The Kansas City Chiefs will certainly be making plenty of changes to their roster entering 2022. But before they look to make moves with outside free agents or other teams, making decisions on their own pending free agents will come first.
What players are the Chiefs hoping to stash away from other competing teams? Are there any players that must be kept, in order to further Kansas City’s chances in 2022? At the same time, what players are worth cutting the bait with? Some pending free agents have likely reached their ultimate ceiling as a member of the Chiefs.
Today, we will be looking at the list of pending free agents for Kansas City on the offensive side of the ball entering the 2022 offseason. The same exercise will be performed for the Chiefs pending defensive free agents tomorrow. Let’s kick it off.
List Of Pending Offensive Free Agents
Unrestricted Free Agents
- QB: Chad Henne
- RB/FB: Darrel Williams, Jerick McKinnon, Michael Burton
- WR: Byron Pringle, Demarcus Robinson
- TE: Blake Bell
- OL: Orlando Brown Jr., Andrew Wylie, Mike Remmers, Kyle Long, Austin Blythe
Restricted Free Agent
- WR: Marcus Kemp
Exclusive Rights Free Agents
According to Spotrac, the Kansas City Chiefs are scheduled to have 27 total players due for free agency. The split between the amount of offensive and defensive free agents is rather even. As you can see, there are 15 total offensive free agents. 12 of those offensive players are unrestricted free agents. This means that they have no ties left with Kansas City once reaching free agency. The lone restricted free agent can pursue offers elsewhere. Yet, the Chiefs have the opportunity to match any offer he gets, if they wish to do so. Finally, Kansas City’s exclusive rights free agents are all back with the team no matter what, if the team does indeed want them back and issues them a qualifying offer for one season.
In the end of season press conference with general manager Brett Veach, he made it clear that offensive tackle Orlando Brown Jr. was one of the Chiefs top priorities this offseason. He is easily the best pending free agent on the offensive side of the ball for Kansas City. There are many reasons as to why the team would want him back for the next handful of seasons.
In his first season with the Chiefs in 2021, Brown Jr. only allowed six sacks and committed a total of seven penalties. This is not just impressive for a player playing left tackle for a full season for the first time in his career. Furthermore, it is even more important how stoic he was, given the change in offensive scheme he endured coming from Baltimore to Kansas City. Eric Fisher allowed 19 sacks and committed a total of eight penalties when healthy this season for the Indianapolis Colts. For comparison’s sake, Brown Jr. was more effective than the guy he replaced for the Chiefs offensive line.
There were certainly a few bumps in the road early this season for Brown Jr. However, he finished the season relatively strong. The Chiefs blocker displayed less wasted movement, quicker feet and more patient hand technique in his pass sets as the season got deeper. Given the trade package that Kansas City sent to Baltimore, it would be surprising to see the Chiefs not retain Orlando Brown Jr.
As Veach said, he expects Brown Jr. to be their left tackle moving forward. He wants to play left tackle, play in front of Patrick Mahomes and be part of a winning culture. On the other hand, his leadership is crucial for this offense. Ultimately, I believe that the Chiefs will get a contract extension done with Orlando Brown Jr. Whether that comes early in the offseason, late in the offseason, or even next offseason is more difficult to predict.
Initially, I think he will receive the franchise tag. The position he plays and where he is at currently in his career make Brown Jr. a prime candidate for it. Teams have from February 22, 2022 to March 8, 2022 to designate franchise tags. If he does indeed receive it and does not get a contract extension done, Kansas City would then pay him a projected salary of $16.5 million for 2022, according to Spotrac.
Ep 100: Divisional Round Preview: Who Is Headed To Championship Sunday?
by Full Press Coverage on January 21, 2023 at 12:19 pm
Worth It, But For Cheap
There are a handful of players that fall under this category. Bringing back the following players could allow for Kansas City to maintain adequate depth at certain positions. This is vital for any team, given the length and endurance of the NFL season. On the flip side, these players are not 100 percent worth breaking the bank over, so to speak. Allowing some of these players to prove themselves in a larger role, or allowing them to build off of a success they had in a perfect team-player fit could help the Chiefs chances in 2022.
