The Kansas City Chiefs had one of the worst approaches to the offseason, according to a recent article by ESPN‘s Bill Barnwell. The analyst ranked every NFL team’s winter and spring from best to worst and said the Chiefs ranked 21st in the league.
Among the factors Barnwell pointed to, both in the positive and negative, were that the Chiefs largely stood pat on their roster. Instead of going out and signing pricey free agents, the team’s front office focused on re-signing players that contributed to their Super Bowl win. When talking about “what went right,” Barnwell pointed out the Chiefs convinced receiver Sammy Watkins to take a pay cut to return. They also signed Bashaud Breeland to a one-year deal and franchise-tagged Chris Jones.
Breeland and Watkins were both mentioned in Barnwell’s “what went wrong” section, though for different reasons. Watkins’ reduction in pay isn’t enough for the analyst, who pointed out the receiver is still making nearly $9 million this season. He also has incentives that could net him another $6 million. Barnwell said that was overpaying a player who had two “average” seasons with the Chiefs before breaking out in the playoffs.
The strike against Breeland was his arrest at the beginning of this month. Not long after his arrest for suspicion of marijuana possession, reports surfaced that the defensive back was already facing a possible substance-abuse suspension. The league has not said what, if any, action it will take against Breeland since his arrest.
Barnwell also criticized the Chiefs for their handling of Jones. While the defensive lineman is locked in for the coming season at least, there are rumors he’s not happy he might go through another season without a long-term deal. The analyst believes Jones will depart via free-agency in 2021.
Barnwell was also not impressed with the Chiefs approach in the draft. While the analyst believes first-round pick Clyde Edwards-Helaire could be a solid player, he thinks the team should have spent their first pick on a position of need like a defensive back. He also said he thinks it would have been better to cut Watkins loose and select a receiver from what was a very deep pool of talent this year.
By getting the 21st spot in Barnwell’s rankings, the Chiefs finished ahead of only the Atlanta Falcons, Jacksonville Jaguars, Carolina Panthers, Tennessee Titans, Seattle Seahawks, Green Bay Packers, Los Angeles Rams, Detroit Lions, New England Patriots, and the Houston Texans.
By contrast, every one of the Chiefs AFC West rivals finished in Barnwell’s Top 15. The Denver Broncos got the highest rating in the division with the third-best overall offseason approach in the league.