Why the Chiefs' need at wide receiver is being slightly overstated

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There are reasons to worry. There just aren't enough reasons for Kansas City Chiefs fans to worry that much.

Ever since the Chiefs traded away Tyreek Hill in the spring of 2022, two things have proven true: 1.) The roster has never been more balanced and talented overall in perhaps its entire existence, and 2.) Wide receiver hasn't looked this thin since 2014.

When you're winning consecutive championships, you'll take the second one if it brings the first.

Back to wide receiver. Last year, the Chiefs went to a convenience store and came out with more lottery tickets than ever before. It was risky, yes, but Veach didn't need all of them to hit—just some. And there were so many prospects that it felt as if things had to work out. It even felt good knowing the Chiefs wanted to keep seven wideouts for the first time on the active roster to break camp and that was after trading Ihmir Smith-Marsette.

Of course, we all know the story. Justyn Ross never got a real chance and failed to seize what few reps he got. Skyy Moore never established trust. Kadarius Toney couldn't hold onto the ball. Marquez Valdes-Scantling had buttery hands, while Mecole Hardman couldn't stay healthy. Oh yeah, Richie James disappeared, too.

In the midst of it all, Rashee Rice emerged in the season's second half to give the Chiefs' offense a lift and its only playmaker in a crowded room. Unfortunately, he flushed most of that goodwill down the toilet with an offseason plagued by poor choices and destructive behavior. He now faces eight felony charges related to a multi-vehicle accident in Dallas and a likely lengthy suspension via the Commissioner's office.

Here's why all of this matters: When you combine last year's misery with this offseason's uncertainty, you get a recipe for significant fan concern. That's why this area of the Chiefs roster is the one getting most of the attention these days, but in reality, it's not nearly the need that some people are making it out to be.

Visions of '23's offensive ineptitude are front-and-center on the minds of many Chiefs fans who hate the idea of sputtering once again when such historic success is at stake. But Brett Veach knows well what his offense is capable of and there's less reason for despair than one might think at this point.

Going vertical is an option again

You can be worried that Xavier Worthy is too slight or you can wish Hollywood Brown's deal was longer than a single season, but the truth is that the Chiefs' biggest additions in both the draft and free agency are here to do one thing: open up the offense.

Last offseason, Valdes-Scantling failed to make any opposing secondary respect the Chiefs' deep ball and the lack of speed behind him on the roster didn't help. It left the offense limited in very predictable ways—which only shows just how impressive the team's Super Bowl run was—and it's clear that Veach wasn't going to have that again.

The Chiefs might be bringing back Moore and Toney and Justin Watson, but they're not allowing them to take up WR2 or WR3 spots this time around. When and if Rice returns from suspension, the Chiefs will have Rice, Brown, and Worthy as their top wideouts, a dynamic offensive mix that will allow them to space the field in a way they haven't in at least a season or more.

Kelce's demise has been oversold

For all of the news about additions or subtractions, the truth is that tight end Travis Kelce is already the featured pass-catcher in this offense and that was true even with Tyreek Hill around. That eases the burden significantly on the Chiefs receivers.

Some fans will sneer at this idea given that Kelce is now firmly into his mid-thirties and just wrapped a season in which he missed the 1,000-yard mark for the first time in eight years. It's easy to glance at age and production and make some assumptions about his trajectory. However, you'd be wrong for doing so.

Here's what's true: Kelce dealt with lingering injuries from the first game of the season in '23. He sat out of the opener against the Detroit Lions—a game they lost, by the way—and was on the injury report thereafter. Even when he was back, he was dealing with the pain and concern of an injured knee and yet he was still just short of 1,000 yards.

Notice how Kelce looked in the postseason with 355 receiving yards and 3 touchdowns in four games. He looked as unstoppable as ever after getting a week off before the postseason and when healthy it's reasonable to expect him to look that way again.