The offseason thus far for the Chiefs is extremely similar to the NFL’s offseason as a whole; extremely memorable. Perhaps we have the Jaguars to thank, who kicked off the NFL’s wide receiver market reset by signing Christian Kirk to a four-year, $84 million contract. This isn’t a knock on Kirk, per se, but by signing him to such a large contract it paid him at the same level that the best wide receivers in the entire NFL were making, or more.
The Kirk contract created a domino effect within the wide receiver market. The shockwaves led to the eventual Davante Adams trade from Green Bay and the Tyreek Hill trade out of Kansas City. This offseason, in which the NFL’s top two wide receivers both forced trades away from the two best quarterbacks in the NFL, has become nothing short of unprecedented. As the dust settled, AJ Brown was traded from the Titans to the Eagles and now DK Metcalf and Terry McLaurin are holding out of their respective team mini-camps in hopes of new contracts.
Refocusing back on the initial trades of Hill and Adams, it’s worth noting the similar trajectory that the Chiefs and Packers currently find themselves on. So how do the two compare?
Past Success For Chiefs And Packers Now Faces Turbulence
Perhaps the largest similarity between the two franchises that faced off in the first Super Bowl is their recent success. The Chiefs are in the midst of a historic run in the AFC. No other team in NFL history has hosted four consecutive AFC Championship Games. They won their AFC West record sixth consecutive division title in 2021 before ultimately falling short of the Super Bowl.
The Packers are on their own streak of three straight division titles in the NFC North. They’ve won their division in eight of the last 11 seasons. Although they lack a Super Bowl title in recent memory (their last was 2010), they have been to the NFC Conference Championship Game twice in the last three years.
After a long run of success, both teams have now seen a large amount of change this offseason. As mentioned previously, both teams have traded their top wide receiver this offseason. Davante Adams and Tyreek Hill, well regarded as the top wide receivers not just on their team but in the entire NFL, were both traded this offseason. The hope for both franchises remains the same: with one of the best quarterbacks to ever play in the NFL, another wide receiver can surely step up and fill the void left by their predecessors.
Chiefs and Packers Will Rely On Castoffs From Their Counterpart
“Castoff” might not be the best phrase here, as it seems to imply a negative connotation. The Chiefs are, perhaps ironically, relying on a former Packer to help fill the void left by Tyreek Hill. At the same time, the Packers are relying on a former Chief to do the same with what used to be Davante Adam’s role in the offense.
The Chiefs signed Marquez Valdez-Scantling this offseason. “MVS” spent his first four seasons in the NFL with the Packers and now takes his game to Kansas City to play with Patrick Mahomes. The Packers, on the other hand, signed Sammy Watkins. The Packers are Watkins’ fifth stop in the NFL, but he most notably won the Super Bowl with the Chiefs in 2019.
Both wideouts have been seen as disappointments thus far into their NFL careers and will get a chance to right the ship and turn it around with Hall of Fame Quarterbacks Aaron Rodgers and Patrick Mahomes. Will it work out? It remains to be seen but it’s just another similarity between the Chiefs and Packers’ strategy this offseason.
Focus On Defense, Trust In QBs Headlines Chiefs And Packers Offseason
Both the Chiefs and Packers seem confident in their offenses moving forward. As a result, the offseason for each this far has been decidedly focused on improving the defensive side of the football. Sticking with the offense, neither team seems to have a clear-cut “number one” wide receiver.
The Packers, alongside Watkins, will look to Allen Lazard, Randall Cobb, and a couple of rookies in Christian Watson and Romeo Doubs. The Chiefs, similarly, have paired Valdez-Scantling with a couple of veterans in Mecole Hardman and Juju Smith-Schuster, along with rookie Skyy Moore. The two situations are remarkably similar.
Beyond the offense, both teams have looked to improve their defense this offseason. Green Bay ranked 13th in points allowed last season and hasn’t ranked top five in the category since 2010. Kansas City finished last season ranked eighth in points allowed and hasn’t finished top five since 2013. For both franchises, the path back to the Super Bowl seems to run through their defense.
As a result, the Packers used five of their 11 draft selections on defenders. The Chiefs used six of their ten picks on defenders. Instead of spending big in free agency, both teams have decided instead to acquire extra draft picks and use those to remake their defense.
Despite Change, Its Super Bowl Or Bust For The Chiefs And Packers
Perhaps the largest similarity between these two historic franchises remains their lofty expectations. The Packers signed Aaron Rodgers to a massive extension that ties him to the team through the 2025 season. Mahomes, of course, will play for the Chiefs for the next decade at least.
Thanks to their quarterbacks and outstanding head coaches, each team maintains Super Bowl aspirations for the next season. Not just aspirations; anything short of a championship banner will be considered a disappointment. The results of next season stand to be a large-scale experiment that could shape the NFL for years to come. Will the Dolphins and Raiders get a massive payoff? After acquiring top wideouts for a haul of draft picks, will it pay off in a post-season berth? Or will the Chiefs and Packers show that paying top compensation for wide receivers isn’t nearly as valuable as building through the draft and capitalizing on trade value at its highest point?
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