By: Tyler Wornell, KCOU Sports
With the offseason in full swing, the Kansas City Chiefs have begun making moves to improve their offensive core in 2015. They cut Donnie Avery and A.J. Jenkins last week, and are projected to make more moves later on to free up salary cap space.
The Chiefs ranked 29th in passing yards in 2014, and relied heavily on Jamaal Charles and Travis Kelce. They had that infamous record of zero wide receiver touchdowns, and struggled all year to find that one guy who could make an impact.
The Chiefs also had some major problems with their offensive line, which was riddled with injuries. Although the line had its low points last year, I believe that can be improved in-house with the players they have right now. They can focus on their offensive line, or they can focus on wide receivers.
The option is clear; the Chiefs need to go all-in at the wide receiver position in the offseason. They have a few opportunities between the draft and free agency, where General Manager John Dorsey will make some of his most important decisions during his time in Kansas City.
Here are the top 5 WR prospects and free agents for the Chiefs heading into 2015:
1. Randall Cobb: Cobb is the most enticing free agent in 2015 that should be on the Chiefs radar. He finished last season in Green Bay on a fairly high note, hauling in 91 passes for 1,287 yards. Cobb was once a big part of the Packers offense, before taking a back seat to Jordy Nelson, who led the team in receptions last year. Cobb will be a popular free agent in 2015, and it would take some work for the Chiefs to acquire him. Should they sign Cobb, I don’t foresee any problems of him adjusting to the offensive scheme, but he will come at a fairly high price tag.
2. Jeremy Maclin: The Chiefs already reunited Andy Reid and Jason Avant, so why not bring Maclin to the reunion, too? A Mizzou alum, Maclin has spent his entire career in Philadelphia, where he had staggered success under Reid. He was the Eagles leading receiver in 2014, with 85 catches for 1,318 yards. Maclin would be a great fit in the Kansas City offense because of his familiarity with Reid, and could easily become the #1 receiver in 2015. Maclin has been prone to injury in the past though, which should warrant some hesitation.
3. Eddie Royal: If the Chargers are going to relocate from San Diego, the Chiefs might as well take some of their former players. Royal had a fairly decent season with the Chargers, and could be an inexpensive option for the Chiefs in the offseason. Royal surged late in the season after Keenan Allen went down because of injury, and performed well in both of his games against the Chiefs in 2014. Royal would be a viable No. 3 WR on offense, and could be utilized on special teams, as well.
4. DeVante Parker: Assuming he is still available at 18 in the draft, Parker would be a great draft pick for the Chiefs. Parker had a strong showing at the combine, with a 4.45 40-yard dash time. Parker could be a potential deep-field threat in 2015, even though Alex Smith isn’t known to chuck the ball down the field. More notably, Parker is reliable with the ball, and catches just about everything thrown to him, something the Chiefs could really use.
5. Dorial Green-Beckham: This one is a big risk, but could end up being a big reward. DGB, despite his off the field troubles, had a decent collegiate career. He ran an impressive 4.49 40-yard dash at the combine, especially considering the amount of time he went without playing football. He is a big, physical player that could prove handy in 2015 for the Chiefs. Green-Beckham creates separation easily with his acceleration, and can catch balls in traffic. He is prone to drops though, which the Chiefs struggled with last season.
The biggest problem facing the Chiefs in the offseason is money. If they had the budget, they could easily go after big name free agents such as Torrey Smith or even Demaryius Thomas, but simply can’t afford it. This is going to limit their ability in free agency, which means they will find most of their additions in the draft.
They can probably afford either one big name free agent, or a few small name free agents in order to stay under the salary cap. Some unpopular cuts are most likely going to be made during the offseason, but if the Chiefs make the right moves in free agency, it will pay off in 2015.