Trading Tyreek Hill wasn't a wise move for Kansas City in the short run, yet the draft pick compensation the Chiefs acquired from the Miami Dolphins was enough to convince the franchise to move on from one of the best wide receivers in franchise history. It especially made sense if Kansas City wasn't going to give Hill the biggest contract for a wide receiver in NFL history.
Kansas City received a king's ransom for Hill, acquiring a 2022 first-round pick (No. 29 overall), 2022 second-round pick (No. 50) and 2022 fourth-round pick, a 2023 fourth-round pick and a 2023 sixth-round pick. The Chiefs are parting ways with the best deep-ball receiver of this era, as Hill leads the NFL in 20-yard, 30-yard, 40-yard, 50-yard, and 60-yard touchdowns since entering the league in 2016. Hill is also one of just four players in league history with 450 receptions (479), 6,500 receiving yards (6,630), and 55 receiving touchdowns (56) after his first six seasons.
There is no replacing a player like Hill, yet Kansas City can still revamp the roster with the $20.435 million saved in salary cap space. The championship window is still open, but it's up to general manager Brett Veach and head coach Andy Reid to keep Kansas City amongst the elite in the AFC.
Here's a look at the picks the Chiefs have in the first four rounds of the 2022 NFL Draft. Kansas City has eight picks overall in those four rounds.
- First round -- No. 29 overall (from Dolphins)
- First round -- No. 30 overall
- Second round -- No. 50 overall (from Dolphins)
- Second round -- No. 62 overall
- Third round -- No. 94 overall
- Third round -- No. 103 overall
- Fourth round -- No. 125 overall (from Dolphins)
- Fourth round -- No. 135 overall
That's a lot of draft capital for the Chiefs to move up in the first round and draft a wide receiver, or fill their needs having four of the top 62 picks. Kansas City can land a wide receiver or two with these picks, adding depth to a position that lost Hill, Byron Pringle, and DeMarcus Robinson. Wide receiver will be one of the top priorities for the Chiefs the remainder of the offseason.
Chiefs depth chart at wide receiver
The Chiefs signed JuJu Smith-Schuster in free agency, as he was slated to be the No. 2 wideout prior to trading Hill. Smith-Schuster is the top wide receiver option for Kansas City for the time being, with Mecole Hardman as the No. 2 wideout. Hardman will be used similarly to the way the Chiefs utilized Hill, as he must step up heading into the final year of his rookie deal.
Josh Gordon was brought back on a one-year contract, while Cornell Powell provides depth. There's work to be done in Kansas City here, as the opportunity to have more pass-catching options at the position is freed up with Hill's contract no longer hindering the roster.
|First Team||Josh Gordon||Mecole Hardman||JuJu Smith-Schuster|
Free agent targets
The 27-year old deep-ball receiver has averaged 17.5 yards per catch in his four years in the NFL -- including a league-best 20.9 in the 2020 season (33 catches, 690 yards, six touchdowns). Valdes-Scantling can stretch the field in place of Hill, giving Kansas City much-needed speed on the outside.
Valdes-Scantling thrived with Aaron Rodgers. He can certainly put up big numbers with Mahomes.
Jackson's best days as a deep-ball receiver are behind him, yet he can still take the top off a defense. He averaged 22.7 yards per catch last season in a reserve role with the Los Angeles Rams and Las Vegas Raiders, including having eight catches for 221 yards and a touchdown with Vegas (27.6 yards per catch).
A reunion with Andy Reid is possible, as Jackson would provide excellent veteran depth as defenses still have to be aware of Jackson's presence on the field. Even at 35, Jackson still has speed.
The Chiefs had interest in Beckham when he was released by the Cleveland Browns last year. Could an opportunity for a higher target share and catching passes from Patrick Mahomes entice Beckham to give Kansas City a shot?
Beckham turned his 2021 season around since signing with the Rams after an ugly breakup from the Browns, recording 27 catches for 305 yards and five touchdowns in eight games. He had 21 catches for 288 yards and two touchdowns in four postseason games, having two catches for 52 yards and a touchdown in Super Bowl LVI before going down with a knee injury.
The Chiefs may have to wait a bit for Beckham to get 100% healthy, but Beckham proved he's still a playmaker when he's on the field. Perhaps a multi-year deal could get Beckham an opportunity to be a top pass-catching open on a Super Bowl contender.
Injuries have taken the explosiveness that once made Jones the best wide receiver in the NFL. He's missed seven games in each of the last two seasons (hamstring and COVID-19) after only missing four games in the previous six. The result was Jones averaging 43.4 receiving yards per game in 2021, by far a career-low.
Jones has the highest yards per game for a receiver in NFL history (91.9) and is only 33 years old. The Chiefs could take a chance on Jones as an outside option, but Jones has to prove he can stay healthy. Adding Jones would definitely be a risk, although he can revitalize his career with Mahomes.
How to revamp the offense
Without the threat of Hill downfield, the short passing game will remain prevalent on Kansas City's offense. Smith-Schuster will provide a lot of options in the middle of the field, as Travis Kelce will open up the options underneath for Kansas City's top wideout.
Hardman will assume the role of the downfield threat and also be the recipient of the wide receiver reverse and screens, but Kansas City needs another target that can stretch the field. Kansas City needs Gordon to take a step forward in his comeback to give the team more depth.
There's still a lot of work to be done with this group, which needs an addition in free agency and the draft. A wide receiver in the first round would be ideal for the Chiefs in 2022 -- and there will be some playmakers available that can help this team win a second Super Bowl in four years.