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Tuesday, January 28, 2014
Chiefs position analysis: Wide receiver

By Adam Teicher

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Today's look at a position on the Kansas City Chiefs roster is at wide receiver, where the Chiefs need plenty of work.

Roster (10): Donnie Avery, Dwayne Bowe, Frankie Hammond Jr., Junior Hemingway, Jerrell Jackson, A.J. Jenkins, Dexter McCluster, Rashad Ross, Fred Williams, Kyle Williams.

Potential 2014 free agents: McCluster and Kyle Williams.

The position: No area on the Chiefs could use an upgrade quite like this one. It's not a good sign for an Andy Reid offense when a running back, Jamaal Charles, led the Chiefs in receptions, receiving yards and receiving touchdowns. In addition to finding help for 2014, the Chiefs need to start looking to the future as well. Bowe had what for him is a down season. It's possible he bounces back but the Chiefs can't count on that. Either way, he's going to be 30 in September and if his career slide hasn't started, it will be upon the Chiefs soon. So the Chiefs need to think about replacing him as the No. 1 wide receiver, eventually if not immediately. If they go the draft route for that, they will need to give the player time to develop into the role. Bowe was signed to a lucrative, long-term contract last year so it's cost-prohibitive for the Chiefs to release him this year. The Chiefs have another decision on McCluster, a potential unrestricted free agent. He gave the Chiefs 53 catches but had little impact in the form of big plays on offense. Because of that, he's not worth a lucrative contract but finding an upgrade at a reasonable price could be a problem. The Chiefs would also have to find a suitable replacement as a punt return specialist. Otherwise, Avery and Jenkins are fast but have yet to prove themselves dependable from week to week and down to down. Avery had more than half of his yards in three games. Hemingway is big and uses his body well, but he may never develop into more than a possession receiver. Hammond is an intriguing developmental prospect.

The Chiefs should keep: Avery, Bowe, Hammond, Hemingway and Jenkins. But all of these players except Bowe because of his contract are vulnerable depending on what the Chiefs do in free agency and the draft.

The Chiefs should dump: Jackson, McCluster, Ross, Fred Williams and Kyle Williams. McCluster is worth keeping but only on terms that are friendly to the Chiefs.

Free agency/ draft priority: If there's a player the Chiefs like and believe could eventually step into Bowe' role available when they draft in the first round, it would be a mistake for them to pass on him. Other than the ill-fated selection of Jonathan Baldwin in 2011, the Chiefs haven't picked a wide receiver in the first round since Bowe in 2007. Given that they haven't filled in well at receiver through free agency, it's time they look at doing so again.