KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- The Kansas City Chiefs ended their offseason program on June 15. Here’s a look at how they fared:
Offseason goals/grade: This will be viewed as a great offseason for the Chiefs if Patrick Mahomes II develops into the franchise quarterback the Chiefs envision him being and a failure if he doesn’t. But 34 years after last drafting a QB in the first round, the Chiefs are trying again to solidify the position for the long term. In terms of immediate impact, the Chiefs did little to bolster their roster. Their most impactful addition for 2017 might wind up being running back Kareem Hunt, their third-round draft pick. The Chiefs last year gained 4.2 yards per carry, their worst average since 2011. The Chiefs are hopeful of improving that average with considerable help from the rookie back. Grade: B-.
Move I liked: The Chiefs have played with castoffs from other teams at quarterback for too many years and many times they were at a huge disadvantage compared to their opponents at the game’s most important position. The Chiefs made the attempt to fix this problem by trading up to draft quarterback Mahomes in the first round. Mahomes, who played exclusively in the spread offense at Texas Tech, has much to learn before he’s ready to become the starter, but the Chiefs can afford to wait. Alex Smith has two seasons left on his contract. The Chiefs deserve credit for trying to find a long-term solution at quarterback.
Move I didn’t like: The Chiefs took a huge risk in releasing veteran Jeremy Maclin, their most experienced and most accomplished wide receiver. Kansas City’s collection of wideouts now includes no player drafted above the third round or older than 24. This could be a problem for a team that also released its longtime featured back, Jamaal Charles, and has a starting tight end, Travis Kelce, who missed all of offseason practice because of shoulder surgery. The Chiefs will ask a lot of the talented Tyreek Hill, who had a spectacular rookie season last year. He’ll get many of the passes that otherwise would have gone Maclin’s way. But asking the undersized Hill at 5-foot-10 and 185 pounds to be an every-down player could bring diminishing returns.
Biggest question still to be answered in training camp: The Chiefs are pinning much of their hopes for better defensive play on an improved pass rush. Kansas City, after several seasons with one of the NFL’s top pass rushes, had just 28 sacks last season, one of the lowest totals in the league. The Chiefs are counting on full seasons from linebacker Justin Houston, who missed the first 11 games last year after having ACL surgery, and lineman Allen Bailey, who played only in the first five because of a shoulder injury. The Chiefs also need a more consistent season from their other outside pass-rusher, Dee Ford, who had 10 sacks in the first nine games last year but none in the final seven games.
Salary-cap space: $4,531,654 (top 51 contracts), according to ESPN Stats & Information research.
Undrafted rookie free agents signed: DL Ricky Ali’fua, OL Corin Brooks, TE Emanuel Byrd, WR Gehrig Dieter, WR Marcus Kemp, CB Ashton Lampkin, G Damien Mama, WR Alonzo Moore, CB JR Nelson, RB Devine Redding, S Jordan Sterns, WR Tony Stevens.
Restricted free agents signed: None.
Players acquired via trade: None.