Which positions do Chiefs need to address in free agency, 2021 NFL draft?

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Charles Goldman
·3 min read
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The Kansas City Chiefs currently have 58 players under contract for the 2021 NFL season. Last season the NFL went with 80-man rosters for the offseason due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Typically, offseason rosters have been 90-player rosters in the past and it’s unclear what the NFL plans to do this time around. That means the Chiefs could need anywhere from 22-32 more players on the roster this offseason.

Here’s a breakdown of the players that are currently under contract by position group:

Position

Quantity

QB

4

OT

5

OG

4

C

1

RB

4

TE

3

WR

8

DT

5

DE

5

LB

7

CB

4

DB

4

P

1

K

1

LS

1

This group, of course, is not final. Brett Veach and his staff have yet to take any cost-cutting measures for the 2021 NFL season. Several players of the 58 currently under contract are at risk of being cut due to the lessened salary cap in 2021. That could need to add more at certain position groups based on what those cost-cutting measures actually look like. For instance, if the Chiefs release players like Eric Fisher and Mitchell Schwartz, suddenly that OT group is looking barren.

When you compare this to the position group breakdown of the 88 players the Chiefs had on the 90-man offseason roster ahead of the 2019 preseason, you’ll find that the team has some work to do.

Position

Quantity

QB

5

OT

6

OG

6

C

2

RB

7

TE

5

WR

13

DT

7

DE

8

LB

8

CB

10

DB

7

P

1

K

2

LS

1

The spots that stand out the most in this comparison include WR, RB, CB, DE, and DB. The positions that wouldn’t need as much help include QB, LB, OT, C, TE and DT.

These are just numbers on a page, though. They don’t include any of the necessary context required for NFL roster building. Which players are expected to walk during the 2021 and 2022 free agency periods? Where are the strengths of the free-agent class and the draft class? Will there be any salary cap casualties you have to account for?

Then there’s knowing the current players on the roster. Any Chiefs fan knows that the team doesn’t need any help at QB. They know that the RB position looks good with the expected return of Damien Williams. They know that the only C on the roster is an undrafted free agent that hasn’t played an NFL snap. They know that the OT spot is in a dire position with injuries and the salary cap situation. They also know that the LB position has underachieved since the days of prime Derrick Johnson.

Where the 2021 offseason roster currently stands, it’s safe to say the Chiefs will add to nearly every position on some level with the exception of maybe QB, K and LS. Adding DE, WR, and C will be paramount based on the expected departures in 2021 free agency. With an eye to the future, OT needs to be a priority given the injury and contract situations with Schwartz and Fisher. DB could also become a priority depending on whether or not players like Daniel Sorensen and Tyrann Mathieu are extended.

Beyond the need to just fill out the offseason roster, these pieces of context will influence a lot of the roster decisions moving forward. Some context we already have at our disposal, but things will continue to pop up as the offseason progresses.