If there was a definitive statement that I can make about the Chiefs off-season moves to date, there is a new sheriff in town, and his name is Brett Veach. Kansas City’s young, refreshingly honest general manager has injected youth and has shown some brazen guts by trading Marcus Peters. Also, Chiefs fans should not ignore that he has stood his ground in making his team a better version of itself than a year ago, however, he needs to make three more additions before the NFL Draft.
When the Kansas City Chiefs announced the free agent signings of wide receiver Sammy Watkins, linebacker Anthony Hitchens and veteran quarterback Chad Henne, they addressed three primary needs on a roster that needed an infusion of play makers, youth and depth.
Though those moves, and those that proceeded free agency in adding cornerbacks Kendall Fuller and David Amerson, were impressive, there is still work to be done for Veach to improve his team.
If the Chiefs truly have a singular goal to be a Super Bowl contender, as Veach stated in his press conference last week, now is not the time to sit and wait until the NFL Draft to plug additional areas of need. It’s better to go into the draft having filled major needs so that Veach can maneuver up and down the draft in similar fashion to a year ago.
Thanks to a free agent market that appears to be stagnate, and bargains abound, Veach has a tremendous opportunity to add top talent with a frugal approach to a salary cap that has roughly $13 million in cap space. However, that figure might grow if Veach, who we’ve heard rumblings has already done, can restructure contracts for some of his remaining high-priced veterans. Such moves could give KC another $5-7 million in cap space.
So whom should Veach sign?
S Tre Boston, Los Angeles Chargers
Of all the safeties remaining on the open market, the lack of free agent interest surrounding Boston is perplexing. He might be the best closing safety left on the board. If he were to line up with a healthy Eric Berry, KC’s deep secondary will be in good hands. Let’s be honest, KC’s pass rush is going to be the teams’ biggest wild-card entering the 2018 season. With Boston and Berry, the back line of KC’s defense could survive a weak pass rush. Plus, with Boston, the Chiefs would get a younger, faster version of Ron Parker who perfectly fits Bob Sutton’s defensive scheme, and knows KC’s system inside and out.
CB E.J. Gaines, Buffalo Bills
Granted I’ll admit, Gaines isn’t a scheme fit in Kansas City. He’s not a cover-2 corner, but if Sutton, with faster options in the secondary, attacks instead of retreats, then Gaines has the skill set to adjust his style. The Fort Osage standout, who went to school down the road from Arrowhead, at the University of Missouri, would make a terrific story and addition to a secondary that needs one more viable starting cornerback option. The local Independence kid could enjoy a terrific homecoming in Kansas City and would strengthen the cornerback position for years to come. Bottom line, this just appears to be a no-brainer signing for the Chiefs.
DT Sylvester Williams, Tennessee Titans
The Jefferson City born player would be an outstanding fit for KC’s 3-4 defense. Granted, the last two years in Tennessee, he’s not done much as a defender, but he can plug the holes. The Titans tried to make him a pass-rusher and it failed, so they cut him over the weekend. In Kansas City, he’d be a perfect centerpiece at a position that Veach must address before the draft. The extra benefit he brings to the Chiefs, much like Boston, is that he also knows the AFC West. In playing four years in Denver, before signing his big free agent deal with the Titans, he was one of their best defenders. Surround him with Chris Jones and Allen Bailey, then KC’s defense could be one of the better units in the division. On the plus side, because he was released, the Titans are still on the hook for part of his 2018 salary.