A breakdown of the Kansas City Chiefs' 2018 free-agent signings:
Xavier Williams, DT
The Chiefs signed nose tackle Xavier Williams, who played the past three years for the Arizona Cardinals. Here’s a closer look at the signing:
Grade: C. The Chiefs needed a veteran nose tackle but didn’t have a lot of money to get the job done. They invested in a career backup, but one with potential as a run defender.
What it means: The Chiefs didn’t have another true nose tackle on their roster before signing Williams. Last year’s starter, Bennie Logan, is a potential unrestricted free agent and apparently will have to move on. Williams should be in the lineup on running downs but likely won’t play much, if at all, in sub packages when the opponent has extra receivers on the field.
What’s the risk: Williams started only two games in his three seasons with the Cardinals, so the Chiefs are asking him to do something he hasn’t before, which is be a regular. But at 26, he’s a young player with room to grow, so it’s also possible he will produce in Kansas City like he didn’t with the Cardinals.
Chad Henne, QB
The Chiefs signed quarterback Chad Henne, who played the past six years for the Jacksonville Jaguars. Here’s a closer look at the signing:
Grade: C. The Chiefs needed a veteran to play behind starter Patrick Mahomes II. Henne, with 53 career starts, has experience but isn’t among the NFL’s top veteran backups.
What’s the risk: Henne hasn’t started a game since 2014. He's thrown only two passes in the three seasons since, so he’s got some rust to scrape away in addition to having to learn a new offensive system.
The Chiefs re-signed Colquitt, their punter for the past 13 seasons. Here's a closer look:
Grade: B+. Colquitt has been a big part of Kansas City's success on special teams in recent seasons. He has a great touch inside the 20 and his high kicks are relatively easy to cover.
What it means: The Chiefs don't have to break in a new punter for the first time since 2005. They made re-signing Colquitt a priority the last time he was a potential free agent in 2013 and wanted to make it happen with him again this time.
What's the risk: Colquitt turns 36 in May and sooner or later his skills will begin their inevitable decline. There's no indication that process has yet to begin, though, so the Chiefs can feel good about getting at least one more good season from the veteran.
Jarvis Jenkins, DE
The Chiefs re-signed reserve defensive lineman Jarvis Jenkins, according to a tweet from his agent. Jenkins played for the Chiefs the past two seasons. Here's a closer look at the signing:
Grade: C. Jenkins gives the Chiefs an experienced backup and known commodity for their defensive line. He gives the Chiefs some depth behind their three main ends, Chris Jones, Allen Bailey and Rakeem Nunez-Roches.
What it means: The Chiefs won't necessarily have to add a defensive end through free agency or the draft after retaining Jenkins. He was fifth in playing time among Chiefs defensive linemen last season and his role doesn't figure to increase much, if any, in 2018.
What's the risk: The Chiefs seem comfortable with the end rotation they used last season. They lose the chance at an upgrade by retaining Jenkins but the Chiefs could also do much worse than Jenkins in their playing rotation.
Anthony Hitchens, LB
The Kansas City Chiefs agreed to contract terms with linebacker Anthony Hitchens, who played the past four years for the Dallas Cowboys. Here's a closer look at the signing:
Grade: B. The Chiefs needed to upgrade at inside linebacker and decided Hitchens was best suited among the free agents to fill the spot. They deserve credit for securing their top target.
What it means: Hitchens should team with Reggie Ragland to give the Chiefs a young pair of inside linebackers. The Chiefs struggled last year to stop the run, and full seasons from Hitchens and Ragland, who didn't become a starter until the season was well underway, should help. Hitchens could be the every-down inside linebacker to fill the spot vacated by the release of Derrick Johnson.
What's the risk: The Chiefs felt like they had to upgrade the position and wouldn't be able to get it done through the draft, so they decided to go the free-agent route. Did they reach for Hitchens? Hitchens won't turn 26 until June, so his best football should be ahead of him. That makes him a relatively low-risk signing.
Sammy Watkins, WR
The Kansas City Chiefs have agreed to contract terms with wide receiver Sammy Watkins, who played last season for the Los Angeles Rams after three years with the Buffalo Bills. Here's a closer look at the signing:
Grade: C+. Watkins gives the Chiefs the fast wide receiver, one with the ability to be a No. 1 wideout, that they were seeking to accommodate new starting quarterback Patrick Mahomes II, and he won't be 25 until June. But Watkins has yet to consistently produce like a No. 1 receiver.
What it means: The Chiefs are planning to have a big-play, high-scoring offense. The Chiefs have surrounded Mahomes with not only Watkins but wide receiver Tyreek Hill, tight end Travis Kelce and running back Kareem Hunt. That's one of the league's best collection of skill players. From this vantage point, it's a disappointment if the Chiefs aren't one of the NFL's highest-scoring teams.
What's the risk: Watkins, who has a career per-catch average of almost 16 yards, has delivered big plays. He just hasn't delivered a lot of them. His career high for receptions is 65, set when he was a rookie with the Bills in 2014. He had just 39 catches for the Rams last season. So he's far from a finished product. At the same time, he's still only 24 and perhaps will be able to reach that potential with Mahomes as his quarterback.
Anthony Sherman, FB
The Kansas City Chiefs re-signed fullback Anthony Sherman, who has played for the team since 2013. Here's a closer look at the signing:
Grade: B. Sherman doesn't have a huge role in Kansas City but is good at what he does. He's a solid lead blocker and good on special teams. He filled in adequately as a featured back during the final regular-season game last season.
What it means: Sherman's role doesn't figure to change. With the return of Spencer Ware, who missed all of last season with a knee injury, Sherman's role on offense could even be reduced. Either way, he won't get the ball much, if at all. But he will remain a fixture on special teams and someone the Chiefs will turn to when they use two-back formations.
What's the risk: Sherman doesn't play a lot; for what he's asked to do, this is about as risk-free of a move as the Chiefs could make. They could have found someone who is more of a playmaker to fill his role, but with Kareem Hunt and Ware in their backfield, that's not really what the Chiefs needed. They needed the dependability they'll get from Sherman.