Expect roster decisions but not overhaul for Chiefs after Super Bowl championship
AP

Expect roster decisions but not overhaul for Chiefs after Super Bowl championship

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MIAMI - Two days after falling to the New England Patriots in last year's AFC Championship game, the Chiefs announced that accomplishment wasn't enough with their swift transactions.

Defensive coordinator Bob Sutton was fired, beginning an overall in coaches and personnel that carried the Chiefs to the Super Bowl.

What will this offseason bring after Sunday's 31-20 win over the San Francisco 49ers and a long-awaited world championship?

Changes, though probably not the wholesale variety of last season, are likely in store. The most often asked question involves the extension for Patrick Mahomes, who with the Super Bowl completed his third season.

The Chiefs could over the never several months extend Mahomes, who enters the final year of his rookie contract in 2020, perhaps making last year's MVP the highest paid player in the NFL.

That title currently belongs to Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson, whose extension in April will bring his average annual salary to $35 million starting in 2020. He also received a record signing bonus of $65 million.

Speculation that Mahomes could become the game's first $40 million per year player has widely circulated. Chairman and SEO Clark Hunt and Mahomes each pledged their hope to keep Mahomes in a Chiefs' uniform over the long term in Super Bowl interviews this week, and Hunt said that could happen in the next "12 to 15 months."

But other decisions confront the Chiefs.

The team has 24 players who are free agents after the season, including starters or regulars like Chris Jones, Bashaud Breeland, Kendall Fuller, Demarcus Robinson and Reggie Ragland.

Others in that position that the Chiefs signed this year include Emmanuel Ogbah, Morris Claiborne, Mike Pennel, Stefen Wisniewski and Blake Bell.

Both backup quarterbacks, Chad Henne and Matt Moore, also become free agents and the Chiefs have to make a call to keep and pay a veteran or go younger and cheaper. Moore delivered a solid performance in his three appearances, including two starts, when Mahomes went down with knee injury.

Jones is the headliner among potential free agents. He skipped team activities after last season but returned for training camp and continued his upward trajectory career with nine sacks in 13 games this season.

A franchise tag is a possibility for Jones, who just completed his rookie deal.

The ongoing negotiations between the league and NFL Players Association comes into play. The current CBA expires in March 2021 and without firm guidelines on a new labor deal, negotiations on future contracts are difficult to work out.

"It will play a part, " Chiefs general manager Brett Veach said earlier this week. There are a lot of moving parts in all these things that have to do with the roster."

The Chiefs also will have to make a call on wide receiver Sammy Watkins unless Watkins makes it himself.

His average annual salary of $16 million ranks ninth in the NFL among wide receivers. The Chiefs could negotiate a new deal or release him to free up cap space.

Watkins also suggested during Super Bowl interview that he could walk away from the game, if only temporarily. "You just never know," Watkins said. "But I might just want to rest up and chill."

Tight end Travis Kelce has two years remaining on his deal, but would the Chiefs be interested in extending one of the NFL's premier players?

Visit The Kansas City Star (Kansas City, Mo.) at www.kansascity.com

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