The Kansas City Chiefs lost a lot of talent this offseason on both sides of the ball. That is what happens sometimes when you are a team that finds success as opposing teams will want to take your players. Kansas City also faced a bit of a salary cap crunch this offseason, which forced their hand on some moves.
The biggest move was trading Tyreek Hill to the Miami Dolphins for a boatload of draft picks. Losing Hill will drastically change how the team’s offense looks, as they also lost Byron Pringle and Demarcus Robinson.
JuJu Smith-Schuster and Marquez Valdes-Scantling were signed to help replace what they lost. While not as explosive as Hill, it did open up some avenues to upgrade other areas of the team.
The Chiefs now have extra draft capital, which they can use to fill out the roster. Trading Hill also provides the team with a lot of cap space they didn’t originally have, meaning they can dive back into free agency to make some moves now in the later waves.
Armed with some flexibility, Kansas City now just has to take advantage. Here are two free agents that the Chiefs should still try and sign this offseason.
Akiem Hicks, Defensive Tackle
The Chiefs’ defensive line was not a strength for the team in 2021. Chris Jones remains a dominant force on the interior, but there isn’t much else to consistently count on. The defensive line was one of the only units to grade out below average at PFF.
Bolstering their lineup in the trenches would go a long way to improving the team’s performance on that side of the ball. One player that could help as an interior pairing along with Jones is Akiem Hicks.
Hicks put together another strong campaign in 2021 despite a nagging groin injury that plagued him, as he played in only nine games. He remained one of the better pass rushers from there, earning a pass-rushing grade of 71.9 and an overall grade of 72.3.
In addition to the pass-rushing he provides, Hicks is also a strong run defender. He is above-average in both areas and would provide the Chiefs with a strong complement to Jones on the interior.
However, injuries are a bit of a concern. He has missed significant playing time two out of the last three seasons, which will likely knock down his price.
Stephon Gilmore, Cornerback
The Chiefs’ secondary was hit hard in free agency this year. Charvarius Ward to the San Francisco 49ers and Mike Hughes signed with the Detroit Lions. At safety, the team looks like they are ready to move on from Tyrann Mathieu, signing Justin Reid. Daniel Sorenson also departed, signing with the New Orleans Saints.
That is a lot of snaps that the Chiefs will have to replace. Signing a veteran such as Stephon Gilmore would go a long way to shoring things up in the secondary.
While age and some injuries in recent seasons make for some cause for concern, Gilmore proved with the Carolina Panthers last season that he can still produce. He would be a good fit for the blitz-heavy, man-to-man scheme that Steve Spagnuolo likes to use.
Kansas City would also be smart to make an aggressive offer for New York Giants cornerback, James Bradberry. New York is looking to trade him, so the Chiefs shouldn’t have to offer too much for him. But, he is the kind of addition to the secondary that the team could really use, even if they sign someone such as Gilmore.
With two starters departing in free agency, they could use two impact players to replace them.