Justin Reid signing was a signal of a shifting Chiefs roster

Justin Reid(Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
Justin Reid(Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images) /

The first new signing for the Kansas City Chiefs in free agency was a big one. Not only did it add an impressive young defender to the mix, in safety Justin Reid, but it was an early offseason statement that pointed out a changing of the guard.

For all of the rumors that were flying around early in the legal tampering period on Monday, it’s a bit shocking that the Chiefs’ first move was not at wide receiver or defensive end. Those signings were sure to come, but based on the league-wide buzz at the time, the signing of Reid was a bit of a zig where the Chiefs were expected to zag.

But perhaps the Chiefs’ sense of urgency to do something at safety was a signal of what was to come. It meant the Tyrann Mathieu era was over and that the team was ready to usher in the next era of the defense. Combined with the trade of Tyreek Hill that happened a bit later, the whole roster was soon pushed over into 2.0 mode with Patrick Mahomes at the helm.

The Kansas City Chiefs gave an early indication in free agency that the roster was ready to shed its skin, so to speak.

The Chiefs will always be proud of their Super Bowl-winning roster of 2019, but successive attempts to make it back to the top came up short. And as the rest of the AFC is catching up to the Chiefs, the holes were beginning to look larger and larger for some swing-and-miss moves that didn’t quite work out (Frank Clark, for one).

It was bound to happen at some point, given that several Chiefs players were creeping into their thirties. The Chiefs had actually already started the process the year before with the Band-Aid ripping of the offensive line in 2021. Remember then that the Chiefs just outright released Eric Fisher and Mitchell Schwartz in a “let’s move on” approach to the whole line.

Beyond the o-line, the Chiefs knew Mathieu was going to reach into his thirties on his next deal, and tight end Travis Kelce is already there—although he’s obviously still playing very, very well. At the time, it seemed like a nice mix of youth and experience, but as Mahomes himself gets older, the Chiefs are now ushering in a new 25-and-under club with a tremendous load of draft picks to go with emerging new leaders like Reid.

Mathieu himself was just like Reid when he came to the Chifes. He was in his mid-twenties and signed after time spent with the Texans in free agency. He also had most of his accolades ahead of him as a versatile safety with a high ceiling. The Chiefs can only hope they’re growing into a similarly loaded roster with new signings and draft selections in the months and years to come.

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