Kansas City Chiefs mailbag: Tony vs. Travis and free agent questions

Addicts in the Arrowhead Addict Discord had some great questions for Jacob Milham, asking about the past, present, and future of the Kansas City Chiefs.

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The Kansas City Chiefs are unexciting in all the weight ways. No head coaching carousel, no betting on a rookie quarterback, no wide receiver getting into legal trouble in Miami. That’s what being the best team and organization in the NFL is.  Every other team is chasing the Chiefs right now. For long-time Kansas City fans, you know how it feels to be in the league’s basement better than most. But, your favorite team is on top of the mountain. Enjoy it. Cherish it. Learn from it.

In a slow offseason, there are still plenty of questions about the Chiefs. Training camp in St. Joe is less than a month away, but I needed some way to pass the time. Rather than rewatch the 1993 AFC Championship game, let's answer some questions! The mailbag will become a weekly fixture, as long as you have questions for me to answer.

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What free agent should we be looking to sign, and why is it not DHop?

Let’s get the signing out of the way, then I will give all of my reasons why I am out on free-agent wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins.

I think the common sense signing for the Chiefs would be a pass rusher on the edge. After all, the team is fairly young at the position and lost some depth when Frank Clark signed with the Denver Broncos.

Pro Football Focus suggested the Chiefs add defensive tackle Will Gholston, but I feel better about the interior than the edge. After all, players like Derrick Nnadi, Keondre Coburn, and Turk Wharton are already on the team for cheap. I want to see Coburn get a real shot at contributing during his rookie season, so not adding a one-year veteran above him would be ideal.

Back to the edge. Carlos Dunlap won a ring with the Chiefs last season, the first in his illustrious career. He is certainly open to a reunion and would be a valuable veteran, a la Melvin Ingram or Alex Okafor. I think his return to Kansas City is more likely than not, but he doesn’t move the needle much for me. Guys like Jadeveon Clowney and Yannick Ngakoue are all potential at this point, with both being far from well-rounded defensive ends.

I will give you two options: one if the Chiefs want a multi-year player and another for a one-year guy. If the Chiefs wanted to add depth for multiple years, I would look at Dawuane Smoot. The former Jacksonville Jaguars player is in contract purgatory after tearing his Achilles in Week 16. Any major injury is scary for a free agent, but buying low on Smoot fits the Brett Veach playbook well. He has had at least six sacks in his last four seasons, according to PFF. He wasn't even a starter for most of that, playing in 63 games with 17 starts.

I get it; the Achilles is scary. But research shows that Achilles injuries do not limit defensive linemen's performance after recovery. Therefore, there is no reason to doubt his ability to continue performing at a high level. He might be in a limited role in the first year, but signing Smoot could be a smart move for the team in the long run.

My one-year choice is going to ruffle some feathers. It is a good option, but some Chiefs fans refuse to acknowledge it: Justin Houston needs to come back to Kansas City. Houston's dominance on the field when healthy assuaged any fears about his injury history. His return could give the team's pass rush a much-needed boost, and his experience and leadership would be invaluable.

While it's understandable that some fans would be hesitant, keeping Houston on board could improve the Chiefs. He has at least 40 pressures in the past two seasons for the Baltimore Ravens. Since leaving Kansas City, Houston has been available, playing in at least 14 games every single season for the past four years. He even had 9.5 sacks last year for Baltimore while only playing in 44% of the snaps. The Ravens are the favorite to retain Houston, but the 34-year-old veteran could be interested in ending his career where it all started.

Chiefs Kingdom has been singularly focused on adding Hopkins ever since the Arizona Cardinals released him. I can’t say I am surprised, though. Hopkins was a generational talent at one point, making gold from glass with the Houston Texans. Hopkins was winning All-Pro accolades and setting history with guys like Tom Savage and T.J. Yates throwing to him. Don’t forget what a mess head coach Bill O’Brien was, either. It is crazy to think of all the things working against Hopkins in Houston, yet he still produced at an elite level.

It is understandably tantalizing to imagine him paired with Andy Reid and Patrick Mahomes, even though Hopkins is 31. I am not as bullish on Hopkins right now, simply because of his injuries and availability concerns. I get it; the averages are still similar to his Houston days, but the decline is noticeable nonetheless. Reid has made less talent at wide receiver work before, so why throw money at the position? Food for thought

Besides, ESPN's Jeremy Fowler reported that the Tennessee Titans are "well-positioned" to sign Hopkins, with the New England Patriots on their heels. Contending teams being out on Hopkins gives me cause for concern about something that teams have found or know about Hopkins. It could be the money, more injury issues, or just Hopkins' attitude toward his desired role. I get it; he is super talented. But he has to admit his 150+ target days are probably behind him.