The Kansas City Chiefs will be looking to add to their wide receiver position entering 2021. Sammy Watkins and Demarcus Robinson could both be playing elsewhere, as they are each unrestricted free agents. Meanwhile, this free agent wide receiver is extremely fruitful. With options aplenty, it is also important to keep in mind the NFL’s salary cap situation. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the NFL has set the salary cap floor at $180 million. That figure is a touch higher than previously expected. While that is good news for most teams, including the Chiefs, Kansas City will still have to be smart in how they spend.
Therefore, the Chiefs may be looking to make as big of a splash as possible, while still leaving themselves flexibility elsewhere. In today’s edition of This Or That, we dive into two possible options for the team among the free agent wide receivers. One option has the proven track record of performing at a high level. The other, is still growing into a complete player. Today’s hypothetical question is, would you rather the Chiefs sign Marvin Jones or Keelan Cole? Let’s examine what their contracts could potentially look like. In addition, we will touch on what kind of skillsets both players could bring to the Chiefs offense.
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Skillsets and Chiefs Fit
The former Bengal and Lion receiver provides the capability to play outside. However, his snaps in the slot have continued to increase throughout recent seasons. For a veteran receiver who will turn 31 years old right before the new league year begins, that is encouraging for a team looking to add steady production to the offense. Jones is seemingly one of the more sure-handed receivers in the NFL as well. For example, he has only dropped more than four passes once in a single season.
Furthermore, Marvin Jones can bring yards after catch ability to the offense. This would fit in perfectly with the Chiefs, who already have mismatches after the catch in Travis Kelce and Tyreek Hill. And like those two weapons, Jones can win and become dangerous in all three levels of the field. His separation is not increased by counters or fakes. Though, Jones would bring a physical presence who can fight and high point the football well. There is no reason as to why he could not flash WR2 potential in Andy Reid‘s offense.
Underrated is a term that may be used a lot with Keelan Cole this offseason. On one hand, his status among other free agent wide receivers is likely not particularly high. Cole has not been fully able to completely show off his sneaky speed and big play potential, either. Surrounded by the Jacksonville Jaguars inability to find the right answer at quarterback, he would have one of the more secure passers with him in Kansas City with Patrick Mahomes.
Cole does a lot of other things well that could fit in the Chiefs offense. For one, his prowess and comfort with running in-breaking routes or slant patterns could mix in well with the RPO play calls. Cole has proven that he can win from any and all alignments in the offensive formation too. Mostly used in the slot, he can also win downfield from out wide. Finally, Cole has been highly reliable throughout the early portion of his career.
There will likely be a bit of a discrepancy between these two players potential contracts. The projected market value for Jones has come in at anywhere from $9 to $9.5 million per season. That may not seem like too big of a figure. Nevertheless, Kansas City general manager Brett Veach would have to make some fairly creative decisions to make it work. Restructures should not be off the table for any player, if we are being honest. And we could be wrong, but Kansas City may not be as willing to spend a ton of money on free agent wide receivers. They could feel more inclined to spend on cheaper deals or look to the trade market and 2021 NFL Draft.
As for Cole, he played this past season on a restricted free agent tender. Jacksonville paid him a salary worth just over $3 million. He may get a touch above that this offseason. Yet, a major pay increase does not seem quite as likely. Again, the Chiefs may have to create a little flexibility in order to land Cole. A market value of $4 million to $5 million per season does seem highly doable. Even reaching $6 million, could become attainable.
With the potential contract values in mind, let’s throw out three year deals in this given hypothetical. Would you rather the Chiefs sign Marvin Jones for three years and $27 million? Or, would you rather the team go with Keelan Cole at three years and $15 million? You can go to the poll to cast your vote here: Sign Marvin Jones or Keelan Cole?
Obviously, the cheaper option always appears better on paper. But, both receivers could continue to see their play ascend in an offense like Kansas City’s. And who knows, maybe Jones would settle for a bit less than expected to join a contender. Having played for both Cincinnati and Detroit, his main aspiration and motivation could be to just simply join a winning franchise.
Personally, I’d vouch for Jones if I could only pick one. As good as both receivers could be, the older player’s game is a bit more well rounded to this point. He is also more accustomed to the increased role and snaps. Consequently, Jones ability to score often (51 career receiving touchdowns in eight seasons, nine receiving touchdowns in each of the last two years) could give him an edge.
Be on the lookout for more FPC Chiefs This Or That hypothetical articles throughout this 2021 offseason. We will post them on Tuesday and Thursday. For more great sports and NFL content, stay tuned to Full Press Coverage.
– Braden Holecek is the Kansas City Chiefs managing editor for Full Press Coverage. He covers the NFL. Like and follow on Follow @ebearcat9//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js Follow @FPC_Chiefs//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js and Facebook.