On March 14, NFL Free Agency officially began. The 32 teams in the league are now able to quickly add new additions to jumpstart the 2018 offseason before the league’s draft towards the end of April. Following another one-and-out playoff run, the Kansas City Chiefs made headlines with who they acquired and let go.
With upgrades on both sides of the ball, as well as the wait to see if the Chiefs front office will create more ruckus during the next month, Kansan columnists Arman Alhosseini and Lauren Hawkins discuss which new Chief is the best acquisition thus far for the AFC West back-to-back champions.
Arman Alhosseini | @PERSIAsGREATEST
While the Kansas City Chiefs have moved through free agency, mixing the expected with the unpredicted, no acquisition seems more appealing for the team than wide receiver Sammy Watkins.
Already adapted to NFL play — three seasons were spent with the Buffalo Bills followed by last season’s stint with the Los Angeles Rams — the 24-year-old still has a plethora of skills yet to show.
Although his career beginning numbers are not top-notch, yielding only two seasons with over 40 receptions and 600 yards, Watkins has received the dual-dosage of bad luck: injuries combined with quarterback trouble. Since his rookie season, he has yet to appear in all 16 games, suffering injuries in his last two season with the Bills.
Also while donning blue, Watkins saw five different quarterbacks taking the field, proving to be difficult for a receiver when the team’s passer lacks stability. Although both problems seemed to fix themselves when sent to the Rams, Watkins saw only 39 receptions with a run-heavy offense.
With the Chiefs, the former two-time All-American with the Clemson Tigers will be at his most experienced point with components of an arsenal that he has yet to experience. Alongside wide receiver Tyreek Hill, tight end Travis Kelce, running back Kareem Hunt and a healthy Chris Conley, opposing defenses at most times will have to pick and choose who to defend. This will likely leave Watkins open to show his worth.
The explosion at the receiving end is reciprocated with second-year quarterback Patrick Mahomes II, ready to take the reigns after the Chiefs traded Alex Smith. With Mahomes’ eagerness to throw the ball, Watkins will finally get a quarterback he can trust, all on a team where he is not the sole offensive weapon, leading to a mutually beneficial opportunity.
Lauren Hawkins | @laurensidney_
Change is inevitable and always an option, especially in sports. Kansas City Chiefs fans learned this firsthand when veteran quarterback Alex Smith was traded to the Washington Redskins.
With the Smith era coming to a close and Patrick Mahomes taking over as quarterback, the Chiefs are quickly adjusting to changes that can only be beneficial in the long run. With trades taking place all throughout the offseason, the Chiefs roster is transforming for the better.
A couple of free agent signings have added much needed depth to the team. One free agent in particular will be the best asset moving into the 2018 season: veteran quarterback Chad Henne.
Henne will be acting as a backup quarterback for the team. Playing for both the Jacksonville Jaguars and Miami Dolphins in the past, Henne will have an abundance of wisdom and advice for the young quarterback.
The presence of the veteran should definitely be reassuring to Mahomes who only started one game in the 2017 season. As a backup quarterback, Henne still possesses traits found in exceptional starters. His competitive edge and knowledge will be attributes that quickly rub off to not only Mahomes, but the team as a whole.
Mahomes will need someone to lean on, not only as a replacement in case something happens, but as a mentor. Though Henne will not be a constant presence on the field, he will be helping to shape Mahomes, which will be invaluable.
With many fans still skeptical about the Smith trade, there should be a sense of comfort in knowing Henne will be in the locker room. On top of his almost effortless feel for the game, the backup quarterback has already had experience helping younger players. Sitting under two young quarterbacks in Jacksonville, Henne has what it takes to help propel Mahomes and the Chiefs into a top tier team.
There is more to a roster than just powerhouse players and Chiefs Kingdom will learn that this season. Henne will be the most valuable asset to the team, even if only behind the scenes.
— Edited by Hannah Strader