With so much movement in the NFL over the offseason, which is starting to look more like the NBA offseason, the balance of power in the league is changing. Big-name players are swapping jerseys on a regular basis, with this offseason being unprecedented for seeing familiar faces in different places.
As a result of all the trades and free-agent signings in the league, two perennial Super Bowl title contenders have taken some major hits. Although there has yet to be a snap in the 2022 campaign, these two heavyweights could be much different teams during the upcoming season and may lose their title-contending status.
KANSAS CITY CHIEFS
Ever since Chiefs head coach Andy Reid handed the reins over to Patrick Mahomes from Alex Smith, Kansas City has been arguably the team to beat in the NFL. The Chiefs' offense has been virtually unstoppable, which has led to one Super Bowl title in two appearances.
Although the Chiefs will still be a force to be reckoned with in 2022, the team is coming off a devastating loss to the seemingly inferior Cincinnati Bengals in the AFC Championship Game. As if a demoralizing loss to the Bengals wasn't bad enough, the team has lost its best offensive weapon outside of Mahomes in wideout Tyreek Hill.
As top-tier players in professional sports tend to do these days, Hill wanted to get paid more than the Chiefs were willing to pay. So even though Kansas City was an ideal situation for Hill, the speedy wideout requested to be traded and got his wish as he ultimately landed with the Miami Dolphins shortly after making the request to be dealt elsewhere.
This is a costly blow for the Chiefs as their best downfield threat is now gone. Hill was Mahomes' go-to guy in the offense, and without that threat downfield, Kansas City will see their quarterback under siege this season.
Yes, the Chiefs still have Travis Kelce. Yes, they were able to bring in another formidable receiver in JuJu Smith-Schuster. However, you can't replace Hill, and that will become painfully obvious as Mahomes and company try to compete in arguably the most stacked division the NFL has seen in a long time in the AFC West.
I'm not saying the Chiefs will miss the playoffs or fall off a cliff in 2022, but they won't be that dominant force of old and may even struggle against the three teams in their division that only got better this offseason.
GREEN BAY PACKERS
Few teams in the NFL have been as consistent as the Packers. The luxury of having a superstar quarterback that can stay healthy and productive year in and year out can directly result from that.
Unfortunately, Aaron Rodgers isn't getting any younger, and things just got harder for the four-time NFL MVP. Davante Adams, much like Hill in Kansas City, wanted out of Green Bay and got his wish. He's now the No. 1 option for Derek Carr with the Las Vegas Raiders, leaving Rodgers without the perennial Pro Bowler he'd become so accustomed to throwing to since 2014.
In Mahomes' case, at least the Chiefs tried their best to replace Hill with Smith-Schuster and a former Packer in Marquez Valdes-Scantling. Rodgers, however, didn't get the same due diligence from Green Bay's front office as they failed to bolster the receiving corps following the loss of Adams.
At 38, the game should get more manageable, with less stress on a superstar quarterback like Tom Brady has managed to accomplish with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at 45. He's got numerous targets to throw to and just added Julio Jones to the mix. Rodgers will have to make do with Sammy Watkins, Allen Lazard and an aging Randall Cobb.
The odds are not in Rodgers' favor in keeping the Packers a title contender in 2022. Green Bay will take a step back during this upcoming season, and it could be the beginning of a steady decline for one of the greatest quarterbacks in NFL history.