For the last week, the Kansas City Chiefs have been trolled by the rest of the AFC West. The latest instance was having to watch Davante Adams imported by the Las Vegas Raiders, but it’s been a steady parade of rival acquisitions for Chiefs Kingdom to watch—from Khalil Mack and J.C. Jackson to the Chargers to Randy Gregory and Russell Wilson to the Denver Broncos.
In the process, Chiefs fans have been frustrated on social media as the team was inactive compared to its rivals. As a part of the Kansas City Chiefs fan-base that took to Twitter following the Adams trade, I can tell you it was madness. But we should know by now not to underestimate general manager Brett Veach and the Chiefs organization. They know what they are doing.
On Friday it was reported that the Chiefs were going to be signing JuJu Smith-Schuster to a 1yr/$10.75mil contract.
Smith-Schuster to the Chiefs seems like a match made in heaven, one that looked very possible last offseason given that the Chiefs had made an appealing offer to the receiver. However, Smith-Schuster decided he wanted to make a run with the Steelers in Ben Roethlisberger’s last season.
Although the Steelers didn’t really do anything, I think we can all admire the loyalty of Smith-Schuster to take less money just to be there for Big Ben’s last season. It says something to the person and player he is. Now he is a part of the Chiefs organization playing with Patrick Mahomes and alongside Travis Kelce and Tyreek Hill.
What are the Chiefs getting with JSS?
The Chiefs have had a top receiving corps in the league for the past few seasons. Between Travis Kelce and Tyreek Hill, it’s hard not to appreciate the talent, but that doesn’t even account for players like Kareem Hunt and Sammy Watkins that the Chiefs used to have around them.
With that being said, it’s important to recognize that the Chiefs haven’t had those two players in a year or two now. Consequently, since that point, the Chiefs’ offense hasn’t been as dangerous. There have been games that the opposition has been successful at limiting both Hill and Kelce and those were generally games that the Chiefs have lost.
How do you fix that? You sign someone who can spread the defense or hopefully create mismatches in one-on-one situations. That’s where Smith-Schuster comes into play.
When you look back at some of Smith-Schuster’s previous seasons, it’s clear by the stats that he’s at his best when he has an elite option on the other side of him. When the Steelers drafted Smith-Schuster in 2017, they had the best receiver in football in Antonio Brown. So, when Smith-Schuster lined up on the opposite side of Brown, he was generally drawing weaker coverage which made it easy for him to obtain targets, yards, and touchdowns.
Looking at his 2018 season with the Steelers, Smith-Schuster played in 16 games. In those 16 games, he had 111 receptions on 166 targets. Additionally, he also had 1,426 receiving yards and 7 touchdowns.
So, how does that pertain to the Chiefs? Well, as I said previously, the Chiefs have got some real talent on their offense. They have one of the best offensive lines in football, they have a top-five receiver, and the best tight end in football. This brings us back to what I just said about Smith-Schuster. He’s going to thrive once again in 1v1 matchups.
What does the receiver room look like?
It’s obvious that Tyreek Hill will go into this year as the Chiefs wide receiver one. I mean, there’s no real argument to suggest otherwise.
From there, I suspect WR2 belongs to JuJu Smith-Schuster as someone who can line up wide or in the slot. The incentives are there up to $10.75 for good reason and the Chiefs have been missing someone in Watkins’ old slot. He’s got the physical upside, the reliability, and could potentially be a very good red-zone threat for the Chiefs.
Mecole Hardman is also around and has been taking great strides in his game. I mean, he came in as a sub-par route runner with below-average hands, yet he’s now really starting to find ways to create separation. Based on last season, his hands have also improved. Now, there is still more work to be done, but he did do much better in that part of his game. Hopefully, he can take another step up this season.
Other names currently under contract include Jody Fortson, Josh Gordon, Daurice Fountain, and Cornell Powell.