Following the 2020 season, the Chiefs saw Sammy Watkins depart in Free Agency. Ever since his departure, they’ve attempted to find his replacement at the second wide receiver spot, opposite Tyreek Hill on the offense. Last offseason, the Chiefs attempted to sign JuJu Smith Schuster before he eventually returned to Pittsburgh for the 2021 season.
The Chiefs targeted others, including Corey Davis, Kenny Golladay, Will Fuller, and John Brown, before they all eventually signed elsewhere. Even Sammy Watkins couldn’t be had for Kansas City, as he signed with Baltimore on a one-year contract.
The Chiefs didn’t stop there. Rumors reported they had discussed an Allen Robinson trade with the Bears before last year’s deadline. The Chiefs signed Josh Gordon in September of 2021, ultimately failing to address the need at the position. Finally, in early November 2021, Odell Beckham Jr. hit the open market after his abrupt release from the Browns. The Chiefs were listed as a finalist to sign Beckham before signing with the eventual Super Bowl Champion Rams. Now, Kansas City has tried and failed to address the wide receiver position for an entire season. I expect them to finally address that spot (and more) this offseason to put those failures to rest.
So who might Brett Veach and the front office target at the position this offseason? Here are the five best candidates for the Chiefs at wide receiver this offseason:
Christian Kirk was the 47th overall selection in the 2018 NFL Draft. He logged 2,902 receiving yards and 17 receiving touchdowns in four years with Arizona. Kirk ranked seventh in catch rate and tenth in contested catch rate among wide receivers last season. He profiles as the least traditional wide receiver option for the Chiefs this offseason. Kirk is just 25 and profiles as a shorter slot option for the Chiefs, who can also contend in the X-receiver role. He’s just 5’10”. So what makes Kirk attractive to Kansas City?
Colt McCoy completing a pass to Christian Kirk was a play I was not ready for…pic.twitter.com/lRBiaKyUz2 — Tim England (@tengland_150) August 14, 2021
While most of his time in Arizona has been with Kyler Murray, Kirk has performed with Josh Rosen and Colt McCoy. We’ve seen him with Sam Bradford as well. Kirk is fairly undersized compared to the rest of the names we will mention but makes up for it with his inside/outside ability and contested-catch skills. Kirk was part of our underrated free agents for good reason.
Kirk can burn the defense deep, like Tyreek Hill and Mecole Hardman. However, he’s also highly effective on the inside and outside digs routes. Kirk would help fill the middle and 10-20 yard range for the offense. This would help open Tyreek and Hardman deep again and give defenses someone else to focus on other than Kelce in the middle of the offense.
Market value for a Kirk contract comes in just short of $12 million per year. Look for Kirk to sign somewhere near four years, $48 million, making him one of the cheaper options for the Chiefs to consider this offseason as well.
Jameson Williams has all the tools to become the next star Rookie wideout in the NFL. Williams, a 6’1″ prospect out of Alabama, is originally from St. Louis. He appeared in 15 games for the Crimson Tide in 2021, catching 79 passes for 1,572 yards and 15 touchdowns as a Junior. CBS Sports lists Williams as their number two wide receiver prospect in the coming NFL draft and number ten overall regardless of position. This leaves perhaps the biggest question regarding Williams; will he be there for the Chiefs at pick 30?
Thank you for Jameson Williams Go be great in the NFL 🐘❤️ pic.twitter.com/mS1Pyk2Ccb — Alabama DieHards (@DiehardsAlabama) January 13, 2022
In 2021, Ja’marr Chase, Jaylen Waddle, and Devonta Smith were all selected in the first ten picks of the draft. In total, five wide receivers were selected before pick 30. The 2020 draft saw six selected before pick 30, with prospect Tee Higgins falling to pick 33. 2019 saw just two wideouts selected in the entire first round. The chances of Williams being there at 30 for the Chiefs are not likely, but possible. He suffered a torn ACL in December at the National Championship and could fall as a result.
The most promising sign for the Chiefs hoping to land Williams is the still shuffling draft board. There isn’t a clear wide receiver pecking order within the industry yet. PFF ranks Drake London as their top wideout, with Williams at number three, projected at number 17 overall. Sports Illustrated lists Garret Wilson at the top, with Williams again at number three. Draft Kings lists London as their top wideout, with Williams down at five. CBS’ latest mock has Williams falling to 22 as the fifth wideout off the board.
Williams is falling as other prospects torch the combine. This could bode very well for Brett Veach and the Chiefs.
Amari Cooper is the newest addition to the Chiefs’ “what-if” possibilities at wide receiver. The Cowboys announced Friday that they would pursue trade partners for the 27-year old veteran. If unable to find a partner, they’re expected to release him. There’s still a lot of conjecture here and plenty to be determined.
The Cowboys may be simply testing the waters to determine what a market for Cooper would hold. As it stands now, Cooper is still a Cowboy, and acquiring him via trade would be nearly unquestionable: Cooper will cost $22 million against the cap in each of the next three seasons before hitting free agency in 2025. The chances of the Chiefs looking to acquire that contract is slim-to-none.
