Welcome back to the second and final part of the winners and losers of the NFL offseason column series. The offseason grants any city the opportunity to turn its team into a playoff contender. However, as much as there are victors there are losers, and now more than ever, teams taking massive risks hoping to boom when they know they can bust.
Biggest Loser: Kansas City Chiefs
Kansas City has had one of the most explosive offenses in the NFL. During the past four years, its offense has ranked in the top three offenses in yards per game in the regular season. The one year they weren’t in the top three has been the only season wide receiver Tyreke Hill has missed more than one game — of four total — in a season.
In hopes of filling the hole, the Chiefs decided to sign JuJu Smith-Schuster from the Pittsburgh Steelers, but we’ve seen this movie before and it doesn’t end well. Smith-Schuster had his breakout season in 2018 — second in the receivers depth chart under Antonio Brown — where he racked up 1,426 total yards. Since Brown’s departure, he’s averaged 504 yards per season.
The three-time First Team All-Pro receiver was sent to the Miami Dolphins in exchange for five draft picks, including just one first rounder. Mahomes’ magical plays will keep the Chiefs a fun team to watch play, but without (arguably) the fastest player in the league, it will never be as fun or explosive as it once was, at least not for a while.
Besides their critical personnel loss, all three of their divisional rivals have gotten significantly better this offseason, two of which I mentioned in last week’s offseason winners column. Chiefs fans, the “but we have Mahomes” excuse is no longer something you can count on, or hide behind. For your sake, you better hope the draft capital the Chiefs have acquired is smartly used.
Since the Andrew Luck anomaly, the Colts have shifted from recruiting developing talent to quarterbacks going downhill, and the signing of former MVP Matt Ryan is a definite sign they haven’t learned their lesson.
The last two teams to win a Super Bowl have acquired a veteran quarterback in the offseason, but the Colts got the wrong idea. Don’t get me wrong, Matt Ryan has been a phenomenal passer, but he isn’t Tom Brady or Matthew Stafford — and at 36-years-old with mediocre numbers in his previous seasons, he isn’t the guy to win a Super Bowl with.
It’s a winning team, boasting a strong defense with depth and one of the best running backs on offense. They will most likely make the playoffs in what I believe is the worst division in the league, but once playoffs hit, they will hit like a truck.
Odell Beckham Jr.
After scoring the Rams’ first touchdown of last season’s Super Bowl, star wide receiver Oddell Beckham Jr. suffered a knee injury that wouldn’t allow him to return to the game the Rams would eventually win. As if anything since that touchdown could’ve gotten worse for him, the Rams signed wide receiver Allen Robinson, a recognized receiver in the game.
Having established himself as the second wide receiver of the Los Angeles Rams behind 2021-2022 Offensive Player of the Year wide receiver Cooper Kupp, Odell Becham Jr. now finds himself in a spot where he’ll have to decide between staying and fighting for the same role in a dominant team, or testing his luck in a team that would take a chance on a player with as many injuries and conflicts as he’s had in the past.
I don’t speak for Aaron Rodgers when I say quarterbacks with several (four) MVP awards and just one Super Bowl ring usually focus more on titles and legacy than they do on money. It might go either way for the NFL legend, but by taking a deal to make him the highest-paid quarterback in the NFL, he lost the Pippen to his Jordan — wide receiver Davantae Adams.
At age 38, Rodgers has been named NFL MVP for the last two seasons and shows no signs of slowing down. In my opinion, Adams wasn’t only his best wide receiver, he is the best in the league and makes the best duo in it with Rodgers throwing for him.
Congrats to the man on getting the bag, but it has become significantly more complicated for him to reach a Super Bowl without his other half, and with it, the opportunity to cement himself as one of the best to ever do it. Years from now that contract will taste more bitter than it does sweet, as the veteran signal caller wastes the final years of his career.