Free agency is right around the corner, and the Kansas City Chiefs should be active on the free agent market. Winning a Super Bowl isn’t easy, but defending that title is even harder. The Chiefs have a lot of needs heading into 2020, and only so many resources to address them. If they want to build the best team possible, they’ll need to look for some diamonds in the rough during free agency.
7 Kansas City Chiefs Under-the-Radar Free Agent Targets
The Kansas City Chiefs primarily won the Super Bowl thanks to their high-flying aerial attack, but their defense held up their end of the bargain. However, the entire unit outplayed the sum of their parts, and Kansas City can’t bank on that happening again. They probably can’t afford the top market guys like Byron Jones and James Bradberry, so they should set their sights on guys like Logan Ryan and Chris Harris. However, if they can’t get those guys, Ronald Darby could be a nice reclamation project.
Darby missed five games with injury and was pretty atrocious when on the field. According to Pro Football Focus, the former second-round pick ranked 110th out of 113 qualifying cornerbacks in overall grade. That’s obviously terrible, but it’s also an outlier. Darby isn’t 2009 Darrelle Revis by any stretch of the imagination, but he’s usually a league-average starter. The Chiefs could buy low on Darby and hope he regresses to his typical form. A one-year deal with incentives makes sense for both sides.
Johnathan Joseph has definitely lost a step since his heyday, but he’s still a decent cornerback. The longtime Houston Texan ended the year as PFF’s 58th-best cornerback, finishing in the same range as guys like Logan Ryan, Eli Apple, and Brandon Carr. PFF grades obviously aren’t everything, but they’re the best public indicator of leaguewide performance. Teams generally don’t spend much on aging cornerbacks, so the Chiefs could probably sign Joseph to a favorable contract and help shore up the secondary.
Kansas City’s largest weakness is at cornerback, but they could also use some help at linebacker. Nick Kwiatkoski isn’t the biggest name on the market, but he represents one of the best potential values in the league. The former fourth-round pick spent most of his time in Chicago in a supporting role, but he’s been great when on the field. A jack of all trades, Kwiatkoski is an above-average player against both the run and the pass. While he’ll never light the world on fire, he’s the type of steadying presence that helps hold a defense together. OverTheCap projects Kwiatkowski to receive a two-year, $6.5 million contract, which would be a great deal for Kansas City.
Nick Kwiatkoski is the safer signing, but Christian Kirksey has the higher ceiling. When he’s at his best, Kirksey is an athletic stud capable of defending the run and the pass at a high level. However, he hasn’t been at his best in quite some time. The former third-round pick is hitting free agency at the wrong time, having only played nine games in the past two seasons. The Chiefs could probably sign him to an incentive-laden one-year deal. In a perfect world, Kirksey stays healthy, bounces back to his 2017 form, and plays a big role throughout the season.
Interestingly enough, the Kansas City Chiefs might actually be in need of a wide receiver. Sammy Watkins will probably be a cap casualty, and Demarcus Robinson will probably leave in free agency. This leaves Kansas City with just Tyreek Hill and Mecole Hardman in terms of proven commodities at wide receiver. Former first-round pick Breshad Perriman didn’t do much of anything early in his career but came on strong down the stretch with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. If he can do that for a full season, then the Chiefs should once again have one of the deadliest receiving groups in the league.
Every team in the league needs more help on the interior, so it only makes sense to get a guy that played multiple positions. Daryl Williams has experience at tackle, guard, and center and should be available for a reasonable price. While he’s nobody’s idea of an ideal starter, he can provide some competition for the interior offensive linemen and play in a pinch in case of injury.
Michael Bennett is a fantastic talent, but an absolute headcase. The former Super Bowl champion has played on four teams in the past three seasons, as each team decided he’s not worth the headache. Kansas City is… familiar with players like that and typically manage to overcome said issues and put a great product on the field. If Bennett’s market is weak, don’t be surprised if the Chiefs nab Bennett on a one-year deal to pair with Chris Jones.
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