Chiefs Fans: This week I will again guarantee that this post will be free of any talk of a certain game being played this Sunday and a certain team and quarterback that are a part of that game. This is a safe zone where only the Chiefs will be discussed.
Last week I broke down a couple of WR free agent targets in Jeremy Maclin and Golden Tate. I didn’t hide my preference for Tate over Maclin despite the Maclin connection with head coach Andy Reid. This week I will look at three possible free agent safety targets for Kansas City.
First off, before anyone asks, you won’t find Jarius Byrd or TJ Ward discussed in this post. That’s not because I don’t think they are great players that could really help KC, because they definitely are. However, the Chiefs just don’t have the salary cap space to sign either of those players, especially with how much money they already have invested in their defense, specifically their DBs, specifically at safety where they are set to pay Eric Berry $11 million next season. KC fans need to let the dream of one of those players ending up in KC next season die. It’s not happening.
So who could possibly end up in KC?
Today I’ll look at three different targets that wouldn’t cost KC an arm and a leg: the Dolphins’ Chris Clemons, the Giants’ Stevie Brown, and the Eagles’ Nate Allen.
First off, why these three? In my opinion Clemons is the best coverage safety that KC could afford in free agency, Brown is an interesting wild card that could be cheap coming off an injury, and Nate Allen was a 2nd round pick by Andy Reid in Philadelphia.
Here are some vitals for these players:
6’1″, 214 lbs., 28 years old
Career Stats (5 seasons): 277 tackles, 1.5 sacks, 17 Pass Deflections, 4 INTs
5’11”, 221 lbs., 26 years old
Career Stats (3 seasons): 111 tackles, 0 sacks, 13 Pass Deflections, 8 INTs
6’1″, 210 lbs., 26 years old
Career Stats (4 seasons): 262 tackles, 3 sacks, 24 Pass Deflections, 6 INTs
So let’s start with Chris Clemons. Clemons has played five seasons in the NFL, all for the Miami Dolphins. His first three seasons were relatively uneventful, but really came into his own the past two seasons as he started all 32 games and played well. Clemons has averaged 95 tackles these past two seasons (Kendrick Lewis has never had more than 60). However, it’s his coverage ability that would make him a HUGE upgrade for KC. Last season Clemons was the 9th best graded safety in coverage by Pro Football Focus (just one spot behind the highly coveted Jarius Byrd). Only 11 completed passes were credited against Clemons all season (making his 6 passes defended look even better). If this was Clemons only well rated season there might be cause for concern, but it only built off of what he did in 2012 when he also graded out well in coverage, allowing only 16 receptions and holding QBs to a QB rating of only 52.4 when throwing at him.
Honestly, the only concern I have about Clemons is that Miami won’t let him hit the open market. They have the money to re-sign him, so don’t be surprised if KC doesn’t get a chance to scoop him up. However, if he does hit the open market KC would be smart to make him a Chief and let other teams break the bank on Byrd and Ward.
The biggest wildcard on the safety market is New York Giant Stevie Brown. Brown has played three seasons in the NFL for the Raiders, Colts, and Giants and then missed this entire last season with an ACL injury. While Brown never caught on with the Raiders or Colts, when given the chance to play every game (with 11 starts) in 2012 with the Giants he responded with a 76 tackle, 11 pass defense, 8 INT season. Now, I will say that the 8 INTs don’t necessarily mean he is an elite coverage safety. In fact, despite his 8 INTs, he only graded out 0.3 total points higher in pass coverage than Chris Clemons did that season and Clemons only had 2 INTs. Can Brown repeat that ballhawking success? Will he be the same player coming off of his injury? He’s an unknown, but an unknown that should be relatively cheap and has at least shown enough upside to warrant taking a chance on.
Finally, there is Nate Allen. As was already mentioned, Allen has a connection with the Chiefs since he was drafted by their head coach Andy Reid in the second round in 2010. Much like Jeremy Maclin, Allen has accumulated a respectable amount of stats while playing for Philly in his four seasons, but most Eagles fans will tell you that he hasn’t lived up to the expectations they had for him as a second round pick. Here are his Pro Football Focus rankings among all safeties in coverage and overall ranking.
2010: 79th (coverage), 64th (overall)
2011: 22nd (coverage), 16th (overall)
2012: 82nd (coverage), 84th (overall)
2013: 51st (coverage), 49th (overall)
So you can see that overall Allen has graded out as a below average safety. In fact, even with his 2011 season, his overall rankings don’t look any better than Kendrick Lewis’s. Still, Allen has shown some ability and if Reid liked what he saw from Allen in Philly, he could easily be brought in at little expense to compete for a job.
So there you go KC fans, some realistic safety options for the Chiefs to consider this offseason. Do you like any of these options? Do you think I missed someone? Are you still in denial and can only think about signing Byrd or Ward? Do you want KC to ignore safety in free agency and draft one instead? What about bringing back Husain Abdullah and letting him compete with Sanders Commings? I’d love to hear what you think about the position that many feel is most in need of being upgraded over last season. Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below.
As always, thanks for reading and GO CHIEFS!!!!!!!!!!!!
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