The Chiefs had a solid draft weekend as the host city, but their first move after on the free-agent market was easy to see coming.
With the NFL Draft in their backyard, the Kansas City Chiefs made a nice showing for themselves as the Super Bowl champions had to fight an uphill battle when it comes to the draft, picking at the end of the first and second rounds. So to walk away with some real talent like Felix Anudike-Uzomah, Rashee Rice and Wanya Morris, among others, that can help the champs right away is good.
But one noticeable omission from the Chiefs draft class was a running back. Despite having only Isiah Pacheco and Clyde Edwards-Helaire, the latter of which has grown out of favor in Kansas City, on the roster, the franchise didn’t add another player to the backfield in the draft.
Clearly, that was a value-based move by Brett Veach and the front office, one that they had a ready-and-waiting Plan B for if things transpired in this way.
On Monday, they put that into action with word breaking, via NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, that the Chiefs are planning to re-sign and bring back running back Jerick McKinnon for the 2023 season.
The #Chiefs are expected to re-sign RB Jerick McKinnon, whose re-emergence has been a revelation for KC. He gained 803 yards from scrimmage last year, the second-highest total in his career, with 10 TDs.
GM Brett Veach alluded to this possibility with reporters just now.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) May 1, 2023
Chiefs rumors: Jerick McKinnon returning to Kansas City
As a rusher in Kansas City last year, McKinnon didn’t make much noise as he rushed just 72 times for 291 yards and a touchdown. However, he thrived as the pass-catching option out of the backfield, catching 56 of his 71 targets for 512 yards and nine touchdowns on the season.
Especially with the underperformance of Edwards-Helaire since he was drafted in the first round, the Chiefs need a reliable pass-catcher out of the backfield, something Pacheco doesn’t necessarily offer. So it was perfectly obvious that, after this draft, that they would bring back a player who was effective in that role and familiar with the offense.
McKinnon, moreover, was a Super Bowl hero, falling down short of the goal line with an open lane to the end zone in the final minutes in order to set up the game-winning field goal, an exceptionally savvy move that gave Mahomes and Kansas City a second Super Bowl of this era.
He might not be the long-term option but, to fill the roster hole, re-signing McKinnon was an easy move for the front office to make. And doing so immediately after the draft shows that was the plan all along depending on how the draft fell.