Bringing back these players is not a guarantee. Simply, if they hurt your budget in too many other areas on the roster, Kansas City should not waste time in moving on. The players that are worth deciding over in this category include Henne, Williams, McKinnon, Burton, Pringle and Wylie.
Here are the reasons as to why it would make sense to bring these players back. Starting at quarterback, the veteran presence, leadership and knowledge of Henne remains important as Mahomes continues to mold and grow. That sort of mentorship is vital. At the same time, Henne is capable of stepping in and performing/winning, if need be. The running back/fullback trio of Williams, McKinnon and Burton all execute their roles uniquely. Williams brings power in the run game, as well as sneaky good prowess as a pass catcher. McKinnon is the fastest and most explosive running back that Andy Reid has had in a while. Finally, Burton is an above average blocker and smart runner in short yardage situations.
With Pringle and Wylie, each of them have gone through their fair share of ups and downs. Wylie has struggled with penalties and battling quicker pass rushers on occasion. To boot, Pringle has still had some drops at the most crippling of times. There is one thing that each of them have built stronger with Kansas City. A dependability and trust factor has become evident for each. Possibly, the Chiefs and these players want to continue to stick with effective niche play offensively and see what occurs down the line.
Of the six names mentioned above, I believe that the Chiefs will actually re-sign most of them for cheap. A one year deal worth no more than $5 million is highly feasible for any of these names. But, I do not think there will be enough room for all six to return. Some of these players may also believe that they are worth more than what the Chiefs could re-sign them for.
My guess is that Henne, Williams, Burton and Wylie will be back. Most have lengthy familiarity with the team. All four can serve as on field insurance, as well as off field leaders. As of now, I see McKinnon and Pringle either wanting to test the market for richer offers, or for offers that will guarantee them an expanded role. Lastly, I see both exclusive rights free agents (Fortson and Gore) being wanted back. They will both remain in Kansas City after receiving a 2022 qualifying offer.
The remaining six names to talk about include Robinson, Bell, Remmers, Long, Blythe and Kemp. There are many reasons as to why these players have become highly replaceable. First off, the dominant performance of Joe Thuney, Creed Humphrey and Trey Smith has lessened the opportunities for older blockers like Long and Blythe. The same can be said for Remmers, if Brown Jr. is secured for 2022, while also having plenty of opportunities to fix right tackle. Health and injury history is also a determining factor. Or, some of these players have ultimately reached their glass ceiling so to speak, inside of the Chiefs offense (Robinson, Bell).
When you take all of those factors into consideration, it makes decisions rather easy for the Kansas City front office. That is especially true when Kansas City has other priorities to take care of around the roster. On top of that, the roles these players fill can be found quickly from elsewhere.
Not all of these players played a snap for the Chiefs in 2021. But of the ones that did, they were not that impactful for the offense. Players like Robinson, Bell and Kemp did most of their magic on special teams. That is still crucial for a team’s success. Though, the offense holds a greater part in that equation.
It would be highly surprising to see any of these names return, unless the Chiefs have no success in bringing in other niche players to fill roles like blocking or special teams. Most of these players would likely not cost much to retain. Although, you must know when to jump ship and realize how little impact an investment like this could ultimately give you in return. Some of these names enjoyed success. However, Kansas City should not bring any of these guys back.
Be on the lookout for more FPC Chiefs articles throughout this week. 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.
