With the first week of the 2021 free agency shutting its doors for good, what was the worst signing/re-signing the Chiefs did last week?
Hello again everyone and welcome to another week of the ArrowChop! This week is a bit different in format, but usually, this is the column where we look at the positives/negatives of a certain Chiefs/NFL issue and look at both sides of the aisle. Then you, the readers, will come to your conclusions after I lay out the case. So sit back, relax, and enjoy as we breakdown this week’s hot topic.
The first week of free agency officially came to a close on Sunday with the Chiefs signing two new players to their offensive line. Joe Thuney signed a nice five-year, $80 million deal, and Kyle Long signed a sweet one-year, $5 million contract. They have also resigned some valuable players to the roster as well like Taco Charlton, Mike Remmers, Darrell Williams, and others.
However, even in the midst of the good signings, there are always the bad ones seeping their way into the mix. There was one resigning in particular that baffled Chiefs’ fans from all over were the Ben Niemann signing. Niemann has come to be known as one of the worst defensive players on the roster according to fans, analysts, etc, so with that said, was Niemann’s resigning the worst in the Chiefs’ first week of free agency? Let’s break down both sides of the aisle like we always do and find out:
Niemann was the worst resigning
I’ve talked about Niemann before, so I’ll reiterate some of my points here:
Firstly, coverage-wise, he’s terrible and is among the worst in the league; in 22 targets thrown into his zone, 18 of them were caught, yielding an 81.8% completion percentage. In a nutshell, it means that the quarterback has one of the highest percentages to complete a pass if it goes Niemann’s way. To add to this, he has allowed 231 receiving yards with 115 of them being after the catch, two touchdowns, and 12.8 yards per completion. This earned him an atrocious 140.7 passer rating when the ball is thrown in his zone.
Secondly, in the pass rush, he’s appalling as well. In the 79 times he blitzed for the Chiefs, he had he only had one sack, five pressures, three QB knockdowns, and one hurry. For someone who has the number of snaps and chances he’s been designated, it’s not worthy. As I said in my other piece linked above;
Compared to other linebackers on the team like Hitchens and Gay (who had a very small sample size with 19 blitzes), they have done a better job with less time blitzing than Niemann has done with his countHunter Stanton, Arrowhead Live
Finally, there is a viable linebacker that the Chiefs could pick up in free agency; that is Eric Wilson. Wilson was the right outside linebacker for the Vikings and started all 15 games last season, and did he show up. He posted the stats listed below:
- 122 combined tackles
- Nine QB hits
- Eight tackles-for-a-loss
- Eight passes deflected
- Three sacks
- Three interceptions
- Two fumble recoveries
I’m sure if you were to compare the two, Wilson would be highly serviceable, and as we look at the depth chart, Niemann could easily take a starting spot. A majority of Chiefs’ fans don’t want this. A nice one-year deal could work out to have Wilson put the pen to paper.
Niemann wasn’t the worst resigning
Some don’t believe he’s the worst for these reasons:
Firstly, he knows the system Spagnuolo and the Chiefs like to run on defense, so he’s the best fit. Teams always want someone who can fit into their system as quickly as possible, and with Niemann being in that system for a good while, he can work with it. No one thinks he’s the best player on that defense, but you could link this to the adage, “he must be doing something right”.
Finally, Niemann has an exceptional football IQ. Spagnuolo has stated that Niemann is “a very intelligent football player”, and continues by stating:
He’s a true pro. He knows everything we put in. He’s a great communicator, he’s become a great communicator. I’ve got great confidence in him and Hitch (Anthony Hitchens) when we put them in front of the huddle and when they break the huddle and have to make adjustments.Steve Spagnuolo, Chiefs Defensive Coordinator
Niemann himself told the press the work he has been putting in:
I mean just getting into my book, learn as many spots as possible, so I can plugin and play wherever they need me to… just being able to plug and play kind of wherever and this offseason just tried to attack everything in terms of working out the playbook and all thatBen Niemann
What do you think the worst signing of free agency was? Leave a comment down below to join the discussion, and be sure to follow me on Twitter @HunterStanton8 and @ArrowheadLive. Thanks for reading, and have a fantastic day.