4 players the Kansas City Chiefs should let leave in free agency

The Kansas City Chiefs are champions once again, having defeated the San Francisco 49ers in one of the most dramatic Super Bowls of all time. As the focus begins to shift towards next season, who should the Chiefs let walk in free agency to make a run at a three-peat?

With the exception of Isiah Pacheco, the Chiefs' backfield could look very different in 2024
With the exception of Isiah Pacheco, the Chiefs' backfield could look very different in 2024 / David Eulitt/GettyImages
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3) Jerick McKinnon and Clyde Edwards-Helaire are affordable losses for the Chiefs

Let's shift to the offense, where Isiah Pacheco has stamped his name on the top of the running back depth chart with as much force as his piston-like legs strike the ground with on each run. Pacheco's emergence has come at the expense of Jerick McKinnon and Clyde Edwards-Helaire, both of whom saw their stats decrease by a sizeable margin this year.

That's right, we're bundling up two players again to give you another bonus. I guess the Super Bowl just has us in a giving mood. Let's begin with McKinnon. The pass-catching back missed most of the Chiefs' stretch run, going down with a groin injury in late December that sent him to the IR. In his 12 regular season games, his rushing yards dropped from 291 to 60, and his receiving yards, his raison d'être on this team, plummeted from 512 to 192. He also found the end zone just half as often this season, dropping from 10 scores to five.

Edwards-Helaire was seen as the perfect back for Andy Reid's system when he was drafted in 2020, but he's never panned out to be anything more than a solid but uninspiring choice in the backfield. In each of his four years in the league, his total touches and yardage have declined, and it's clear that he's been mostly phased out of the Chiefs attack.

The declining usage rate of both McKinnon and Edwards-Helaire signal that their time in Kansas City may have just ended. Perhaps the Chiefs look for a third-down back in the draft to pair with Pacheco, or maybe they go the free agent route and look to someone like Zack Moss or an even splashier move like Austin Ekeler, who may no longer have a home in L.A. under the Chargers' new regime.