For the Chiefs, It’s the Draft or Bust

The contrast between the offseason that Andy Reid's former team is having, and the one Reid's current team is having, couldn't be starker.

The Eagles didn't even wait until the draft to fill their two biggest needs on offense by acquiring first speed receiver DeSean Jackson and then power runner Jordan Howard (apparently they had future plans that did not include the oft-injured Jay Ajayi, who remains available in free agency) in bargain-basement deals.

The Chiefs, on the other hand, have already lost running back Kareem Hunt (they saw the handwriting on the wall and released him; after the Browns signed Hunt, the league suspended him for the first eight games of the 2019 season in connection with an incident in which Hunt retaliated physically against a woman who hurled a racial slur at him in a hotel hallway) and are certain to lose Hill, quite possibly forever.

Ray Rice received a de-facto lifetime ban for doing a lot less than Hill, who was kicked off Oklahoma State's football team in 2014 following an incident in which he strangled his girlfriend. Now Hill is under investigation again, not only for assaulting the same woman from the 2014 incident, who is now his fiancee (she must be in the line for the Tammy Wynette Award for standing by her man!) but also for severely beating the couple's 3-year-old son.

But what have the Chiefs done about either of these matters?

Answer: they have not signed either a single running back or a single wide receiver in free agency (running back Carlos Hyde not really counting as he was cut by the Jaguars, his third different team, on March 9). And worse yet, speaking of free agency, they have lost three starters on defense therein — linebackers Justin Houston and Dee Ford, and five-time Pro Bowl strong safety Eric Berry (who hasn't been signed by another NFL team yet, but the line of teams reportedly interested in doing so is longer than the one typically seen camped outside your local Walmart on the night before Black Friday), making what was an already suspect (to be nice about it) defense that much more so.

Instead, Reid has been fiddling while his team burns, wasting valuable time and energy on lobbying to get the overtime rules changed. He may very well get his wish when the owners meet again, for three days starting May 20 in Key Biscayne, Florida. But unless Reid plugs up the holes on his roster, as Hillary Rodham Clinton famously said, what difference does it make?

Reid had a history of "keeping the depth chart out of the draft room" in Philadelphia. Clearly he is not going to be able to do the same thing later this month.

More bad news comes courtesy of the schedule: KC's is 40 percentage points tougher in 2019 than the 2018 schedule was, based on the final 2018 standings — the fourth largest year-to-year jump in strength of schedule to be made by any NFL team.

Between the travails the Chiefs face, the Broncos remaining dazed and confused as usual, and the Raiders still being, well, the Raiders, the AFC West race in 2019 is likely to consist of the Los Angeles-turned-San Diego-turned-Los Angeles Chargers, and three victims.

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