Shutdown Corner Offseason Blueprints: Kansas City Chiefs

After the Seattle Seahawks won Super Bowl XLVIII, all 32 teams officially entered the offseason and started plotting how they could position themselves for a shot at Super Bowl XLIX. Shutdown Corner will look at the offseason blueprint for each of the 32 NFL teams, presenting one team a day (using the 2014 draft order, starting with the Houston Texans and finishing with the Seahawks), leading you right up to the start of free agency on March 11.


2013 record: 11-5

Projected current salary-cap space (according to $9.8 million under the cap

Key free agents: OT Branden Albert, DE Tyson Jackson, WR-KR Dexter McCluster, OG Geoff Schwartz, OG Jon Asamoah, LB Akeem Jordan, S Kendrick Lewis.

Possible salary-cap casualties: WR Donnie Avery, QB Chase Daniel. (Already cut CB Dunta Robinson)

Draft situation: The Chiefs will draft 23rd in the first round. They traded their second-round pick to San Francisco in the Alex Smith deal. They also swapped their seventh-round pick for the Dallas Cowboys' sixth-round pick in the Edgar Jones trade.

Revisiting 2013: What a season it was. After the misery of a 2-14 season in 2012, the murder-suicide of Jovan Belcher and the mother of his children and the subsequent housecleaning that followed, there were decent expectations for new head coach Andy Reid considering the amount of talent on the roster. That only increased following the acquisition of Smith. But eight wins, by many, would have been considered a brilliant bounceback. The Chiefs won their first nine games of the season, including dramatic victories in Reid's return to Philadelphia and a dramatic comeback against the Buffalo Bills. Smith steadied the offense, Jamaal Charles was again fantastic and the defense led the way. The Chiefs, however, couldn't solve the riddle of the Denver Broncos, losing to them twice, and in the wildcard playoff game, blew a 38-10 third-quarter lead after a slew of injuries against the Indianapolis Colts.

Reasons for optimism: The foundation of the defense is in place, with only a little roster tweaking required this offseason on that side of the ball. Smith remains in his pride, and he had a solid season with Dwayne Bowe — in a sub-par season — acting as Smith's No. 1 receiver. Charles remains as good a playmaker and home-run hitter as there is at running back in the game today, provided he can stay healthy. Reid and a strong staff appear to have a good thing going in Kansas City, and they should be in good shape long term — especially as Peyton Manning plays in what could be his final season in the NFL — in a division that has been very unstable in recent seasons.

Glaring hole to fill: There is a good chance the offensive line, which was a bedrock unit for the most part last season, will look vastly different next season. Branden Albert is seeking top-shelf left-tackle money and will play elsewhere next season barring a surprise turn of events; franchising him again really isn't an option. Schwartz and Asomoah are free agents. Rookie No. 1 overall pick Eric Fisher, who is at right tackle for now, looked completely lost at times last season. The team must make a long-term decision on Rodney Hudson, who is entering the final year of his deal. There's a lot to be solved here, and the team only has one pick in the first 86 draft selections and not a ton of cap space to play with.

Toughest decision: What direction will the Chiefs go in Round 1? Everyone is crowing for Reid to give Smith more receiving options, and that should happen. But it might be a little rich to spend the 23rd pick on a wideout when the draft appears to be teeming with talent at the position. We mentioned the offensive line above, and that would be a smart possibility. You don't have to do much homework on Reid to know that he loves drafting offensive linemen; at one point when he was with the Eagles, they drafted nearly two per year for several seasons. But what about trading down if the possibility is there? Adding picks would certainly help. There will be 2-3 teams possibly looking to move up to that point of the draft, perhaps for a quarterback, and it might be too good to pass up. The Chiefs need more picks.

Best-case offseason scenario: Assuming Albert is gone, the team could do itself a sold and re-sign Schwartz, who won't demand crazy money and who was very solid last season. Doing that and adding 2-3 more bodies up front, through free agency and the draft, will be a nice patch up front. The team also needs an upgrade at free safety, where Lewis is expected to be shown the door, and, of course, at wideout. Bowe is what he is, and McCluster and Donnie Avery are third and fourth receivers at best. The team also might need some returners, too. There is a lot to figure out here, even if the team isn't in horrible shape.

Previous Blueprints: 32. Houston Texans; 31. Washington Redskins; 30. Jacksonville Jaguars; 29. Cleveland Browns; 28. Oakland Raiders; 27. Atlanta Falcons; 26. Tampa Bay Buccaneers; 25. Minnesota Vikings; 24. Buffalo Bills; 23. Detroit Lions; 22. Tennessee Titans; 21. New York Giants; 20. St. Louis Rams; 19. Chicago Bears; 18. Pittsburgh Steelers; 17. Dallas Cowboys; 16. Baltimore Ravens; 15. New York Jets; 14. Miami Dolphins; 13. Arizona Cardinals; 12. Green Bay Packers; 11. Philadelphia Eagles

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Eric Edholm is a writer for Shutdown Corner on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at or follow him on Twitter!

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