Predicting which 2024 Chiefs free agents will stay or go

Feb 12, 2023; Glendale, Arizona, US; Kansas City Chiefs defensive tackle Chris Jones (95) celebrates
Feb 12, 2023; Glendale, Arizona, US; Kansas City Chiefs defensive tackle Chris Jones (95) celebrates / Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
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Mike Danna, Defensive End

This is one of the picks that I'm the least confident in.

Mike Danna may not be a star player, but he has earned the trust of Steve Spagnuolo and the coaching staff. His performance as a pass rusher last year was commendable, and his ability to provide positional versatility on the defensive line adds value to the team.

Considering that George Karlaftis, Felix Anudike-Uzomah, and Charles Omenihu are all under contract for 2024, it might make sense for the Chiefs to allow Danna to explore other opportunities. However, it's worth noting that the outcome of the Chris Jones situation could influence their decision. If Jones is not with the team next year, the Chiefs may lean towards re-signing Danna to help fill the void left by Jones' production. How much money he wants will (of course) be a big factor in whether he's on the team next year.

Verdict: Going

Jerick McKinnon, Running Back

Jerick McKinnon is set to embark on his third season with the Chiefs, also marking his third consecutive one-year deal with the team.

The timing of his re-signings, both in early May this offseason and in the middle of June in 2022, indicates that the team has not been overly determined to bring him back.

Andy Reid's unwavering trust in McKinnon as the primary receiving back and top blocking running back has been evident. However, if McKinnon departs after this season, the Chiefs will be tasked with finding suitable replacements for those crucial roles, whether from their current roster or elsewhere.

Considering McKinnon's slight regression in blocking during the 2022 season, my confidence in a bounce-back performance for him in 2023 is not high. As a result, I anticipate that 2023 will be McKinnon's final season in Kansas City, and it's unlikely that he will secure a fourth contract with the team.

Verdict: Going

Tershawn Wharton, Defensive Tackle

The future of Tershawn Wharton is another whose future who could be tied to the outcome of the Chris Jones contract negotiations.

Should Jones choose to depart, it is highly probable that the Chiefs will retain Wharton as a potential replacement. However, if Jones re-signs, it would make sense for the team to explore upgrading behind him.

Although I may not be the biggest fan of Tershawn Wharton's past performances, it's worth considering that he is returning from a torn ACL, making 2023 a potential breakout campaign for him. Despite my reservations, I can envision the Chiefs considering bringing him back on a very team-friendly contract in 2024. Additionally, Wharton's pass-rush-first style, unlike rookie Keondre Coburn, provides logic in re-signing him to help maintain balance on the defensive line.

Verdict: Staying