As with any reigning champion in the NFL, the Kansas City Chiefs will be looking to avoid the dreaded Super Bowl hangover.
A decent way to avoid this fate is by bringing in some new faces in free agency to add a spark to the current crop of talent. Despite being anointed the best team in the league, the Chiefs can improve on a few areas that will make defending their crown a more attainable task.
Get better in the secondary
The brittleness of the Chiefs’ secondary seems to have plagued their roster for multiple years. Yet in the face of this adversity, they have found a way to build a winner. Current Denver Broncos cornerback Chris Harris has been heavily linked to make a transition east to Kansas City. It’s easy to see why this move is being heavily touted.
As it stands, the veteran cornerbacks on this roster (Bashaud Breeland & Morris Claiborne) look set to test free agency; not to mention 25-year old Kendall Fuller, who is coming to the end of his rookie deal.
This is a secondary that could look very different for the 2020 season, if these impending free agents sign elsewhere. Therefore the addition of a seasoned vet such as Chris Harris would make for shrewd business for the Chiefs. Other realistic targets that can be explored are Ross Cockrell, Byron Jones or Logan Ryan.
Beef up the O-line
Make no mistake, KC posses a generally sturdy offensive line. Former #1 overall pick Eric Fisher has the left tackle position on lock. Similar can be said of his teammate on the opposite side of the line, Mitchell Schwartz, who quietly had a near perfect game for a right tackle in the Super Bowl. Right guard Laurent Duvernay-Tardif is certainly an NFL starting calibre right guard, this is not necessarily the case with the current left guard and centre on the Chiefs o-line.
Andrew Wylie deputised at left guard after week 10, when enshrined starter Martinas Rankin went down with a season ending injury. Wylie displayed some discomfort at the position, putting in doubt his long-term future. Perhaps when Rankin returns with a clean bill of health he can make the position his; but it would be wise of the Chiefs to bring in some competition, possibly in the form of Xavier Su’a-Filo, or push the boat out for Brandon Scherff.
Parallels can be drawn with centre and left guard positions. Currently snapping the ball for the Chiefs is Austin Reiter. Some upgrades to Reiter available in free agency include Ted Karras of the New England Patriots and Austin Blythe of the Los Angeles Rams, who can also provide depth at guard.
Build depth behind Kelce
Having one of the league’s best tight ends certainly gives your offence an edge. Having talent on the sidelines backing-up the eliteness on the field provides an even greater edge. Arguably the Chiefs are missing the latter.
Sitting behind Travis Kelce on the depth chart are Blake Bell and Deon Yelder, who combined for 11 receptions and 117 yards with 0 TDs in the season just passed. A more productive supporting cast for Kelce should certainly be under consideration by the KC front office.
One possible avenue to go down is strengthen via the draft. Kelce will enter his age 30 season in 2020, so bleeding through some young blood may be the way to go. A similar approach was taken by the Tennessee Titans when they drafted Jonnu Smith back in 2017, to initially back-up the elite but ageing Delanie Walker. Now Smith is looking like a surefire starter for the Titans.
For sure, Kansas City will do their due diligence. This is a fanbase hungry for more success.