The AFC arms race remains a prevailing storyline of the offseason less than a week away from the 2022 NFL Draft. The Broncos, Raiders and Chargers have all added blockbuster names, hoping to stake their claims to the divisional throne.
But what of the Chiefs, the reigning AFC West champions for six years running? The biggest names-on-the-move attached to Kansas City -- receiver Tyreek Hill and safety Tyrann Mathieu -- have been departures. Such losses might reasonably diminish expectations for fans or pundits considering the barrage of divisional acquisitions. Just don't count Chiefs general manager Brett Veach among the masses expecting anything less than business as usual.
And when it comes to the Chiefs, that business is winning.
"I think, and I've said this before, when you have Pat Mahomes, I think we're wired to go after it every year," Veach said during his pre-draft news conference Friday. "Just because you trade away a great player doesn't mean we're in a rebuilding mode by any means. It just means we're going to find a new set of resources and try to become aggressive."
The Chiefs' new resource allocation has come in the form of signing free-agent wide receivers Marquez Valdes-Scantling and JuJu Smith-Schuster. While Valdes-Scantling will work in tandem with Mecole Hardman to take the top of opposing defenses, Smith-Schuster, a possession wideout, figures to help combat the problems that plagued Patrick Mahomes in 2021 when faced with two-high-safety coverages.
Veach has not ruled out utilizing any of the team's 12 picks in the upcoming draft to further flesh out the reshuffled WR corps. Regardless of the roster's final shape come September, however, Veach's confidence in filling Hill's void ultimately stems from a slightly less speedy presence looming large in Kansas City.
"I also think that sometimes there is that mindset or idea or forgetting, I guess, of how great of a coach Andy Reid is. He's won with all types of quarterbacks and all different offensive schemes," Veach said. "We're going to go out there and collect good players and they may not be 4.2 guys, but they're good football players. We're going to put them in position to make plays and win a lot of games."
To underscore Veach's point, Reid and Mahomes have partnered together for 50 regular season wins, four consecutive AFC championship appearances and a Super Bowl victory since 2018. They are the reason for the AFC West arms race, not the likely victim of it.