Do The Chiefs Want To Keep Four Tight Ends?
If there is one position that has given wide receiver a run for its money on the most debated position list, it’s tight end. The depth and roles of the other tight ends behind Travis Kelce has been the subject of a lot of debate. The trio of Blake Bell, Noah Gray, and Jody Fortson give the Chiefs a lot of different options and looks they can go with. The two most popular opinions amongst fans has been to either keep all four tight ends or to cut Blake Bell in favor of the two younger options with more offensive upside.
I’m confident enough in this to write it emphatically before roster cuts are announced and you can call me out in the comments below if I’m wrong: Bell isn’t going anywhere. I’ve written about this before, but Andy Reid’s playbook uses the TE2 position much differently than the TE1 position. TE2 is a blocker first, receiver second position.
On K.C.’s two drives with the first string offense on Friday night, Bell was the only guy to play the TE2 position. Gray subbed in for Kelce on one snap at TE1 and then there was the four tight end formation that Bell scored a touchdown on and for that play Bell was lined up inside like he normally does.
Bell is the starter at TE2 and they drafted Gray to back up Kelce at TE1 (which is much more of a pass catching position). Gray wasn’t as big of star in the preseason games as he was in camp, but he’s still shown enough that there’s no way K.C. will risk trying to get him on the practice squad.
If Bell and Gray are locks to make the roster, then the question becomes whether or not Fortson is good enough to warrant keeping four tight ends. I believe the answer is yes. While I will argue that Bell is still clearly the best blocker of this trio, Fortson has made great strides there while showing more offensive upside than Bell. While I don’t think K.C. is ready for Fortson to unseat Bell as the main blocking tight end yet, with Bell on a one year deal and Fortson showing improvement in that area, I can see K.C. keeping him and grooming him to take over that role next year.
In the meantime they can use all four tight ends in creative ways. Plus, Fortson really stepped up his special teams play which makes keeping him that much easier. The only downside here is that keeping four tight ends means that you have to keep one less player somewhere else, which makes those cuts that much harder.
Next up, the interior offensive line depth is complicated by injuries.