The playoffs are here and thanks to some Fitzmagic and the Miami Dolphins, the Kansas City Chiefs have a bye! The only downside to this for Chiefs fan (and trust me, I’m not complaining) is that fans have to wait an extra week before getting to see the Chiefs in action.
So to pass the time, I thought this would be a great time to look at the upcoming offseason and suggest five players the Chiefs should think about signing in free agency. These five players all vary in skill-set, cost, and position, but I believe if the Chiefs are able to land even just one of them, it would improve them for the 2020 season.
Keep in mind, the Chiefs are currently projected to have around 23 million in free cap space and will almost certainly be giving quarterback Patrick Mahomes the biggest contract in NFL history this offseason. This limits some of the players they can go after and, while the Chiefs will probably open more cap space by cutting/restructuring Sammy Watkins contract along with others, some of the big-name free agents will most likely be unobtainable for the Chiefs.
So without further ado, here are five players I think the Kansas City Chiefs should look at in free agency this offseason.
Chris Harris Jr., CB
First up is a guy Chiefs fans are all too familiar with. Chris Harris came into the NFL as an undrafted free agent in 2011 out of the University of Kansas. Since then he’s been one of the best corners in the league. Harris can play anywhere on the field and really excels in the slot. Pro Football Focus had Harris graded as the second-highest corner of the decade.
Richard Sherman has been the NFL's best CB this decade pic.twitter.com/1JoJmuPeOO— PFF (@PFF) December 31, 2019
The Chiefs secondary went from terrible to pretty good in just one year under first-year defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo. Credit 2019 free agent signing Tyrann Mathieu, rookie Juan Thornhill and the emergence of Charvarius Ward for this progression. Harris would allow the Chiefs to continue to progress in the secondary and having Mathieu and Harris flying around on the same side would be fun to watch.
The ACL tear suffered by Thornhill in Week 17 makes signing a defensive back even more important as Thornhill probably won’t be able to play until midway of the 2020 season.
Harris would be going into his age 31 season which should make him a little cheaper than his play suggests. There are risks by signing players that old, especially as a defensive back, but Harris has shown no signs of slowing down and is definitely worth a look for the Chiefs.
Danny Trevathan, LB
Keeping the 2015 Denver Broncos theme going, here is another player Chiefs should be somewhat familiar with. Now a Chicago Bear, Trevathan is one of the best run-stopping linebackers in the league and would really bolster a Chiefs’ linebacker core that has been shaky over the last couple of years.
This move would only be possible if the Chiefs cut LB Anthony Hitchens. Hitchens has had his ups and downs but has led the Chiefs in tackles in back-to-back seasons. If the Chiefs do decide to part ways with Hitchens, Trevathan becomes an intriguing free agent.
In 2018, the Chicago Bears had the best defense in the NFL and Trevathan was the signal-caller and leader of that defense. He is a high energy player that teammates love and respect. He had over 100 tackles in 2018 and was off to an even better start in 2019 before an elbow injury forced him to miss the final seven games of the season.
Trevathan will be 30 next season and the elbow injury may lower his price tag as well. If the Chiefs find themselves in the market for an inside linebacker that can stop the run, their first look should be at Danny Trevathan.
Breshad Perriman, WR
Here’s a player that you forgot existed or helped win you a fantasy football championship this year. The former 2015 first-round pick has been mostly a bust thanks to inconsistent play and injuries but broke out in a big way for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at the end of the 2019 season.
After Tampa’s top two receivers Mike Evans and Chris Godwin went down with injuries, Perriman recorded three straight 100-yard receiving games weeks 15-17. This makes him an intriguing free agent in 2020. Do you trust the first 50 games of his career or the last three?
.@B_Perriman11 had his 3rd straight game w/ 100+ rec yds after recording 0 such games in his first 48 career games— NFL Research (@NFLResearch) December 29, 2019
He is 1 of 8 players to have 3+ straight 100-yd rec games after having 0 such games in their first 48+ games
1 of the other 7 is his dad, Brett Perriman (54 games)
Clearly, he has potential as a former first-round pick and as far as arm talent goes, Jameis Winston is right up there with Mahomes (Winston’s decision making, however, yikes). Plus, the Chiefs should be in the market for a big receiver. Watkins is probably cut, DeMarcus Robinson’s future is unknown and Tyreek Hill and Mecole Hardman are both under 5’10”. Adding the 6’3” frame of Perriman down in the red zone would be huge for Mahomes and the Chiefs.
While Perriman has expressed interest to stay with Tampa Bay, if Andy Reid and Patrick Mahomes gave him a call, he might change his mind. A potential deal should be cheaper and only a year or two, making Perriman a low-risk, high-reward candidate for the Chiefs.
Gus Edwards, RB
I really wanted to put a Derrick Henry or Kenyan Drake here. It’s no secret the Chiefs have had trouble finding consistency at the running back position since Kareem Hunt left and adding a big name player would help solve those issues. Unfortunately, the Chiefs cannot afford this type of player and every year is proving more that is not smart to spend all your money on a running back.
Enter Gus Edwards. The former 2018 undrafted free agent, current Baltimore Raven has a had a very good start to his career and has gone over 700 rushing yards in a backup role both seasons. Edwards averages 5.2 yards per carry in his young career and shown promise as a between the tackle’s runner.
Edwards stands at 6’1” and 238 pounds. He would give the Chiefs and big-down back to pair with Damien Williams. Edwards is not used in the passing game at all, but part of that is Baltimore’s style of play.
One issue I could see with Edwards coming to Kansas City is he might want to go somewhere that he gets to be the featured back. I’m not sure the Chiefs would be able to promise him that as they have said multiple times this season that Williams is the featured back and Williams strong play down the stretch looks to only further that claim.
Again, this is another low-risk, high-reward type player, but he will certainly be more expensive than the aforementioned Perriman. Still, Edwards has shown a lot of promise his first two years in the league and we all know what happened the last time the Chiefs got a running back from the Ravens. Maybe they can strike gold twice.
Chris Jones, DL
Okay, I’ll admit this is cheating just a little bit. It’s just crazy to me that the Chiefs have not signed Chris Jones yet!
He’s been the best defensive tackle not named Aaron Donald and it wouldn’t surprise me if this time this year we were claiming Jones as the best. Jones continues to get better each year. In 2018 he had 15.5 sacks, but the knock his he couldn’t stop the run. Now, Jones can rush the passer AND play the run as he has consistently been graded one of the top run defenders according to PFF.
#Chiefs 2019 Week 17 Highest-Graded Defensive Player: DI Chris Jones – 89.1— PFF KC Chiefs (@PFF_Chiefs) December 31, 2019
• 4th 2019 game as highest-graded defender
• Finishes 2019 RS with 89.5 Pass Rush grade (2nd among DI behind Aaron Donald)
📸: Denny Medley, USA Today#ChiefsKingdom https://t.co/eQoKvEmIss pic.twitter.com/288wUJYnz5
Jones is not going to come cheap, but I believe he is a necessity to the success of the Kansas City Chiefs. A lot of games are lost or won in the trenches and it doesn’t get much better than Jones. Plus, with Mahomes at QB, the Chiefs are going to have a lot of leads where good pass rushers are vital.
Back in Peyton Manning’s Colts days, he had Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis to get after opposing quarterbacks and then Von Miller and DeMarcus Ware in Denver. With the Chiefs having Frank Clark locked up, signing Jones will give the Chiefs a similar duo to create havoc.
Chris Jones is a fan favorite, gets better every year and is one of the top defensive players in the NFL. The Chiefs need to do the right thing and make him a priority this offseason.