KANSAS CITY, Mo. — NFL free agency formally begins after 3 p.m. local time on March 13 and the Kansas City Chiefs almost certainly will be scouring the market for impact defensive players, but the teams has other needs and some players fit better than others.
Nick Jacobs and the 4th and 1 podcast crew are exploring the Chiefs' options in free agency at positions of need entering the 2019 offseason.
[Feb. 28 — Nick Jacobs: Chiefs' biggest offseason needs]
[Feb. 28 — Tod Palmer: Chiefs' biggest offseason needs]
[March 6 — Nick Jacobs: Free-agent defensive backs targets]
[March 7 — Nick Jacobs: Free-agent edge rusher targets]
[March 8 — Nick Jacobs: Free-agent linebacker targets]
[March 9 — Wide receivers]
[March 10 — Nick Jacobs: Free-agent tight end targets]
[Gallery: Grading the Chiefs' use of the franchise tag through the years]
General manager Brett Veach and coach Andy Reid did a great job surrounding second-year quarterback Patrick Mahomes with the tools he needed to succeed in 2018. Mahomes, the former No. 10 overall pick in 2017, rewarded them with an MVP season and an AFC Championship Game appearance, coming up a couple stops shy of a Super Bowl berth
Kansas City's challenge moving forward is continuing to evolve the offense with the scheme and Mahomes' tendencies now on tape.
The New England Patriots provided a blueprint for stopping the Chiefs in the first half of both meetings last season.
Kansas City must counter by adding more weapons that a defense can't find an answer for this offseason.
Part of that mission must be adding insurance at the wide receiver position in case Sammy Watkins or Tyreek Hill are injured.
New England's defensive game plan shined light on how important additional offensive weapons will be in taking the Chiefs' 2019 offense to a new level.
Here are some wide receivers who may fit the bill:
WR John Brown, Baltimore Ravens
Age (2019 season): 29 — Height: 5-11 — Weight: 178
Brown, a former Pittsburg State star, has deceptive speed that could take the Chiefs' offense to another level.
Brown routinely finds the void in coverage and works to find spots for the quarterback to get him the ball. He can work outside or in the slot, is a solid route runner with explosive open-field speed, and possesses great vision to go with it.
Additionally, Brown does a good job of tracking the ball, adjusting his body, and fighting for the catch. His talents have been wasted in Arizona and Baltimore.
WR Cordarrelle Patterson, New England Patriots
Age (2019 season): 28 — Height: 6-2 — Weight: 228
Patterson is likely what the Chiefs envisioned when they drafted Chris Conley. He has a rare blend of size and top-end speed, but Patterson has shown an ability to turn on an extra gear against defenders — similar to Jamaal Charles and Tyreek Hill — that Conley never did.
Patterson improved his route-running with the Patriots and sells the double move better than he did with Minnesota or Oakland. The added benefit with Patterson is he can be utilized as a running back, a receiving back, an outside receiver or in the slot.
He also has value as a returner on special teams as he's is dangerous in the open field with his size and speed. Andy Reid could utilize Patterson in ways that would leave the league in awe.
WR Cole Beasley, Dallas Cowboys
Age (2019 season): 30 — Height: 5-8 — Weight: 180
Beasley didn't get to showcase his full potential in the Cowboys' offense, but he would be a massive addition as the Chiefs' slot receiver if the athletic ability holds up. He is quick in and out of his breaks and also knows how to sell his routes and create separation from the defenders.
Beasley displays good open-field vision, precise route-running, and would be the reliable receiver who helps the Chiefs routinely move the chains. He is the paper-cuts wide receiver who can do little things time and again that hurt an opponent.
From the slot, Beasley is a mismatch for safeties, linebackers, and opposing teams' third or fourth corners. The Chiefs' scheme could turn Beasley into their version of Julian Edelman from last season's AFC Championship game, consistently wide open over the middle and converting first downs on a routine basis.
Andy Reid is one of the few coaches in the league that could use Beasley's skill set to perfection.
Jamison Crowder, Washington
Age (2019 season): 26 — Height: 5-9 — Weight: 177
Crowder had elusive speed coming out of Duke. He was able to improve his route running despite having a succession of quarterbacks who were limited in showcasing his playmaking ability.
From the slot, Crowder has great speed and can turn a routine crossing route in a 79-yard touchdown. He would add a lethal element as the Chiefs' third receiver.
Phillip Dorsett, New England Patriots
Age (2019 season): 26 — Height: 5-10 — Weight: 192
Dorsett's speed forces corners to play off coverage, which routinely gives him cushion to work underneath. He has the speed to threaten deep and over the middle.
Dorsett catches the ball cleanly and makes clean cuts out of his breaks. He also has an additional gear when accelerating out of his double moves.
WR Golden Tate III, Philadelphia Eagles
Age (2019 season): 31 — Height: 5-10 — Weight: 197
Tate still has good speed for his age. He will be one of the top receivers on the market but also likely the most expensive.
Entering his 10th NFL season, Tate can work out of the slot and create separation with his route running. He would be a mismatch similar to his days with the Eagles and Seattle Seahawks, but — again — that comes at an inflated price.
In fact, the wide receiver market overall might be too rich for the Chiefs. The asking price being thrown around in NFL circles is $8 to $10 million per year, especially with an increasing belief among players that slot receivers should be considered starters and paid as such.
If rates come down or the Chiefs significantly improve their salary cap situation, there are opportunities for Kansas City to enhance its offense and add more wrinkles for next season.
Although it might be the offseason, you can listen to the "4th and 1" podcast each week with Tod Palmer and Nick Jacobs on iTunes [itunes.apple.com], Stitcher, Spotifyand TuneIn [tunein.com]. You can also find Nick on twitter @Jacobs71.
You can also find all of the 41 Action News podcasts. including "The 41 Files" and "Chew Diligence" here: https://www.kshb.com/news/podcasts