Every NFL team’s potential breakout player for the 2022 season

Our NFL Wire editors examined one potential breakout player for every team ahead of the 2022 season, with big expectations for #Chiefs’ Mecole Hardman:

There’s no underestimating the transition from college football to the NFL, where it takes some players time to fully adjust to the size and speed of the pro game.

It’s why rookies rarely thrive and why we see some substantial jumps for young players over the course of a few years.

There are a number of players around the league who are primed to make a leap this season due to their situation and/or opportunity following what’s been a whirlwind of an NFL offseason, which has featured its share of change among NFL rosters.

From second-year quarterbacks to talented, young wideouts, our NFL Wire editors examined one player from every team poised for a breakout year in 2022.

One free agent each NFL team should want to sign in 2022

Every team gets better or worse in the offseason. If each team were to sign this one free agent, they’d definitely improve.

There are only four teams left fighting for Super Bowl LVI, which means 28 teams are deeply engrossed in the Business Season of the NFL. The first major tentpole event of that season is free agency, which begins at 4 p.m. ET March 16. Teams are aware of the salary cap for the 2022 season, and are planning to build out their rosters accordingly.

We’ve decided to give them some help. Cap and negotiations aside, we’ve determined one pending free agent (as of the time of publication) that isn’t currently on each team for each team.

Based on our results, expect hot markets for CB J.C. Jackson, WR Mike Williams and DT Akiem Hicks — none of which should be considered a surprise for anyone. There are interesting names that might not be the first considered in such an exercise, but compelling arguments are made.

Ranking Chiefs’ potential wild-card opponents, from easiest to toughest

While we’re all still hoping for a first-round playoff bye, here is our ranking of the #Chiefs’ potential wild-card opponents. | from @WesleyRoesch

The Chiefs may be finished with the regular season, but their playoff situation is still up in the air.

Kansas City finished with a 12-5 record after beating the Denver Broncos 28-24 in Week 18. With that win, the Chiefs can finish no lower than the No. 2 seed heading into the playoffs.

The Chiefs still have a chance to take the No. 1 seed, but in order to do so, they’ll need the Houston Texans to defeat the Tennessee Titans. If that doesn’t happen, the Chiefs will be a No. 2 seed and will play the No. 7 seed in the wild-card round.

Who that No. 7 seed will be is still a big question. There are seven potential opponents, and 128 scenarios that can impact who the Chiefs play in the opening round. Below is each potential opponent, ranked from easiest to toughest. I’ve also included the odds for that team being the Chiefs’ opponent based on the 128 scenarios, as well as probabilities from FiveThirtyEight.

6 Chiefs earn spot in 2022 Pro Bowl

The #Chiefs have 6 players headed to the 2022 Pro Bowl, along with 8 alternates. | from @WesleyRoesch

The Kansas City Chiefs are one of three teams who will send at least six players to the 2022 Pro Bowl, along with the Indianapolis Colts (7) and Los Angeles Chargers (6).

Of course, the Chiefs hope to physically send none of these players to the Pro Bowl as their Super Bowl hopes are still very much alive. Nonetheless, here are the Chiefs players who have earned the honor of Pro Bowler for the 2021-22 season.

Here are Chiefs’ position groups most affected by COVID-19 outbreak

We take a look at the position groups most affected by the current COVID-19 outbreak for the #Chiefs:

The Kansas City Chiefs are the latest NFL club to deal with a rash of COVID-19 issues. In total, the team has 16 players on the Reserve/COVID-19 list between the 53-man roster and practice squad. With preparation for the Week 16 game against the Pittsburgh Steelers beginning today, we took a look below at the position groups most affected by the outbreak, including those players currently available to play at each position. Obviously, this could change for better or for worse depending on the results of today’s COVID-19 testing.

For now, here’s a look at the position groups most affected for Kansas City:

5 best Chiefs PFF grades on offense through the bye week

These 5 #Chiefs players have turned in the best PFF grades on offense through the bye week.

The Kansas City Chiefs take a 7-4 record including four consecutive wins into the bye week. The team hasn’t quite found their groove on offense in the way they’d hoped to at this point of the season, yet they’re still one of the most productive and explosive units in the league. They still boast some of the top offensive grades in the league, but you might be surprised where their success has come on that side of the ball.

Below you’ll find a look at the Chiefs players with the five best overall grades (via Pro Football Focus min. 100 snaps) on offense through the bye week:

 

Updated Chiefs 90-man offseason roster by position group

Be sure you know how to identify all of the #Chiefs players at training camp with an updated 90-man offseason roster:

The Kansas City Chiefs are set to hit the practice field for their first 2021 training camp practice this morning.

Fans will flock to Missouri Western State University in St. Joseph, Missouri to get a first look at the Chiefs. The team has made a few changes to their 90-man offseason roster ahead of camp. They’ll begin to trim the roster, cutting it down to 85 players on August 17th.

Typically, during the offseason program, the NFL allows for duplicate jersey numbers, with one number on offense and one on defense. There are a few instances of that right now, but when they trim the offseason roster to 53 players, there won’t be any duplicate jersey numbers. There are also only a handful of players making use of the NFL’s new rules on single-digit jersey numbers.

With all of that in mind, here’s the latest look at the latest Chiefs’ 90-man offseason roster organized by position group:

7 Chiefs who could make their first Pro Bowl in 2021

A look at 7 #Chiefs players with the best chance of making their first Pro Bowl in 2021.

The Kansas City Chiefs have their eyes on a bigger prize, but the Pro Bowl is always a nice consolation, with a lasting impact on player’s individual legacies. The Chiefs had two players earn first-time Pro Bowl selections in 2020, with DT Chris Jones and DE Frank Clark being selected for the game. Of course, they both appeared in Super Bowl LV instead and didn’t play in the annual all-star game.

If the Chiefs want to get to Super Bowl LVI, they’ll need some Pro Bowl-caliber performances out of their players during the upcoming season. Here are the seven Chiefs with the best chance at making their first Pro Bowl in 2021:

4 best bargain contracts for Chiefs in 2021

Taking a look at four of the best bargain contracts for the #Chiefs based on their potential contributions in 2021.

The Kansas City Chiefs have made some new additions to the roster since the Super Bowl LV loss against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. They’ve assembled quite the talented roster for the 2021 season, but there are concerns about the team being a bit “top-heavy” in terms of their players and contracts. Chiefs GM Brett Veach has managed to add and keep some players at what should be considered below market value, based on the potential for contribution during the 2021 NFL season.

We recently took a look at Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes’ contract and discussed why it remains a massive bargain for the Chiefs. Besides Mahomes here are four of the best bargain contracts the Chiefs currently have on the books:

4 memorable moments from QB Chad Henne’s Chiefs career

In honor of QB Chad Henne’s 36th birthday, we look back at four memorable moments from his #Chiefs career thus far.

The Kansas City Chiefs notably have one of the best players in the NFL with starting quarterback Patrick Mahomes. However, the work isn’t done alone as Mahomes shares a quarterback room with his veteran backup Chad Henne.

Henne first joined the Chiefs in 2018 when Mahomes first took over as a starter. The veteran NFL quarterback hasn’t only played a part in Mahomes’ development, but he’s also proven to be essential when called upon in relief, especially during the 2020 NFL season.

In honor of Henne’s 36th birthday (July 2), we look back at four memorable moments from his Chiefs career thus far: