Five free agents who could still help the Kansas City Chiefs

Now that the NFL draft is over NFL rosters are beginning to take shape, but there are still a few free agents out there that could help the Kansas City Chiefs.
New Orleans Saints v Green Bay Packers
New Orleans Saints v Green Bay Packers / Stacy Revere/GettyImages

The Kansas City Chiefs are poised to have a Super Bowl-caliber roster again in 2024. Obviously, the foundation of that roster is their superstars like Patrick Mahomes, Travis Kelce, and Chris Jones, but in order to win a third straight Super Bowl the Chiefs will need to surround those stars with a well-rounded roster.

With the initial waves of free agency and the NFL Draft now both in the rearview mirror, most of their 2024 roster is now in place, but I believe there are still a few free agents out there that could help the Chiefs.

At this point there aren't any huge difference makers left in free agency. That doesn't mean there aren't good players available that could fill a role for a Super Bowl contender. None of these players should be paid a top free agent deal. Two of the four players on this list were once top paid players, but those days have passed. The other two are already coming off "contributor" type contracts. The Chiefs have enough cap space to get a couple of these players as long as they aren't holding out for a big payday.

Michael Thomas - WR - 6'3" - 212 pounds - 31 years old

Two of the Chiefs' top three wide receivers are listed at 180 pounds or less and the third is facing a potential multi-game suspension. The Chiefs don't need a major pass catcher, but they do need an experienced bigger body receiver that could play on the outside. Marquez Valdes-Scantling is still a free agent, but he is taking a visit to the Los Angeles Chargers. MVS would be fine to eat some snaps on the outside, but if the Chiefs want a better option, Michael Thomas is an appealing option. There is at least one report that the Chiefs were talking with Odell Beckham Jr. before he signed with Miami, so it seems they are at least considering adding a veteran receiver.

Thomas isn't the deep threat that MVS is, but he is a true outside X-receiver. He's had a multitude of injuries, but if he wants to chase a ring before his days as a usable receiver come to an end, the Chiefs could be an appealing option for him as well. Thomas played 78% of his snaps outside last season and had 39 receptions in 10 games for the Saints.

It's possible that Thomas still feels that his name alone should earn him a decent payday, but he has made over $70 million in career earnings. It's possible that he would be willing to play on a reasonable one-year contract with the Chiefs.

Zay Jones - WR - 6'2" - 200 pounds - 29 years old

If the Chiefs don't want to try and sell a former elite wideout like Thomas to take a cheap one year deal, Zay Jones could be another appealing option. Jones doesn't have quite the size that Thomas does, but he may have a little more spring in his step at this point in his career.

Jones played 70% of his snaps on the outside last season for the Jaguars. He ended up with 34 catches over 9 games. He wouldn't be a huge difference maker, but he'd be a preferable veteran option on the outside to Justin Watson. Jones' cap hit in Jacksonville last year was $5.8 million and it's quite possible the Chiefs could get him for less this season.

Before we leave the wide receivers for other positions, I'd just like to point out that a couple of guys you frequently hear mentioned, Tyler Boyd and Hunter Renfrow, didn't make my list because they are almost exclusively slot receivers. The Chiefs' top four wideouts on their roster are all good options out of the slot, but none of them are typical X-receivers.

Cam Akers - RB - 5'10" - 217 pounds - 24 years old

Isiah Pacheco is a good primary back for the Chiefs, but his slight frame and violent running style put him in danger of losing time due to injuries. The Chiefs brought back Clyde Edwards-Helaire, but he isn't a starting-caliber player and the Chiefs have been hesitant to use him as their passing down back. Cam Akers is still young and has experience as being a successful primary back during his time with the Los Angeles Rams.

While Akers hasn't been a prolific pass catcher in the NFL, he did have 30 receptions and 4 receiving touchdowns his final year in college and just last season he had an impressive 71.2 PFF pass blocking grade. That was actually significantly better than Jerick McKinnon's 58.1 last season.

I believe that being strong in pass pro is actually more important to the Chiefs on 3rd down than pass catching. I think Akers would be a great addition to both back up Pacheco and give them someone reliable in pass protection to play on third downs.

Donovan Smith - OT - 6'6" - 338 pounds - 30 years old

This one is pretty simple. The Chiefs have two young developmental options to play left tackle this season in rookie Kingsley Suamataia and second-year player Wanya Morris. The problem is that neither of them is a sure thing. So if the Chiefs wanted to raise the potential floor of the left tackle room, they could bring Smith back on another cheap one-year deal.

Last season Smith signed a deal for $3 million and that seems like a reasonable insurance policy in case neither of their young tackles are ready to protect Patrick Mahomes blindside on day one this season.

Calais Campbell - DL - 6'8" - 282 pounds - 37 years old

Calais Campbell is one of those physical freaks on nature that stands out even amongst NFL players. Last season he continued to be a reliable rotational player for the Atlanta Falcons despite turning 37 years old during the season. Campbell has always been kind of a "tweener" who's either a massive defensive end or a slender defensive tackle, but Steve Spagnuolo has never shied away from those players.

Campbell still put up an impressive 80.2 Pro Football Focus run defense grade last season. That is by far the best run defense grade of any interior defensive lineman currently available in free agency and the Chiefs could use a rotational player like that next to Chris Jones.

So there you have it Chiefs fans, those are the five free agents still available that I think could best help the Kansas City Chiefs in their quest to win an unprecedented third straight Super Bowl. It will be interesting to see if Brett Veach goes after any of these players or if he will wait and see if some of the young players he has brought in step up before he goes out and adds veteran players like these to fill out the roster.