The Kansas City Chiefs have a number of players preparing for this season like it might be their very last with the organization. It happens every year as veterans come in on what we call their contract years—the final seasons that feature them officially signed by the Chiefs—and several of them have visions of the open markets in their heads. For many of them, this will be the final year in Kansas City.
Some of those same players, however, will be welcomed back for more time with the franchise—or at least they will be chased. That's because the Chiefs would be wise to see players like cornerback L'Jarius Sneed or punter Tommy Townsend return if the value is right.
So who is out for sure next year? It's not always one of the big-time free agents—although it might be. There are cases to be made for nearly every player to return in the right circumstances, but when it came down to it, it was difficult for us to see a way forward for these players at least.
It might have been a bit of a surprise to see Nnadi even back this season but this has not been a kind offseason for the Chiefs when it comes to any plans to change things at defensive tackle.
Remember this: Turk Wharton was injured seriously last season and is returning to the field with hopes to contribute once again after surprising everyone out of Missouri S&T as a rookie free agent two years ago. Chris Jones remains a frustrated veteran waiting for a long-term contract extension and the rest of the position is rather forgettable around them with a few middling veterans like Matt Dickerson and Danny Shelton.
Coming into the draft, the Chiefs had a vision to trade up and take Michigan's Mazi Smith to upgrade the position, but the Dallas Cowboys weren't having it and took him instead. That left the Chiefs without a dance partner to move up and instead of a first-round investment, they came up with one in the sixth in Keonte Coburn out of Texas.
Coburn has a path to instant playing time, but no one should forget he's a late Day 3 selection. If he produces, it will be a welcome surprise, but with the word out about K.C.'s interest in Mazi Smith, it shouldn't surprise anyone to see the Chiefs make a bigger move next offseason to bring an impact player to the position at a cost-controlled price (e.g. to balance out Jones).
As for Nnadi, his snap percentage declined last year for the fourth consecutive year, showing that the Chiefs are depending less and less (and less and less) on him with each passing season. If Wharton is healthy and Coburn steps up, Nnadi might be a surprise cut this year, but at the very least, this feels like the last season of his usefulness in K.C.