The 2021-22 campaign came to a disappointing conclusion for the Kansas City Chiefs last Sunday, but while the season may be over, preparations for next year are already underway at One Arrowhead Drive.
There's plenty to follow throughout the offseason – from the college scouting process and the NFL Draft to free agency and player acquisitions – as the Chiefs look to bolster their roster in an effort to get back to the Super Bowl next season. For a look at some important dates to keep in mind over the next few months, click here.
That work has already begun, and now with the season wrapped up, Chiefs' General Manager Brett Veach spoke with the media on Tuesday to discuss what to expect in the coming months.
Here are five topics that stood out from Veach's presser.
1. Veach discussed next steps for the front office and how they'll go about attacking this offseason in the upcoming weeks.
"I think our first line of business is to finalize where we are with our guys and our staff. Whether it's the new contracts, the restructuring [of contracts], the re-signings, guys moving on and trades," Veach said. "Once we finalize and stabilize what we have, it's just a matter of filling in the holes, and then it comes down to what makes sense from a financial term and a commitment term and marrying that with what we think is available in the draft. [After that], then it's being committed to [our] plan because of what's available is free agency and the price point in addition to what's either there or not there in the draft."
The Chiefs will have about six weeks to formulate that plan before free agency kicks off on March 16. The 2022 NFL Draft will then occur the following month from April 28-30. Kansas City's first selection will be No. 30 overall.
2. With that plan in mind, Veach was asked about the Chiefs' immediate priorities in terms of position groups when it comes to building out the roster this offseason.
"On one end, you're always going to keep your eyes and ears open and try to acquire the best players you can because, ultimately, you'll need depth everywhere," Veach said. "In general, I think most of the guys on the offense are back, and we have some work to do on the defensive side and on the defensive line, and we'll have some decisions to make. We'll always prioritize the offensive and defensive lines…I don't think it's far-fetched to think that we'll prioritize the lines like we always do. Knowing that we have a good offensive line in place, the defensive line probably makes the most sense, and through the defensive backfield and what have you. I think the defensive side is one that we'll probably focus on right off the bat."
Veach also mentioned that adding additional offensive weapons is always on the table.
"I think our priority is always any sort of advantage that we can get, we'll pursue," Veach said. "If it makes sense to us, it doesn't put us in any long-term binds and if there's any way we can get better and get [quarterback] Patrick Mahomes more weapons, we'll do that…I don't think we'll ever shy away from trying to get [that] one percent advantage and that's kind of how we approach things."
3. Veach went on to speak about the mentality of the front office in the context of how aggressive they'll be this offseason.
"I think we always have that thought process of never putting ourselves in a bind years down the road, but we try to blend that with aggressiveness just because nothing is ever guaranteed," Veach explained. "We have the best quarterback in the game, and we'll be as aggressive as we can. I think we'll also be cognizant of the long-term effects of things, and we'll look at other teams and where they are now as a good guide for what could happen if you get careless operating in that fashion."
3. Veach spoke about a couple of Kansas City's high-profile impending free agents, including All-Pro safety Tyrann Mathieu.
"I'm certain that Tyrann wants to be here, play here and that he loves it here, and we certainly feel the same way. We love him. The offseason – I know it's right around the corner – but it's a process, and when you work through it, the first thing that we always do is we try to separate [ourselves from] the emotion of the last game. The reality is always different from that raw emotion after a game, especially a game like that," Veach said. "So, we'll work with the coaching staff, and I know the coaching staff is hard at work with their scheme evaluations. We'll finalize our player evaluations, we'll get together, and we'll put together a plan. Usually, these plans are multi-faceted…One move is probably a result of either a move that you did make or didn't make. So, now it's just a process of letting all that stuff work out."
Mathieu started 47 games for Kansas City over the last three seasons, recording 27 passes defensed and 13 interceptions in that time.
4. He was also asked about left tackle Orlando Brown Jr., whose rookie contract came to an end this season.
The Chiefs acquired Brown this past offseason and proceeded to plug him in as their left tackle, where he started 16 games in 2021 and played at a high-level.
"[Orlando] was a guy that had a dream to play left tackle, and [we] had a small sample size of him playing left tackle in Baltimore. We had an opportunity for him to do that and we obviously feel like, as a whole, our offensive line [was] outstanding this year," Veach said. "He's another unique character, too, where when you talk about a culture and when you talk about a guy who does everything the right way, Orlando Brown is in the category. The guy never misses practice and he's as dependable as there is…I think he's done a great job at left tackle. We'll certainly work and get him done. We expect him to be our left tackle moving forward."
5. Lastly, Veach addressed the future of edge-rusher Melvin Ingram, who the Chiefs acquired mid-season.
"Obviously, he had a tremendous impact [for us this season]. He solidified the depth at that position and allowed [defensive lineman] Chris [Jones] to play more inside – more of his natural technique – but his leadership and his approach elevated everyone else's game. I don't think it was just a fluke that the defense kind of took off from there," Veach said. "With Melvin, I think it will be very similar to last year. I think he'll be a guy that will want to take his time. He's played a lot of snaps. He's still a productive player who can still help the team, and he would still be of interest to us. I think he'll go through the process of taking some time and getting with his family and seeing where he wants to play and what makes sense for him, but I do think that if a guy like Melvin decides that he wants to come back and play, I think that we would be at the top of his list, and that's something we'll work to keep the dialogue open with."
Veach's media session will likely mark the last time that we'll hear from the Chiefs in an official capacity until the NFL Scouting Combine begins in March, but as the offseason continues to unfold, we'll keep you updated here at Chiefs.com every step along the way.