When it comes to overall talent, the Kansas City Chiefs are among the best teams in the league. The only problem is they can’t seem to put it all together when needed most in the postseason. The roster isn’t likely to change much in 2017 because of their lack of cap space and wealth of playmakers on both sides of the ball, but there are certainly upgrades to be had.
In order for the Chiefs to spend at all in free agency, they’ll need to make a handful of moves, like releasing Jamaal Charles and declining Nick Foles’ option. Until that happens, they won’t have much money to spend.
Here are six players for them to target in free agency, including two of their own.
USA TODAY SportsAaron Doster
RB Eddie Lacy (Packers)
Hear me out: Jamaal Charles is injury-prone and unlikely to be back on his current contract, while Spencer Ware and Charcandrick West have been just OK lately. Lacy wouldn’t solve all of the Chiefs’ problems, but he would be a cheap addition to the crowded backfield. He’d be a good goal-line back who can carry the load on early downs before giving way to Ware and West on third down. There’s no guarantee he’ll be able to keep his weight off and remain in shape, but it’s a risk that’s worth taking for a team that already has a decent cast of backs.
OLB DeMarcus Ware (Broncos)
The Chiefs have two pass rushers who can’t seem to stay on the field, so it might seem foolish to add a third. However, Ware wouldn’t be a three-down player for them. He’d be a situational rusher in the rotation with Tamba Hali and Justin Houston. That would allow all three players to get additional rest, hopefully preventing injuries over the course of a 16-game season. He can play a similar role to that of Dwight Freeney in Atlanta.
LB Gerald Hodges (49ers)
Derrick Johnson isn’t getting any younger and his injury concerns aren’t subsiding. While he’s a great player when healthy, the Chiefs need to find someone to eventually replace him. Hodges isn’t likely to escape San Francisco, but if he does, he’d be perfect for the Chiefs. He has good range in coverage and is terrific against the run, similar to Johnson. Because he was really only a true starter for one season, his contract demands would be affordable, too.
Matt Marton-USA TODAY SportsMatt Marton
CB Dre Kirkpatrick (Bengals)
The Chiefs have a lockdown corner in Marcus Peters, but they lack talent on the other side. Kirkpatrick is a tall, lengthy corner who would fit well in the Chiefs’ system, staying on the right side of the formation with Peters on the other. He wouldn’t require the Chiefs to dole out a huge contract, either, which is key considering how little cap space they have.
DT Dontari Poe (Chiefs)
The Chiefs’ decision on Eric Berry will directly impact Poe’s future with one or the other likely to be tagged. Regardless of how it happens, the Chiefs should make both a high priority because of their impact on the defense. Poe’s numbers may have fallen off a bit the past two years, but he still has a huge effect on the players around him. He commands double teams on the interior, which opens up opportunities for others on the edge.
Troy TaorminaUSA TODAY Sports
S Eric Berry (Chiefs)
This one’s obvious. The Chiefs need to find a way to bring Berry back, whether it’s somehow convincing him to play on the franchise tag or working out a long-term deal. He’s more than proved his worth in Kansas City and was a legitimate Defensive Player of the Year candidate in 2016. There may not be a better (or more versatile) safety in the NFL.