rd, 95th, 122nd, and 134th
Notable Free Agents
LT Orlando Brown, WR JuJu Smith-Schuster, WR Mecole Hardman, RT Andrew Wylie, S Juan Thornhill, RB Jerick McKinnon, and EDGE Carlos Dunlap
Marquez Valdes-Scantling ($7 million in savings) and Clyde Edwards-Helaire ($866K)
General manager Brett Veach already took his medicine this offseason when he released Frank Clark, saving $21 million against the cap. If Veach wants to move on from MVS as well, he will likely need to have a plan already in place at receiver because the team has three wideouts already hitting the open market once free agency begins.
The Chiefs did not place the franchise tag on left tackle Orlando Brown, meaning he will likely walk for a hefty contract in free agency. Right tackle Andrew Wylie will be more affordable, but he has no experience at left tackle, leaving that position wide open.
With Clark gone, the Chiefs need a compliment to Chris Jones's elite pressure-generating ability on the interior. Rookie George Karlaftis showed promise in 2022, but you can never have enough options for getting to the quarterback.
Kansas City's wide receiver room is nothing to write home about, but Mahomes made the most of his ragtag crew. This allows them to avoid dipping into the inflated veteran receiver market, save for bringing back JuJu if he comes at a reasonable price. The Chiefs need bodies at receiver but don't need to break the bank.
Offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy has appeared to be on the path toward a head coaching gig for years. His quarterback has two MVPs. The Chiefs have won a pair of Super Bowls thanks to a world-class offense. They have never finished worse than sixth in points per game in Bieniemy's five seasons with the team. However, his star has somehow faded in the eyes of NFL decision-makers. Likely in an effort to prove his worth to hiring general managers, Bieniemy left for a job as Washington's assistant head coach and offensive coordinator. He will now get to call plays and added the assistant head coach title to his resume. Matt Nagy was promoted from quarterbacks coach to offensive coordinator as his replacement in Kansas City.
The Chiefs arguably made the best move of the offseason last year when they traded away a receiver who would go on to amass 1,710 receiving yards with his new team. Veach made a gutsy bet on Mahomes's mind-bending talent, and that's a bet he has yet to lose. Though veteran skill-position players like DeAndre Hopkins and Derrick Henry are reportedly on the block, it would be surprising for Veach to reverse course unless he can get a steal on an aging player. Instead, expect the Chiefs to bring back most or their receiving corps from last year and spend their limited resources on the positions Mahomes can't directly uplift.