Chiefs and Buccaneers won the offseason
By: Andy Davies
“Who has won the offseason?”. This is an age-old question that is often asked after free agency and the draft.
Teams are often said to have won free agency or won the draft, therefore being held the ‘Offseason Champions’. This rarely translates to success on the field. In truth, no one knows when a player is drafted or signed in Free Agency how they will perform for their new team.
Two teams that in my opinion, that won the offseason, are the Kansas City Chiefs and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and here is why.
Addressing The Areas Of Need In Kansas City
The Chiefs lost 31-9 to Tampa Bay in Super Bowl 55 just over three months ago and there was one clear issue that needed to be addressed, the offensive line.
Eric Fisher and Mitchell Schwarz were the two notable absentees in the o-line as the replacements failed to protect the former MVP and Super Bowl MVP Patrick Mahomes.
This limited the Chiefs to just three field goals all game, despite possessing the most exciting offense in the league.
Kansas City made the moves in the offseason to address this glaring need. There was a questionable start when both Fisher and Schwartz, who were missed in the Super Bowl, were released.
However, Joe Thuney walked through the door after five seasons and two Super Bowl rings with the New England Patriots. Kyle Long also joined in free agency via the Chicago Bears before the Chiefs traded for Baltimore Ravens lineman Orlando Brown.
People would have not been blamed for thinking the Chiefs had acquired all the offensive lineman they needed. Instead, the Chiefs continued to acquire offensive line help through the draft.
Oklahoma centre Creed Humphrey was acquired with the 63rd overall pick, as was Tennessee guard Trey Smith in the sixth round.
During the entire three seasons in college with the Sooners, Humphrey allowed 0 sacks and just 28 quarterback pressures from 1,297 passing-blocking snaps.
Linebacker has also been a position that has been an understated need and the Chiefs went out and took Missouri linebacker Nick Boulton with the 58th overall pick.
Clemson wide receiver Cornell Powell was also taken to replace the departing Sammy Watkins, who left for the Baltimore Ravens in Free Agency.
The Chiefs have done exactly what any team should do, and what the great teams always do. They have gone out and efficiently acquired help for positions of needs.
Familiar Faces In Tampa Bay
In the salary cap era, Super Bowl-winning teams often have issues bringing players back.
Tampa Bay have brought all of their starters back in their attempts to ‘Go For Two’.
This in itself is a reason why the Buccaneers have won the offseason. They have players coming back who showed they know the system well by winning the NFL’s greatest prize in February.
Quarterback Tom Brady is likely to have one or two years left in him at the very minimum. Having offensive weapons such as Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, Leonard Fournette and Antonio Brown available will allow Tampa Bay to once again go far in the postseason.
Defensive studs such as Shaq Barrett and Lavonte David were two of the starters to come back. Along with Jason Pierre-Paul, the Buccaneers can keep one of the best defensive units in the NFL.
Tampa Bay have added depth to their roster, with Washington linebacker Joe Tyron being drafted 32nd overall. Florida Gators quarterback Kyle Trask was taken in the second round. He will be a backup for at least two or three seasons and who better to learn from than the greatest quarterback of all time?
Notre Dame offensive tackle Robert Hainsey, Auburn linebacker K.J. Britt, BYU cornerback Chris Wilcox and Houston linebacker Grant Stuard were also some of the players taken the draft.
These players were taken along with North Texas wide receiver Jaelon Darden, who could prove to be a sleeper pick after recording two double-digit touchdown college seasons and 1,926 receiving yards across 2019 and 2020.
Both the Chiefs and Buccaneers have both set themselves for success and with their decisions so far this offseason, it would not be a shock if they were to both be back for a Super Bowl rematch in February.