The season ending playoff loss to the Baltimore Ravens unveiled the greatest area of need for the Kansas City Chiefs front office. Scott Pioli took his cue right from the game when he chose first round selection Jonathan Baldwin at No. 27 in the April NFL Draft — gaining an over-the-top vertical threat to pair with the Chiefs offense. But since Baldwin is a rookie without any offseason activities with the team or coaching staff, would it be worth it for the Chiefs to grab an elite wideout to go with him on the outside?
If you’ll remember the scenario, teams learned to stack the box by season’s end against the Chiefs league leading running game. Jamaal Charles and Thomas Jones can only do so much when teams are bringing eight defenders against the offensive line, and that places pressure on Matt Cassel and his receivers to spread the field. But when Dwayne Bowe is doubled up, the Chiefs had no other receiver who could ease the pressure.
Enter Baldwin, who was taken from Pittsburgh for his ability to get over the top and use his elite size and athleticism to provide another top rated target for Cassel. But rookie receivers rarely live up to their long-term potential, with Bowe actually serving as one of the few examples of the last few years of a rookie wideout lending instant impact on the field. For the most part, the results are middling as they learn the ropes in the NFL level.
The Chiefs are also going to have major money to spend given the new salary cap floor. They can no longer have tens of millions of unspent cash, if the lockout agreement is as reported. Thus with money to burn and a great free agent crop of wide receivers, is it possible the Chiefs grab both a first-round talent like Baldwin and a flashy name in the same off-season? There’s no reason why not.
Several name players are available, from Santonio Holmes to Sidney Rice and Braylon Edwards to Vincent Jackson. That’s not to mention guys like Malcolm Floyd as well. There’s plenty of supply but also lots of demand, which means the Chiefs should be aggressive if they’re serious about such an acquisition. Pairing a guy like Holmes opposite of Dwayne Bowe and allowing Baldwin to learn along the way seems like an ideal scenario for the Chiefs. Bowe is also in a contract year, which means he’s likely to perform well and show the Chiefs what they would be getting over the long-term given his up and down performance of the last two seasons.
If the Chiefs were to grab a Floyd or Holmes, their offense would immediately move into the “great” category alongside other offenses like Green Bay or Houston. Those are the types of offenses that can put up points at any moment and given the Chiefs playmakers on offense, from Charles to Bowe to even Dexter McCluster, it could be the move that puts the team over the top and deep into the playoffs. It would also be the case of turning a weakness one year into a major strength in the following season.