The 2013 Kansas City Chiefs roster is probably almost finished. At this point free agency has pretty much come to a stand still. The draft is over. Undrafted free agents have been scooped up. At this point the pickens are pretty slim out there. The most likely additions to any team’s final 53 man roster will come after teams have to start trimming their roster and veterans lose their jobs to younger, cheaper players.
That having been said, I still think there is one move that KC could make that would have a real impact on their roster. I think they should sign Richard Seymour. Having read that, I’m guessing most of you reading this had one of two reactions. You either went “YES!” because you recognize Seymour’s name and know him from his Pro Bowl caliber days in New England several years back and think adding any “big name” player is exciting. Or…You rolled your eyes and thought “Come on, that guy is way past his prime and isn’t worth the money he would want.”
Let me start my argument for Seymour by saying that I didn’t set out to write this piece. I was originally going to do a piece predicting KC’s final 53 man roster this fall. During the process of putting it together I was working on who I thought might make the team on the defensive line and I was reminded of just how little pass rush presence the team has from its down linemen. Going into the draft I was sure they would take someone to add some push up the middle, even if it was just a developmental guy. That didn’t happen.
The Chiefs have some young guys they’ve brought in. Maybe one will pan out, but if KC is counting on Risean Broussard, Miguel Chavis, Rob Lohr, or Brad Madison to be a key pass rusher this season I think they are setting themselves up for failure.
The Chiefs currently have eight defensive linemen on their roster with NFL game experience. Here are those players with their career sacks and games played.
Tyson Jackson: 5/59
Mike DeVito: 2.5/85
Marcus Dixon: 2.5/22
Allen Bailey: 1/26
Daniel Muir: 0.5/46
Anthony Toribio: 0/17
Dontari Poe: 0/16
Jerrell Powe: 0/10
That’s a combined 11.5 sacks in 281 games played. That’s 0.04 sacks per game as a group. If you’re wondering, that means that as a group they average a sack every 24.4 games.
Let that sink in.
Of those eight players only Jackson and Dixon are averaging more than one sack per 16 games played, Jackson at 1.36 and Dixon at 1.82. Dixon isn’t even a lock to make the team (although I wouldn’t be at all surprised after looking at this list and knowing he played in the Jets system). If Jackson and Dixon both play all 16 games their career averages say they will COMBINE for 3 sacks. Thus far in their careers, that’s the BEST KC has to offer.
Under Romeo Crennel’s gap control 3-4 system you could at least make the excuse that it wasn’t the down linemen’s job to rush the QB in the base package. However, new defensive coordinator Bob Sutton is supposed to be making the change to an attacking 3-4 scheme. If that is going to work they are going to have to do a better job of applying some pressure from the defensive line.
Jackson showed some flashes last season. His 3 sacks last season were more than he had in his first three seasons combined (2). Still, we’re only talking about 3 sacks. Former first round pick Dontari Poe MUST improve his push up the middle if he is ever going to live up to his draft position. His development is probably the most vital piece of the success of this entire unit. Allen Bailey was supposed to be an interior pass rusher on passing downs, but one sack in 26 career games doesn’t exactly inspire a lot of hope.
This is where Seymour comes in.
Now, the fact that Richard Seymour has 57.5 career sacks compared to the 11.5 combined sacks of the eight DL currently on the KC roster says about all that needs to be said. However, it doesn’t really address the concern that Seymour is 33 and his best play is behind him.
Seymour only played 8 games last season, so injuries are a concern. However, when he did play he still registered 3 sacks in his half of a season. In fact, in his last three seasons he’s recorded 14.5 sacks in 36 games. That’s 0.4 sacks per game or 6.44 sacks per 16 games. That’s still more than all of the current KC DL combined. All of that coming in his 30s.
If I look at the current KC roster the number one hole I see is that of an interior pass rusher. There isn’t a doubt in my mind that of the players available that Richard Seymour is the best player to fill that hole. Now, if Seymour wants to be paid like an every down Pro Bowl player, then it won’t ever happen. The Chiefs just don’t have that kind of cap space, and even if they did Seymour isn’t worth that kind of money anymore. However, at this point it should be clear to Seymour that he is no longer a hot commodity around the league. If he would accept a lesser contract and rotational pass rusher role I think it could be a win/win situation.
The Chiefs don’t need Seymour in their base 3-4. The front of DeVito, Poe, and Jackson should be just fine at stopping the run and freeing up the LBs to make plays. However, in the nickel and dime Seymour would instantly become their best DL. Not having to play every down would preserve his body and help him stay healthy. He could conserve his energy and possibly be even more effective in pass situations. I think this could extend his career another couple of years.
He would also bring more veteran leadership to a young team, as well as a very competitive (dare I say “nasty”) attitude that has also been lacking in the recent past. I really feel that adding Seymour could help catapult the KC defense into one of the best defensive units in football.
Andy Reid is obviously known as an offensive coach. However, when the Eagles were their best under Reid between 2001-2004 going 48-16 and advancing to 4 straight NFC Title Games and one Super Bowl they also had a great attacking style defense under legendary defensive coordinator Jim Johnson. The defenses during those four seasons ranked 2nd, 2nd, 7th, and 2nd in points allowed and 7th, 1st, 9th, and 2nd in team sacks. Yes, Reid is great with quarterbacks, but when Johnson passed away and the defense dropped off, so did Reid’s win totals. Without a greatly improved interior pass rush the KC defense (although talented) will not be able to approach the level of those great Philly defenses. I think singing Seymour at least gives them a shot.
If John Dorsey and Andy Reid want to field the most competitive team possible in 2013 they should seriously consider bringing in Richard Seymour. In my opinion it would fill the one remaining glaring hole on this roster. What do you think Addicts? I look forward to hearing your thoughts on Seymour and the KC pass rush in the comments below.
As always, thanks for reading and GO CHIEFS!!!!!!!!