The defending champion Rams were built to peak last year, and it worked, as they won the Super Bowl. But this season they fell back to earth, as trading draft picks and signing expensive veterans proved not to be the way to build a lasting winner.
The Chiefs have a different approach.
Kansas City has made it at least as far as the AFC Championship Game in all five of Patrick Mahhomes’ seasons as the starter, and the Chiefs are hoping to win their second Super Bowl with Mahomes in a week. And Chiefs General Manager Brett Veach says that with Mahomes, they expect to be contenders every season.
“When you have Pat Mahomes, we’re wired to go after it every year,” Veach told ESPN.
As an example, Veach cited the decision to trade wide receiver Tyreek Hill, and use the draft picks and salary cap space saved in that trade to build the defense. Veach said the Chiefs decided it just wasn’t realistic to think they could both keep Hill and bolster the defense the way they wanted.
“It became obvious as free agency started given the way wide receiver contracts were going up that it was going to be tough to do both,” Veach said.
Once they drafted Mahomes, the Chiefs had the biggest piece in place. But they also wanted to build a roster around him that could contend every year. And through five years, they’ve done just that.