COWBOYS HAVE THE LEAD!!! DAK PRESCOTT FINDS AMARI COOPER FOR THE TOUCHDOWN #NYGvsDAL pic.twitter.com/4N14UwHLse — Dallas Nation (@TheDallasNation) October 10, 2021
Cooper is a big-bodied wideout, standing 6’1″ and 210 pounds. He was drafted fourth overall by the Raiders in 2015, and with good reason. In eight seasons, Cooper has amassed 7,076 yards and 46 touchdowns. In Dallas, he’s averaged five receptions, 72 yards, and half a touchdown per start. The Chiefs would be acquiring a true number one option opposite perhaps the best WR in the NFL, in Tyreek Hill. The talent is unquestioned, but the cost will decide if Cooper truly hits the open market as expected. The situation will be one to monitor as the offseason progresses.
Reports linking Robinson and the Chiefs have seemingly persisted for multiple years now. Robinson entered the league as a second-round selection by the Jaguars in the 2014 NFL Draft. In his sophomore campaign, he took the NFL by storm, posting 80 receptions, 1400 yards, and 14 touchdowns in 2015. 2016 was another strong season before he suffered a torn ACL in Week One and missed the entire 2017 season.
Robinson then joined the Bears in free agency. Before last season, he averaged 85 receptions, 1,050 yards, and six touchdowns per season. 2021 saw Robinson struggle with injuries and fail to produce in a mostly run-first offense that struggled to pass the football.
Touchdown Allen Robinson. Falcons doing it again..pic.twitter.com/mxSDdRKxQQ — Dov Kleiman (@NFL_DovKleiman) September 27, 2020
Robinson may have the surest hands in the entire free-agent class and handles contested passes extremely well. Before 2021, Robinson was a monster both over the middle (in a traditional x-receiver role) and deep on go-routes. In the Chiefs offense, we would see Robinson again dominate NFL defenses as we saw before 2021.
Robinson would be 29 entering the 2022 season, and cost will be the deciding factor. Robinson’s market value, according to Spotrac, comes in at four years, $65 million. This would pay him just over $16 million per year despite some real questions about his decline in production last season.
Despite the Bears’ woes on offense, it seems highly questionable to pay out over $60 million to a wideout coming off a season in which he averaged just 37 yards and zero touchdowns per game. I believe in the talent of Allen Robinson, but a shorter deal to prove he does indeed still “have it” makes much more sense to me from a front office perspective. The only question remaining is whether Robinson would be willing to accept a shorter contract at this point in his career.
John Metchie III
Entering the 2021 college football season, it was Metchie, not Williams, that many expected to lead the Crimson Tide on offense. Metchie posted 916 yards and six touchdowns for Alabama as a sophomore in 2020. This, of course, coming behind Devonta Smith on the depth chart, in which he amassed 1,856 receiving yards and 23 touchdowns on his way to the Heisman. Metchie followed up his breakout in 2020 with 96 receptions, 1,142 yards, and eight touchdowns in 2021. He again shared targets, this time with Jameson Williams, who logged 1,572 yards and 15 touchdowns.
#Alabama WR John Metchie — Middle of the field iso vs. zone coverage. We see this concept in the NFL out of empty sets (Tyler Boyd). Get the underneath matchup vs. the LB — with Metchie aligned inside as No.3. @NFLMatchup pic.twitter.com/j1ehwmyGzv — Matt Bowen (@MattBowen41) February 25, 2022
Despite always appearing as the second-best wide receiver at Alabama, Metchie was the top option for Bryce Young this season. He caught nearly 100 passes, 20 more than his counterpart in Jameson Williams, despite appearing in two fewer games. Metchie, unfortunately, suffered a torn ACL in the SEC championship game for Alabama. His recovery timeline is slightly earlier than Williams’s due to the earlier injury. It’s a stretch to say Metchie is a better draft prospect than Williams, but he may be more complete at this point in his development.
Metchie has great hands at the position. He is of average height and builds, standing 5’11” and 195 pounds. He’s an outstanding route runner with a full route tree. He attacks the middle of the field better than Williams without giving up much on the outside in terms of ability. He keeps the DBs off balance with his release points and adds outstanding YAC ability for the Chiefs offense that already carries a ton.
Metchie reminds me of a younger Jarvis Landry. He can make flashy catches, control the middle of the field, and play physical football across the middle. From 2015 to 2017, Landry averaged 105 receptions, 1,093 yards, and six touchdowns per season for the Dolphins. I expect Metchie to fill a similar role in the NFL. He fits the Chiefs’ offense perfectly as a possession, slot receiver who will command attention in the middle of the field and open up the outside for Tyreek Hill and Mecole Hardman.
Metchie will fall in the draft, likely into the second (or even third) round, allowing the Chiefs to focus their top pick on defense where they need much more help than on offense. Metchie ranks as the 12th best WR according to CBS and 91st overall prospect in the draft. Not the flashiest name, but it could be the best fit for the Chiefs in the upcoming NFL draft.
Who do you think the Chiefs should target for the wide receiver number two spot? Leave a comment down below to join the discussion.
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