With Sammy Watkins having departed to the Baltimore Ravens in free agency, third-year wideouts Mecole Hardman and Byron Pringle are expected to see an uptick in usage for the Kansas City Chiefs next season. However, there remains a sizeable segment of Chiefs Kingdom that would prefer to see a more established name opposite Tyreek Hill on game days.
While much of the top-shelf free agent talent at the position was scooped up in March, a few notable names remain on the market, including a former All-Pro who contributed to Kansas City’s Super Bowl LV demise.
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Chiefs Named ‘Best Fit’ for Antonio Brown
In an exercise identifying eight available players who can still be key contributors in 2021, Bleacher Report’s Maurice Moton pegged the Chiefs as the “best fit” for former Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Antonio Brown.
Here was some of his reasoning:
According to Joey Knight of the Tampa Bay Times, Brown wants “something closer to market value” than the one-year, $1 million prove-it deal he took last season. If that’s the case, he’ll need to look elsewhere, as the Buccaneers have just $1.1 million in cap space.
Assuming Brown enjoyed the feeling of playing for a contender, he could start for the Super Bowl LV runner-up Kansas City Chiefs and take a chunk of their $11.7 million in cap space.
The Chiefs lost wideout Sammy Watkins to the Baltimore Ravens in free agency, which frees some snaps opposite Tyreek Hill on the perimeter. Mecole Hardman and Demarcus Robinson could fill that role, but neither player has a comparable resume to that of Brown, who’s a four-time All-Pro.
Set to turn 33 on July 10, Brown is the last remaining big name from the Bucs’ Super Bowl squad yet to re-sign with the team. While both he and the team have expressed interest in a reunion, Brown remains under NFL investigation even after his civil sexual assault lawsuit involving former trainer Brittany Taylor was settled as of Monday, April 26.
Because of that, Brown, who was suspended for eight games to open the 2020 campaign for violating the NFL’s personal conduct policy, could still face additional discipline from the league. From Week 9 on last season, the 12th-year wideout hauled in 45-of-62 targets from Tom Brady, totaling 483 yards and four touchdowns — all of which came in the team’s final three contests.
KC Ranks Middle of the Pack in Available Cap Space
If the Chiefs were to consider adding another pass-catcher into the mix this offseason, Golden Tate, Danny Amendola, Tavon Austin and Marqise Lee headline the list of available veterans. Now all over age 30 and looking for their third or fourth club, none offer a significant upgrade to Kansas City’s current group — which also features former first-round talent and Hard Knocks star Antonio Callaway on a future/reserve deal.
According to Spotrac, the Chiefs currently hold the 17th-most salary cap space with approximately $9.9 million, though $5-8 million will be allocated to the incoming 2021 NFL Draft class.
Pending an unexpected offseason cut or a Tyrann Mathieu contract extension to free up more cash in the short term, any remaining funds may be best spent on a position of greater need, such as linebacker or defensive end. Former Los Angeles Chargers edge rusher Melvin Ingram remains unsigned following a free agent visit with the Chiefs back in March.
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Chris Licata is an NFL contributor covering the Kansas City Chiefs from enemy territory in Denver, Colorado. Follow him on Twitter @Chris__Licata or join the Heavy on Chiefs Facebook community for the latest out of Chiefs Kingdom!