All the questions Kansas City must answer in the 2018 offseason - KCTV5 News

All the questions Kansas City must answer in the 2018 offseason

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KANSAS CITY, MO (FOOTBALLKC) – The most obvious question Chiefs fans will undoubtedly debate over the coming months is Alex Smith vs. Patrick Mahomes, but the team will also have to answer many other important questions in a very critical offseason.

Coaching Staff

After receiving a contract extension in the 2017 offseason, head coach Andy Reid isn’t going anywhere. But that doesn’t mean his staff won’t look very different next year, which would be a departure from what has been mostly the same group of coaches throughout his tenure.

Offensive coordinator Matt Nagy is already the new head coach of the Chicago Bears and special teams coordinator Dave Toub has long been a popular name for head coach, specifically in Indianapolis. Defensive coordinator Bob Sutton is very much on the hot seat, meaning it’s not that crazy to think that the top three coaches below Reid will all be different in 2018.

Owner Clark Hunt and general manager Brett Veach must quickly decide who’s at fault for the disappointing season and whether or not there are better options for a team ready to win now. That also includes all the positional coaches who have been in KC for five or more years. The organization must answer these questions before any personnel moves are made.


The Smith vs. Mahomes debate has raged on since draft day 2017 and will continue to until a final decision is made. Smith is coming off the best year of his career, but could bring back draft picks and open up cap space in a potential trade. Deciding whether or not Mahomes is ready to take the Chiefs as far, or further than Smith, is priority number one.

If Smith had played poorly this season, or cost the team the game against the Titans, the decision might be fairly easy to make. Instead, Smith played well and other issues were exposed that will come up again. The offensive decisions start with free agents Albert Wilson, Anthony Sherman, Tyler Bray, Zach Fulton and De’Anthony Thomas.

All of these players would likely get a chance with another team if offered more, so in Veach’s first offseason at the helm, he must decide who is worth an extension or whose services can be replicated by a cheaper option in free agency or the draft. This also factors in what the team thinks of the in-house options like Demarcus Robinson, Jehu Chesson, Jordan Devey and a returning Chris Conley.

Spencer Ware will return from injury and Kansas City must decide how their suddenly packed running back situation will play out in 2018, with a now second year player in Hunt and two others on their second contracts. Figuring out individual roles and who gets how many touches will be addressed once practices start, with a potential trade on the horizon.

Albert Wilson was one of the offense’s most valuable players in 2017 and showed a good rapport in his one game with Mahomes, but Conley, Robinson and Chesson are in place if his price is too high. None of them bring the experience and reliability that Wilson does, but gauging how much a fourth option in the offense is actually worth is no easy task.

The offensive line battled injuries in 2017 and avoided catastrophe thanks to Fulton and Bryan Witzmann adequately filling in. Mitch Morse likely returns under center and Parker Ehinger provides some depth in his third year, it’s just a matter if Veach and the coaches feel paying a sixth lineman in Fulton is a necessity over a cheaper draft pick worth taking a risk on.


Sutton has led the defense for five seasons and a departure at DC could provide a big shakeup in personnel, but right now, the key free agents are Rakeem Nunez-Roches, Kevin Pierre-Louis and Bennie Logan. Derrick Johnson and Tamba Hali still have contracts through 2018, but declining both would open up cap space without much of a payout.

While none of these are star players on defense, they all played starter snap counts throughout the season and help make the likes of Marcus Peters, Justin Houston, Eric Berry look better. With that said, the Chiefs are currently over the cap in 2018 and need to make changes somewhere. Considering the defense overall took a back seat this year, Veach may opt for better options at these spots.

The pass rush as a whole disappointed in 2017, both on the line and with pass rushers. Logan was solid on run defense but is paid to provide a bit more, while Chris Jones and Allen Bailey disappeared for parts of the season.

Dee Ford was almost a non-factor with a lingering injury that cost him most of the season, while Frank Zombo provided little rush, Hali was never given consistent playing time and Tanoh Kpassagnon couldn’t get on the field much until week 17. Add this with a down year for Houston, and this could be the position group most due for a change next year.

Pierre-Louis and Johnson split time at inside linebacker, and improved the team from last season, but Johnson’s paid as a starter not a part time option. Would letting go of a future ring of honor player, along with Hali, be the best move cap wise? is Veach willing to pull the trigger?

After a rocky debut, Darrelle Revis helped solidify the secondary with Peters and Steven Nelson, and the veteran is set to take a cap hit of four million next season. A source of constant change over the past seasons, locking down the second cornerback position was not addressed in the last offseason and KC’s unlikely to make that mistake again, either in the draft or free agency.

Whether the coaches and players like it or not, there’s an understandable fan pressure that change of some kind needs to be made in 2018. A lot of that centers around the quarterback,

but as the team showed in the wild card round, the problems on both sides of the ball and lack of overall depth are there regardless of who starts at quarterback.

Former GM John Dorsey’s salary cap mistakes make the decisions even tougher, as Kansas City already sits over the cap number before the offseason begins and will have to cut down contracts of some kind.

Mahomes for Smith may be an easy switch to inject some excitement back into the fan base, but the problems in year five of the Reid regime are very much there. Veach and the entire staff now have some very tough calls to make this week and all the way through the offseason.

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