Bosses are interested in Odell Beckham Jr. But they remain confident in the current WR corps

Phoenix – The Chiefs will continue to seek a deal for Odell Beckham Jr. But at the same time, the team don’t think they desperately need to add another future to their roster if Beckham chooses to sign with another contender.

At the NFL’s annual owners’ meetings, coach Andy Reid discusses his top three receivers, explaining why he thinks each of them — Marquis Valdez-Scantling, Toney Cadarius and Sky Moore — can improve next season, second in the Chiefs’ scheme.

“I know we’re comfortable with the guys we have,” Reid said.

Valdes-Scantling, Reid, is expected to be more of a leader and a more consistent threat in the deep and middle areas of the field while also getting more goals. A second round pick in the 2022 draft, Moore will have more opportunities to produce from the slot. The Chiefs are also more optimistic that Toney, a dynamic wide receiver they acquired in the middle of last season through a trade to the New York Giants, can become one of the newest stars in the league.

Conflict between Reid and general manager Brett Veitch: They understand it’s sound judgment to add a good future every season for star quarterback Patrick Mahomes, the league’s MVP, to work with. During the league’s free agency era, the Chiefs have yet to accomplish such a task.

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The prospect of the Chiefs acquiring star receiver DeAndre Hopkins in a deal with the Arizona Cardinals, another pre-draft option, seems unlikely. The Cardinals gave Hopkins permission to talk to other teams prior to the draft to help facilitate the trade, but Arizona is seeking second-round compensation. Also, going into Monday, the Chiefs had $5.1 million in salary cap space to use, according to Over The Cap. Hopkins, who has two years left on his contract, is set to earn a base salary this season of $19.4 million.

“Brett looks up to everybody,” Reid said when discussing the different receivers. He added of Hopkins: “Whether (Fitch) moved on with it or not, I can’t tell you. I don’t know how it’s going to turn out.”

A year ago, the Chiefs made the decision to execute a massive trade that sent super wide receiver Tyreek Hill to the Miami Dolphins in exchange for five draft picks.

The Chiefs then revamped the receiving company by signing Valdes-Scantling and JuJu Smith-Schuster. Although Mahomes and Valdes-Scantling failed to connect on many deep passes over the course of the season and former receiver Mikul Hardman missed the second half of the year with an abdominal injury, Mahomes still led the league in scoring with 5,250 yards and 41 touchdowns. Of course, Mahomes’ top passing option was star tight end Travis Kelsey, who finished with 1,138 receiving yards and 12 yards.

“It’s kind of a validation of our approach,” Veitch said last month during a league scouting meeting. “I think last year was a good turning point for our team. We saw a lot of different coverage and the teams forced us to be patient. When we looked at that trade last year, I think, in our mindset, we knew (we) wouldn’t find another Tyreek Hill.

“The great thing and the advantage we had is Pat can play any style of football. He can work with bigger receivers and play the small game if we have to. Speed, athleticism, versatility will always be at the top of our list (for receivers). But really We just wanted to bring together good players.”

When free agency began, Reid said the Chiefs did their best to re-sign Smith Schuster, who had produced 933 receiving yards and three touchdowns. But Smith-Schuster joined the New England Patriots, signing a three-year, $25.5 million contract with $16 million guaranteed.

“I love JuJu and he’s a good player,” Reed said. “He understands the game. He understands space. He’s not the fastest guy, but he’s quick enough. He likes to play and he’ll do well there. We would have liked (to keep him), but you had to manage all the elements of the (salary) cap and we couldn’t give him what they gave.” It’s good for him. He deserves this chance.”

With the loss of Smith-Schuster and Hardman, who joined the New York Jets on a one-year deal, the Chiefs will be tasked with trading in 1,261 all-purpose yards and nine touchdowns.

In addition to predicting a better upcoming year for Marquez Valdez-Scantling, Reed believes the player most ready for a breakout season is Tony, who offers a combination of speed, speed, and strength rarely found among receivers. In the last three games of the regular season, Tony, who has a better grasp of the Chiefs’ offense, recorded 123 all-purpose yards on just 10 touchdowns, including two touchdowns.

“Really, KT was mostly a (last year) rookie-fresh offense, missing a few games his first year and missing a few games his second year,” Reid said of Tony. “I think just knowing what we’re doing will help.”

Reed also shared that the Chiefs are optimistic they’ll be able to re-sign receiver Justin Watson to another one-year deal to help the offensive units and special teams. A four-year veteran, Watson recorded more receiving yards last season (315) than Hardman (297). The Chiefs could also use one of their best picks to select a receiver, as prospects like Jalin Hyatt (Tennessee), Jaxon Smith-Njigba (Ohio State), Quentin Johnston (TCU), Zay Flowers (Boston College) and AT Perry (Wake Forest) are all it’s interesting.

Another dark horse candidate for the position for next season is Justin Ross, who joined the Chiefs last year as an undrafted rookie but did not play after undergoing another foot surgery in July. Ross’ journey towards making his NFL debut began with a long and arduous rehabilitation. But he began running back and working on his running techniques in early February, even before the Chiefs defeated the Philadelphia Eagles to become Super Bowl LVII champions.

“He’s a different player, but we had a similar case with (former receiver Byron) Pringle when he was here,” pass game coordinator Joe Blemayer, a former receivers coach, said of Ross last month. “(Pringle) got hurt early on, too. When you come back after seeing the professional approach of the veterans in our room, (Ross) now knows what it takes. The physical tools are there for him. It’s all about approach, mental attitude, and consistency of your habits.”

The Chiefs’ victory over the Eagles could prove to be a pivotal moment in Moore and Toney’s development. Both players scored an easy goal in the second half during the Chiefs’ comeback win, and Tony made one of the game’s biggest highlights, a 65-yard punt return, the longest punt return in Super Bowl history.

After a 5-yard touchdown run by Tony, Reed stopped him on the Chiefs sideline for a few seconds to say words of encouragement to his receiver.

“He wasn’t playing much up until that point,” Reed said. “His number wasn’t called by the plays we were calling. I wanted to make sure he wasn’t frustrated. He just kept himself together and was able to put together those two plays, which were great.”

After the game, Tony Reid was called the smartest coach in the league. In their second season together, Reid hopes he can lift Tony to reach his full potential, an advance for a future third-year that should help the Chiefs’ offense stay strong.

“I’m just grateful to the organization for really accepting me and allowing me to be the player that I can be,” Tony said last month. “The environment only changes your life, only the energy you feel in the building day in and day out. It’s different.

“I’m surrounded by the MVP (in Mahomes) and tight end (in Kelce) in the league. I’m just trying to fit in and be the best player I can be.”

(Photo by Patrick Mahomes and Tony Cadarius: Patrick Brain/The Republic via USA Today)


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