The Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver group is one of the positions that had some of the most turnover this offseason. Three of the top four Chiefs receivers in snap counts last year—Tyreek Hill, Byron Pringle, and Demarcus Robinson—all left for new teams.
As a result, the team hit the position hard in the offseason by signing former Pittsburgh Steelers wideout JuJu Smith-Schuster as well as former Green Bay Packer Marquez Valdes-Scantling in free agency. They also followed it up by drafting Skyy Moore in the 2nd round out of Western Michigan who has impressed in training camp and preseason.
The Kansas City Chiefs will likely get a great return on their relatively low financial investment in the wide receiver group this offseason.
As I was scrolling through Twitter, I came across this tweet that listed some of the most expensive wide receiver groups and some of the “best value” receiver groups. Now, the Chiefs weren’t listed in either which got me curious as to where they stood.
As a preface, in my opinion, the tweet referring to the “best value” receiving groups is a little subjective because “best value” could just be the least expensive whereas it also just depends on your opinion of the receivers for each team. For example, the Baltimore Ravens are paying the least amount of money in the NFL on their receivers; however, their receivers are probably one of the worst in the NFL with sophomore Rashod Bateman being the only real notable receiver.
After adding up the numbers on Spotrac for what will presumably be the Chiefs’ top four receivers in 2022 (JuJu Smith-Schuster, Marquez Valdes-Scantling, Mecole Hardman, and Skyy Moore), the Chiefs will be paying approximately $16 million in 2022 for their wide receivers which rank in the bottom seven of the league in terms of payroll.
On paper, that’s probably one of the better value groups in the entire league and honestly pretty shocking given it’s a position the Chiefs take really seriously. It speaks to how well general manager Brett Veach did this offseason in rebuilding the group despite having to move on from Tyreek Hill.
JuJu Smith-Schuster who is the team’s No. 1 receiver by all accounts and has a career-high of 1,400 receiving yards in a single season, has a base salary of just over $1 million this year and could make approximately $4 million with incentives, an insane value for a top receiver on a team with Super Bowl aspirations.
It’s also an interesting approach when you look at the rest of the division and how the Los Angeles Chargers are pretty high up on the list and the Las Vegas Raiders went out of their way to pay Davante Adams top dollar to improve their odds. The Chiefs will be paying the least in the division for their receivers and still have a decent group to show for.
Just to compare, looking at the career earnings for the Chiefs’ top four receivers in 2021 on Spotrac (Tyreek Hill, Byron Pringle, Demarcus Robinson, and Mecole Hardman), the Chiefs were paying approximately $20 million for that group and even though about $16 million of that was Hill’s contract, a lot of people would argue that this year’s group is deeper and has more quality across the board for substantially less money.
Even crazier, the Chiefs are paying their current receiver corps less than what Hill will be making in his new extension with the Miami Dolphins. Had the Chiefs kept Hill and decided to pay him what he wanted, they likely wouldn’t have had the flexibility to improve the rest of the roster like they were able to even though having Hill and Smith-Schuster together would have been really fun.
If Mahomes is able to spread the ball around this season like we’ve seen in the preseason games to all the new and different options at wide receiver then the Chiefs will likely get a great return on their relatively low financial investment in the wide receiver group this offseason.