This is part 2 of 2 part series in which I discuss the state of the Kansas city Chiefs Defense and transactions we can expect from this team. Currently the Kansas City Chiefs are almost 18 million dollars under the projected 178 million dollar 2018 salary cap. 5 million of that has been earmarked for their 5- 2018 draft picks. That leaves almost 13 million dollars to address this teams needs in free agency. I expect the Kansas City Chiefs to make a few more moves to free up more money. Tamba Hali, Allen Bailey and Ron Parker are players that I can see being salary cap casualties. By cutting these 3 guys the Chiefs can save close to 18 million dollars. Those moves would boost their spending budget to 30 million dollars.
Additionally, there have been some reports about the Chiefs trading away corner back Marcus Peters. While anything is possible, I don’t believe these rumors to be true. Marcus Peters is the best corner back on this team. He is shutdown corner. He makes plays all over the field. He creates turnovers at an astounding rate. In fact no other corner back in the league has created more turnovers than Marcus Peters since he came into the league. Peters is responsible for 24 turnovers in 3 seasons with the Chiefs. He is still on his team friendly rookie contract. Over the next 2 years he will earn a little less than 11 million dollars. He can then be franchise tagged for roughly 16 million the first year, 19 million in the second and over 23 for the third franchise tag. Peters is young, he just turned 25 and entering his athletic prime. All these factors contribute to a HUGE price for other teams to pay for the services of Marcus Peters. If a trade was to happen, my guess would be something like a defensive starter and 2 high draft picks— Not many teams can afford to offer that type of package. Now let’s get to the Defense!
Chris Jones- Chris Jones anchors this defensive line. He is a good young talent that has proven to be a very good defensive end. In 2017 he posted 32 tackles, 6.5 sacks, forced 4 fumbles and had an interception. He will be returning from a torn knee ligament. In a recent article he listed KC Joe’s as his favorite bbq who can argue with that assessment.
Allen Bailey- Allen Bailey plays defensive end opposite of Chris Jones. Bailey is not as explosive as Jones but that does not stop him from making plays. Bailey had 38 tackles and 2 sack in the 2017 season.
Tanoh Kpassagnon- Tanoh is the Chiefs 2017 second round draft pick. Standing 6’7 and weighing 290 lbs he has the look of an NFL defensive end. He went to Villanova and double majored in Finance and Accounting. He posted 14 tackles with 2 sacks in 2017. Being from a small school Tanoh needed a red-shirt season to acclimate to the rigors of the NFL.
That is it for the Defensive line, the Chiefs currently do not have a starting Nose tackle on the team. They also have very little depth in this area. This is an area of concern for the Chiefs. I can see this organization using both free agency and the draft to address this unit.
Reggie Ragland- Ragland came over from a trade that sent a 4th round draft pick to Buffalo. He is a hard-hitting linebacker from Alabama. At age 24 he is set to become the replacement for long time stalwart Derrick Johnson. While Ragland may not be as fast as some linebackers on the team he more than makes up for that with his tackling ability and hard hits.
Ukeme Eligwe- Eligwe is the Chiefs 5th rd pick of the 2017 draft. He projects as a weak side linebacker. Another young player that needs time to adjust and develop into an NFL player.
Justin Houston- Houston is a dynamic edge rusher when healthy. in 2017 he recorded 59 tackles with 9.5 sacks. He is the key to this defense’s ability to get a pass rush. In 2017 he dropped back into coverage more than every before and face double and triple teams throughout the season. In order for him to take the next step he needs a pass rush threat opposite from him.
Dee Ford- Ford is another young player for this defense. In 2016 he showed a propensity for sacking the quarterback. He finished the year with 10 sacks and was expected to make a larger impact in 2017. Ford however battled injury after injury and finally landed on the Injured reserved list. His status for the upcoming year is a huge question mark.
Frank Zombo- Zombo is a solid linebacker. He provides veteran leadership and depth for linebacker unit that has been hit hard by injuries. Most of his playing time has come on special teams an area in which he excels.
This unit is responsible for the Chiefs pass rush. In recent years, injuries and age has taken its toll on this position. The Chiefs need to address this position for both starters and depth. Free agency and draft picks need to be allocated to enhance this unit.
Marcus Peters- An unbelievable talent. A true shutdown corner. A difference maker for this defense. At 25 years of age he is another young talent on this defense. He shows great passion for the game and sometimes it gets out of control.
Eric Berry- At 29 years of age he is the senior statesman of the defensive backfield. His 2017 season came to an early end. In the first game of the season he tore his achilles tendon covering Rob Gronkowski of the New England Patriots. He is the unquestionable leader of the defense and a clubhouse leader. He should be ready to return for the season opener.
Kendall Fuller- Alex Smith was trade to the Redskins for Fuller and an additional 2018 3rd round draft pick. According to Pro Football Focus, fuller had graded out as the #5 corner back in the league. Fuller fills a huge need for the Chiefs defense. Another good young player for this Chiefs.
Daniel Sorensen- Sorensen was pressed into playing time when Eric Berry was lost for the season. Sorensen filled in admirably, he just lead the team in tackles. He is not as versatile or as talented as Eric Berry. But sometimes the best ability is availability. Sorensen got his shot and did well, a healthy Eric Berry moves Sorensen back to special teams and back-up role.
Steve Nelson- At age 25, Nelson is another young defensive player for the Chiefs. Nelson only got to play a half a season, he was recovering from a core muscle issue. When he returned to action he gave this defense a boost. Nelson has the ability to be a starter in this league and gives the Chiefs defense 3 very good corner backs.
Dave Amerson- Newly acquired free agent. Amerson is a depth player for this defense. He has shown flashes of being a good corner back but he has been limited due to injuries.
With Eric Berry, Marcus Peters, Kendall Fuller, Steve Nelson, Dave Amerson and Daniel Sorensen this unit is the strength of the defense. While a team can never have enough secondary help, I do not think the Kansas City Chiefs will sign another free agent corner back but drafting one never hurts.
In my opinion, most of the Chiefs resources need to be allocated to this side of the ball. This defense has grown old fast, and has been bitten by the injury bug. Draft picks and free agents will be brought in to help this Defense get back to being a force in the NFL.
Written By: Tom K
Follow on twitter: @ThomasKarlac