December 11, 2011; San Diego, CA, USA; San Diego Chargers defensive tackle Antonio Garay (71) during the first quarter against the Buffalo Bills at Qualcomm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-US PRESSWIRE

Chiefs Free Agent Prospects: Antonio Garay


We continue to look at potential free agent prospects for the Kansas City Chiefs today by turning our attention to the nose tackle position.

Clearly the Chiefs have been dragging their feet for a few years on filling this position and presumably the team plans to put a stop to that by drafting a young prospect in 2012. That being said, there are always options available in free agency and if the Chiefs want to give their young guys some time to marinate, then they might want to see if they can snag a veteran placeholder.

Antonio Garay might be that veteran.

The more I think about the Chiefs going after Garay, the more I like the idea.

First a bit of background. Garay was drafted by the Cleveland Browns in the sixth round of the 2003 NFL Draft. He registered only four tackles for the Browns in 2003 and did not play in another NFL game until 2006 when he debuted with the Chicago Bears. He never caught on in Chicago either, playing in only 10 games from 2006-2007. He was placed on IR in 2007 after an illegal block knocked him out of a game against the Redskins. He was then dropped by the Bears and added to the New York Jets practice squad in October 2009. In December of that same year, he was signed by the San Diego Chargers.

In 2010, Garay finally won a starting job. He played NT for the Chargers for the entire year, racking up 48 tackles and 5.5 sacks. He kept his job in 2011, chipping in 57 tackles and 2.5 sacks.

Garay is 32 and will be 33 next November. He weighs in at 320 pounds and stands at 6’4”.

While he is certainly nearing the end of his career at 32, I think Garay has a few good years left in him. He may be 32 but he has hardly played any NFL football. Garay saw action in only 16 games from 2003-2009. He played in all 16 games in 2010 and 2011 so his body only really has the rigors of three full NFL seasons on it. At best.

Our friends at Pro Football Focus graded Garay at +4.0 overall on the 2011 season. He received a +1.5 run defense grade and a +7.3 pass rushing grade. PFF also credited him for three sacks, six QB hits and 20 QB pressures. He missed four tackles on the season and was credited for 23 stops.

Both Kelly Gregg and Amon Gordon are set to hit free agency. The only other NT on the KC roster is Powe and he wasn’t even good enough to be active most games.

Bringing in Garay for a couple of seasons would make sense for a lot of reasons. He is a veteran without too much wear and tear. He also is good at getting to the QB. Since the KC defensive line often struggles to get any pressure, having a guy like Garay providing help in the middle could make KC’s pass rush deadly. By comparison, Kelly Gregg was graded at -7.4 in pass rushing. His +7.5 run defense was the only saving grace.

Unless the Chiefs think they are getting a NT in the draft that can start right away, buying Garay in free agency would be a shrewd move. He won’t be super cheap but he won’t be expensive either. The Chiefs would also be removing him from a division rival so they would be getting a guy who is used to going up against the Broncos and Raiders and who knows a bit about the Chargers.

He also dyes his hair crazy ass colors.

What do you think, Addicts? Should Scott Pioli take a look at Antonio Garay?

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