To put it accurately: This free agency period has been absolutely wild. We’ve seen all kinds of bizarre developments happen just days into the 2022 season.
The Kansas City Chiefs have been a part of the craziness, but in a way, not as bizarre. To start, they decided to go a different route and signed signing former Texans safety Justin Reid instead of re-upping with Tyrann Mathieu. That was a move that surprised a lot of people.
While the signing of Justin Reid was a good move, it doesn’t really compare to what other teams have done.
On paper, it certainly looks as if the AFC West is catching up to the Chiefs.
Chiefs fans can’t sleep on their new environment. Long gone are the 2017-2020 days of mediocrity where only one time did a different team other than the Chiefs make the playoffs.
The Chiefs’ road is only getting harder
2022 will show just how hard it will be to win the division. And it will likely be that way for years to come. Yes, the Chiefs can definitely still win the division. However, it will be much harder to do than it has been over the last five years or so.
And it’s all centered around quarterback play. The Chargers have Justin Herbert, the Broncos now have Russell Wilson, and the Raiders have Derek Carr, who now has Davante Adams to throw to.
All of the defenses are stout and they’re all highlighted by arguably the most important position on that side of the ball: edge rusher.
And there’s not just one guy on each team. There are pass rush duos. Bradley Chubb and Randy Gregory. Joey Bosa and Khalil Mack. Maxx Crosby and Chandlers Jones.
While everyone has made moves this offseason, the Chiefs have somewhat sat back and watched. It’s been a bit surprising since there are moves they can make to free up cap space and get aggressive.
Russell Wilson getting traded to the Denver Broncos, Khalil Mack to the Chargers, and Davante Adams going to the Raiders – as well as plenty of other moves- reflect that aggressive mentality and it’s paid off, so far.
The rest of the AFC is looking pretty stacked, as well
You can even branch out further and add Deshaun Watson’s move to Cleveland. The AFC North also appears to as loaded as ever. One could make an argument that it’s a top-2 division in the NFL when it comes to the quality of teams. Especially if Mitch Trubisky works out in Pittsburgh.
Buffalo is a Super Bowl favorite out in the AFC East, the Patriots have a playoff roster, the Dolphins were on the verge of the playoffs in 2021, and the Jets are making moves this offseason to put their name in the proverbial hat.
The Titans are looking to improve upon their historic season and Trevor Lawrence now has a gluttony of new weapons. The Colts are a playoff team if they can find a competent quarterback. The Texans are really the only team in the AFC that doesn’t move the needle.
But, the Chiefs have a clear advantage
Just about everywhere you look, the Chiefs have competition. But, the big advantage for the Chiefs is their coaching staff. Brandon Staley showed potential, but his game management is under question heading into 2022. Research how Josh McDaniels’ tenure went in Denver. And lastly, Nathaniel Hackett has no experience as a head coach.
The Chiefs have Andy Reid, Eric Bienemy, Steve Spanuolo. They have continuity and they’ve shown the ability to put together winning football teams, obviously. That along with Patrick Mahomes at quarterback still make the Chiefs the team to beat when it’s all said and done.
But at the same time, it’s clear the Chiefs are going to have to fight harder than they ever have in 2022.
Featured Image Credit via Kareem Elgazzar/The Enquirer / USA TODAY NETWORK