Chiefs still need another wide receiver even after adding Hollywood Brown

Despite signing Hollywood Brown, the Kansas City Chiefs still need to make a move at wide receiver

Nov 19, 2023; Houston, Texas, USA; Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Marquise Brown (2) runs with the
Nov 19, 2023; Houston, Texas, USA; Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Marquise Brown (2) runs with the / Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

In their first significant move since the NFL's legal tampering window opened on Monday, the Kansas City Chiefs signed Marquise "Hollywood" Brown to a 1-year contract late on Friday night.

It's no secret that the Chiefs needed help at wide receiver. An argument can be made that they lost multiple games in the regular season last year solely because their receivers weren't good enough. Hollywood Brown will help with that.

Although he's not the Pro Bowler that many Chiefs fans desire, he's exactly what they needed today. Other than Rashee Rice, Kansas City had Skyy Moore, Justin Watson, Justyn Ross, and Kadarius Toney as the top receiving threats on the roster. Hollywood Brown raises the floor of that group. Now, the team is not completely desperate for another wide receiver.

Despite signing Hollywood Brown, the Kansas City Chiefs still need to make a move at wide receiver

Kansas City has basically swapped out Marquez Valdes-Scantling for Hollywood Brown, who is a definite upgrade. According to Pro Football Focus ($), MVS averaged 0.78 yards per route run, while Brown was at 1.25. Keep in mind that the majority of Brown's targets in 2023 came from Josh Dobbs and Clayton Tune, while MVS had the privilege of playing with Patrick Mahomes. For reference, MVS would have recorded about 267 more receiving yards if he had the same yards/route run as Hollywood Brown.

In addition, since MVS declined in 2023 and because Justin Watson is not reliable, the Chiefs lacked a consistent true vertical threat. Hollywood Brown also changes that. He's a receiver with the speed to generate separation on deep attempts without the drop issues. Many fans will claim that drops are a flaw of his, but they're not. Per PFF ($), he had a drop rate of 4.8% over the past two seasons. Travis Kelce (6.0%), Mecole Hardman (9.1%), Marquez Valdes-Scantling (9.4%), Kadarius Toney (12.9%), and Justin Watson (15.4%) all had higher drop rates last year.

Despite all of the praise that I've heaped on Hollywood Brown, the Chiefs still need to add talent to their wide receiver room. Although Brown makes the depth chart better, he doesn't necessarily make it a great unit. He's not a true number-one option and has only surpassed 800 yards once in his career. Can a lot of that be blamed on not playing in pass-friendly offenses and dealing with injuries to himself and his starting quarterbacks? Sure, but that doesn't change the fact that he hasn't consistently produced like his draft position (25th overall in 2019) would have suggested.

The good news is that Patrick Mahomes does not need an elite wide receiver core to win Super Bowls, as last season proved, but that doesn't mean that KC shouldn't aim to improve it as much as they can. Though providing him with as many weapons as possible, mixed with the elite defense, gives the Chiefs the margin for error they lacked in 2023.

Most likely, the Chiefs will need to draft another wide receiver or two. The free agent market for receivers is pretty baron and K.C. doesn't have a lot of cap room (as of press time, they have under $9M in cap space, after the signing is factored in). Trading Sneed does give them more money to work with, but the team would be served focusing on the draft for another weapon.

Assuming the Chiefs stand pat at No. 32, the top options that could be available include Brian Thomas Jr. (LSU), Ladd McConkey (Georgia), Adonai Mitchell (Texas), Troy Franklin (Oregon), and Xavier Worthy (Texas). Will they draft a wide receiver in the first round this year? Recent history has suggested not, but no one knows how the draft will play out. Kansas City also needs another offensive tackle, so they may opt to wait until Day 2 to address wide receiver (again).

In the end, the Chiefs got better on Thursday night—no doubt about it. Hollywood Brown by himself isn't going to magically restore this offense to the levels we saw before 2023, but he will be a part of the greater solution as the team still needs to bring in more talent around him and Rashee Rice.

But if Brown can play at the level he did with Arizona the past two years, the Chiefs offense will be good again. If he can produce like he did with Baltimore in the early years of his career, plus a well-performing rookie, Kansas City has the potential to be one of the best offenses in the NFL once again.