Ep 141: Andy Reid, Eagles, And Conference Championship Weekend w/ Joe Bannerby Full Press Coverage on January 27, 2023 at 5:36 pm
Clark and Ira are joined by former Eagles President Joe Banner to talk […]
Ep 140: The 49ers/Cowboys Rivalry With Former San Francisco Tight End Brent Jonesby Full Press Coverage on January 19, 2023 at 9:02 pm
Clark and Ira are joined by former 49ers tight end and three time Super […]
Ep 136: Remembering The Longest Game Ever Played With Larry Littleby Full Press Coverage on December 24, 2022 at 1:09 am
On the 51-year anniversary of the longest game ever played (Chiefs vs. […]
Ep 135: Hall of Fame Semifinalist Jahri Evans Joins The Showby Full Press Coverage on December 16, 2022 at 3:51 pm
Former Saints guard and 2023 HOF Semifinalist Jahri Evans joins Clark and […]
Ep 134: Remember AFL/NFL Star John Hadl with Nick Canepaby Full Press Coverage on December 8, 2022 at 2:39 pm
Former Hall of Fame voter, Nick Canepa, joins Clark and Ira to discuss the […]
Ep 133: Hall Of Fame Semifinalist Henry Ellard Joins The Showby Full Press Coverage on November 30, 2022 at 4:28 pm
Former Rams and Redskins wide receiver, Henry Ellard, joins Clark and Ira […]
Ep 132: Pro Football Hall of Fame Class of 2023 Semifinalists w/ Rick Gosselinby Full Press Coverage on November 22, 2022 at 6:15 pm
Clark and Ira are joined by Pro Football Hall of Fame voter Rick Gosselin […]
Ep 131: 'Football Heaven' With PFHOF Senior Advisor Joe Horriganby Full Press Coverage on November 17, 2022 at 5:55 pm
Pro Football Hall of Fame Senior Advisor, Joe Horrigan, joins Clark and […]
Ep 130: Remembering John McVay With Hall of Famer Eddie DeBartolo Jr.by Full Press Coverage on November 13, 2022 at 1:42 am
Clark and Ira are joined by Hall of Fame owner Eddie DeBartolo Jr. to […]
(Season 3.1) Commanders Roundtable w/ Deuce, DH, and DTby Full Press Coverage on January 27, 2023 at 3:56 am
George Carmi hosts Deuce, DH, and DT as they discuss the latest topics of […]
1/27 - Conference Championship Preview: Who is Going To The Super Bowl?by Full Press Coverage on January 27, 2023 at 9:50 am
Ian and John preview Conference Championship Weekend and give their picks […]
1/23 - Divisional Round Recap; Chiefs, Bengals, Eagles, and 49ers Advanceby Full Press Coverage on January 23, 2023 at 2:00 pm
Ian and John recap Divisional Round Weekend in the NFL. Learn more about […]
1/20 - Buccaneers Fire Byron Leftwich, NFL Divisional Round Previewby Full Press Coverage on January 20, 2023 at 10:19 am
Ian and John discuss the firing of Byron Leftwich and whether or not it […]
1/19 - Brady/Gronk Reunion, Aaron Rodgers, NFL News and Notesby Full Press Coverage on January 19, 2023 at 10:14 am
Ian and John discuss the potential of Brady and Ground teaming up in 2023, […]
Boot 2 The Face Episode 210 "No Monè, No Monè, No Monè"by Boot 2 The Face on January 19, 2023 at 12:55 am
Rucker and EJ are back discussing Rucker going to Impacts Hard to Kill […]
1/6 - Damar Hamlin Update, Bills/Bengals, AFC Playoffs, Week 18 Picksby Full Press Coverage on January 6, 2023 at 3:11 pm
Winter Classic: Bruins Rally To Beat Penguins At Fenwayby Full Press Coverage on January 4, 2023 at 2:09 am
1/3 - Bills/Bengals Postponed; Bruins Topple Penguins In Winter Classicby Full Press Coverage on January 4, 2023 at 2:05 am
1/2 - Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers, Week 17, Bills/Bengalsby Full Press Coverage on January 3, 2023 at 3:22 am
12/30 - New Year's Eve, Luka Doncic, NBA Talk, Week 17 Preview and Picksby Full Press Coverage on January 1, 2023 at 2:29 am
Aaron Rodgers, Packers Win Third Straight; Playoffs In Sightby Full Press Coverage on December 27, 2022 at 7:36 pm