6 Kansas City Chiefs backup plans at wide receiver with Mike Evans not available

Oct 2, 2022; Tampa, Florida, USA;  Kansas City Chiefs safety Juan Thornhill (22) is charged with a
Oct 2, 2022; Tampa, Florida, USA; Kansas City Chiefs safety Juan Thornhill (22) is charged with a / Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports
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The Kansas City Chiefs have a ton of balls in the air going into the 2024 offseason after back-to-back Super Bowl wins. Outside of the Chris Jones and L'Jarius Sneed situations, though, one of the key free agents they were connected to in order to address the pressing need at wide receiver was Mike Evans. But now that's been taken off the table.

On Monday, Evans agreed to a new two-year contract with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, taking him off the market and leaving the Chiefs back at square one. In fairness, the fact that Evans signed for $26 million in average annual value likely means that Kansas City didn't have a real chance of landing the receiver anyway.

Having said that, wide receiver remains a massive need for the Chiefs. So where can they turn to this offseason if not Mike Evans? The good news is that general manager Brett Veach and the rest of the Chiefs have a multitude of options by way of free agency, the draft, or the trade market -- all of whom will be cheaper than Evans.

6. Chiefs can sign Darnell Mooney as a deep threat

To say it's been an uneven career with the Chicago Bears for Darnell Mooney might not do it justice. In the former fifth-round pick's second season, he broke out and seemingly set himself up to be a future cornerstone for the offense, hauling in 81 catches for 1,055 yards and four touchdowns.

But the totality of the situation is that Mooney hasn't come close to that. The 2021 season counts for roughly 40% of his career production to this point and now he's set to hit the free agent market with the expectation being that the Bears will let him walk and reset their receiving corps.

Having said that, it's an easy argument to make that Mooney's shortcomings were no fault of his own but, rather, a construct of subpar quarterback play and an anemic overall offense. That would obviously change on the Chiefs where Patrick Mahomes would be a monumental upgrade for the receiver, and the role would be defined as the vertical threat with more development as an all-around pass-catcher to come.

Even better for the Chiefs as they likely prepare to dole out a mega contract to Chris Jones is that Mooney should come relatively cheap. Spotrac projects his average annual value on a new deal at $10.4 million per season, but it could be even a bit cheaper than that. That should entice Kansas City and makes Mooney a nice option to pair with Rashee Rice for the future.