With Russell Wilson to the Denver Broncos and Khalil Mack to the Los Angeles Chargers, the Kansas City Chiefs are no longer uncontested in the AFC West.
The Kansas City Chiefs have been AFC West champions since 2016, and the team took the Super Bowl to culminate the 2019 season. The perennial playoff contenders have advanced to the AFC Championship game for four straight years, and they are widely regarded as one of the most consistently strong teams in the NFL.
But if anything is going to challenge that, it’s the 2022 offseason.
Chiefs fans rejoiced when the Denver Broncos missed on Aaron Rodgers, but hours later, the news broke that Denver landed longtime Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson instead. The Broncos, who have been building a strong team under general manager George Paton, essentially needed a quarterback to complete their roster. Wilson’s move resembles Tom Brady’s assumption of a low-ranked Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the transformation Los Angeles went when the Rams finally had a quarterback like Matthew Stafford, and both those teams eventually realized the exact same fate: a historic Super Bowl won at home.
Wilson could repeat history, which doesn’t bode well for the Chiefs. Neither does the latest AFC West arrival: Chicago Bears Khalil Mack has now been traded to the Chargers.
With all of that in mind, it’s clear that the AFC West title won’t be a cakewalk this season, but this doesn’t necessarily mean the Chiefs have fallen behind. The rest of the AFC West has just stepped up with major moves, and it’s on the Chiefs to maintain excellence and make key changes this offseason in order to remain dominant.
AFC West arrival of Russell Wilson, Khalil Mack means Chiefs will have to maintain their game
One silver lining came out of the Chiefs’ Super Bowl loss to the Buccaneers: it forced the Chiefs to reevaluate the most overlooked yet critical position group in football in the offensive line.
The Chiefs had a spectacular draft and offseason acquisitions last year in this regard, drafting two lauded rookie offensive lineman Creed Humphrey and Trey Smith while picking up Orlando Brown.
The Chiefs didn’t add any big names this year, but the team already possesses some of the biggest names in football. The team certainly needs to keep Tyrann Mathieu this year, and defensive additions could compliment what’s been a strong offense for years.
The Chiefs don’t necessarily need big-name trades to stay on top, but they will need to be calculated in the draft and free agency to maintain their place. Now, the Broncos and Chargers are on their heels to claim the division with one misstep.