Here is a breakdown of the initial wave of free agency for the Kansas City Chiefs:
Overall grade: B-minus. The Chiefs might have bolstered their offense by signing wide receiver Sammy Watkins, but defense is where they really needed help. Linebacker Anthony Hitchens and nose tackle Xavier Williams fill a couple of holes, but the secondary still needs some work, even after signing one cornerback, David Amerson, and trading for another, Kendall Fuller.
Most significant signing: The Chiefs have among the best collections of skill players in the league after signing Watkins. Watkins is getting paid like a No. 1 wide receiver, even though he hasn’t always delivered like one. Watkins will be only 25 when the season begins, so he still could grow into his immense potential. Given that he will be surrounded by tight end Travis Kelce, wide receiver Tyreek Hill and running back Kareem Hunt, Watkins doesn’t have to deliver huge numbers to make the Kansas City offense more potent.
Most significant loss: Quarterback Alex Smith and cornerback Marcus Peters were traded, but their departures were the biggest of the offseason for the Chiefs. The Chiefs have Patrick Mahomes II ready to step in at quarterback. Although he has much potential, he won’t provide Smith’s steady leadership or consistent play. The Chiefs acquired Fuller and Amerson, but neither has shown the same consistent playmaking ability as Peters.
Player they should have signed: Veteran Chase Daniel would have been the ideal backup to Mahomes. Daniel served as the backup to Smith from 2013 through 2015, so he’s familiar with the offensive system. But Daniel instead joined the Chicago Bears, which left the Chiefs to sign another veteran, Chad Henne.
What’s next: The Chiefs have looked into signing tight end Benjamin Watson and wide receiver Kendall Wright. Both would be backups, but Watson in particular would fill a need for a receiving tight end to back up Travis Kelce. The offense went into a nosedive in the second half of last season’s playoff loss to the Titans without Kelce, who was out with a concussion. The Chiefs have bigger needs on defense, but from the start, they didn’t seem thrilled with this year’s crop of free agents on that side of the ball.
Additions: CB David Amerson (free agent from Raiders), CB Kendall Fuller (trade from Washington), QB Chad Henne (free agent from Jaguars), LB Anthony Hitchens (free agent from Cowboys), WR Sammy Watkins (free agent from Rams), RB Damien Williams (free agent from Dolphins), NT Xavier Williams (free agent from Cardinals).
Losses: OB Tyler Bray (signed with Bears), OL Zach Fulton (signed with Texans), LB Tamba Hali (released), LB Derrick Johnson (released), CB Terrance Mitchell (signed with Browns), S Ron Parker (released), CB Marcus Peters (traded to Rams), CB Darrelle Revis (released), QB Alex Smith (traded to Washington), WR Albert Wilson (signed with Dolphins), LB Ramik Wilson (signed with Rams)