At the beginning of free agency, the Chiefs had some clear decisions to make. Kansas City got rid of both offensive tackles and lost a couple key players. A few days later, the Chiefs managed to fill in some of their many needs. With that in mind, here are some of the recent moves the team made, with each move given a grade.
Joe Thuney signs a huge deal worth 5 years, $80 million ($32.5 million guaranteed)
The team’s first free agency signing was probably the biggest move for the team: the signing of offensive lineman Joe Thuney. This move took many by surprise.
Money was an issue for Kansas City, and there was a belief that the Chiefs would try to get some mid-tier players like David Andrews or even Riley Reiff. Nonetheless, Thuney’s signing with the team shows how the front office is prioritizing the protection of Patrick Mahomes.
When watching Thuney’s tape, he shows high intelligence. He shows great footwork, good agility and nice hands. Thuney is one of the better blockers in the league, and is good in terms of run blocking. He has also played multiple positions such as center, left guard and left tackle. The only caveat is that his arm length may prove troublesome if he plays left tackle.
Overall, this is an amazing signing and a huge step in the right direction for the future.
Grade – A
Andrew Wylie, Chavarius Ward, Byron Pringle, Darrel Williams get tendered contracts
Following the Thuney signing, Kansas City carried on by placing Andrew Wylie, Chavarius Ward, Byron Pringle and Darrel Williams on tendered contracts. Wylie, Pringle and Williams were placed in an original-round tender, while Ward was placed in a second-round tender.
Looking at these moves, there are some mixed feelings about bringing them back in. At most, all four are good additions to a team that needs depth in many positions. Wylie has started some games for the Chiefs at offensive guard, playing a total of 972 snaps and only allowing two sacks. He definitely will not start next season, but can be insurance for the team.
Ward has shown some promise of being a future starting cornerback, allowing a low 67.3 passer rating in 2019. Alas, 2020 was a different story. He allowed a whopping 13.3 yards per reception and allowed a 94.1 passer rating during the season.
Ward also struggled to keep up with players and received multiple pass interference calls. In order to become a true starter, Ward must step up and improve his game if he wants to stick around longer.
In Pringle’s case, he has shown flashes of promise in the middle and end of the season. He is a crucial special teams player, returning a kick for a touchdown and a total of 324 return yards. Pringle also serves as one of the team’s gadget players, catching a touchdown during the last game of the regular season against the Chargers at wide receiver.
Finally, Darrel Williams has shown the most promise out of all four tender-contract players. During the late parts of the season, Williams showed he had great speed and a nice vision of the field. When the team needed him to step up, he did so with style. It will be exciting to see what kind of role he can carve out next season.
In total, these moves seemed inevitable. Williams will be interesting to see develop, but the others need to contribute if they want to stay on the team.
Grade – C+
Ben Neimann, Blake Bell and Mike Remmers re-sign with team on one year deals
Kansas City just loves to bring in depth. The Chiefs struck a couple deals after the tender-contract situations, bringing back linebacker Ben Niemann and tight end Blake Bell.
Neimann has sort of contributed, bringing in a total of 32 tackles and one total forced fumble. He provides depth to the linebacker position, but should not be starting in any way, shape or form.
Blake Bell was with the team during their Super Bowl victory season, but left to the Cowboys to see if he could become something more. Unfortunately, he did not. Bell now returns as a solid third-string tight end and is more known for his blocking. Again, Bell will never be in position to start.
Finally, Mike Remmers has returned following a good 2020 season. There is an obvious elephant in the room, as Remmers did not look so good during the 2020 massacre of the Super Bowl. Regardless, he was doing great prior to that. In his 709 snaps, Remmers allowed zero sacks and only four penalties.
If he ends up starting, good for him. He should be viewed more as a swing tackle, someone who can fill in if injuries occur. Some may not like this signing, but I think it was the right move. The other two moves are just okay, but they are not too exciting.
Grade – C+
This is the signing that is a low-risk, high-reward deal. After announcing his return to the NFL, Kyle Long will be a new face to the Chiefs offensive line. Even though the deal looks great, there are some things to be concerned about.
For one, Long has not played football for over a year. He must get back to his old ways if he wants to come back in a huge way. Secondly, Long has a large history of injuries dating all the way back to 2016. Kansas City needs to make sure that he is physically prepared to play and that there is someone to back him up if necessary.
In contrast, he has shown great athletic abilities when he has played. When watching his games, you can see the athleticism and the nastiness he plays with. If he shows signs of his former self and stays healthy, this signing will be the biggest steal of free agency.
Grade – B