The Kansas City Chiefs watched JuJu Smith-Schuster leave for the New England Patriots in free agency. Here are three moves the team to make to replace him.
The NFL league year officially began on Wednesday, March 15 at 4:00 p.m. ET. But since Monday, teams an free agents could negotiate contracts. As is the case every year, there is some big turnover in terms of rosters. Even the Kansas City Chiefs.
Last offseason, the Chiefs were just fine at the wide receiver position, even after trading away Tyreek Hill to the Miami Dolphins. JuJu Smith-Schuster signed with the Chiefs prior to the Hill trade, and he was their leading receiver throughout the regular season, but was set to become an unrestricted free agent at the end of the 2022 season. While Smith-Schuster expressed interest in a return, there was a risk that he would leave, since he was one of the top receivers available in free agency.
On Wednesday, Smith-Schuster officially became a former Chiefs, as he agreed to terms on a three-year, $33 million contract with the New England Patriots.
As the Chiefs proved this past season, even with the loss of talent on the offense, they can find ways to replace them. After all, they still have quarterback Patrick Mahomes and tight end Travis Kelce on the roster. Considering that Smith-Schuster left for a $11 million per season salary, here are three cheaper options the Chiefs can explore this offseason and still have a chance at contending for a Super Bowl.
3 moves Chiefs can make to replace JuJu Smith-Schuster at half the price, No. 3: Sign Darius Slayton
When looking at the top of the free agency board for wide receivers, they are going to come a bit pricey. Odell Beckham Jr. is reportedly looking for $20 million a year on his next contract. Then there’s Detroit Lions wideout D.J. Chark, who Spotrac projects to have a market value of $9.5 million per season.
One receiver that could be a solid option for Kansas City to target is Darius Slayton.
The New York Giants are seemingly set to overhaul their wide receiver corps, considering it was an area of weakness last season. They have already committed to bringing back Sterling Shepard and Isaiah Hodgins for next season, while they have Wan’Dale Robinson on the depth chart, who was their second-round pick last year. It is unknown if Slayton will be brought back, considering he was on the trading block this past season.
This past season, Slayton caught 46-of-71 targets for 724 yards and two touchdowns through 16 games (11 starts).
Slayton was a draft selection of general manager Dave Gettleman. While he did show real promise of being a top option in the Giants’ passing game, it’s unknown if the team will be bringing him back for 2023 and beyond. After all, the Giants could use their first-round pick on a receiver, and not to mention they traded for Las Vegas Raiders tight end Darren Waller. With Spotrac listing Slayton as having a $3.5 million per year market value, he could be a solid option for the Chiefs to bring in.