Nov 24, 2013; Miami Gardens, FL, USA; Miami Dolphins strong safety Chris Clemons (30) reacts after breaking up a pass intended for Carolina Panthers tight end Greg Olsen (not picture) at Sun Life Stadium. The Panthers won 20-16. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Kansas City Chiefs Free Agent Safety Targets: Chris Clemons, Stevie Brown, and Nate Allen


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:

Chris Clemons:
6’1″, 214 lbs., 28 years old
Career Stats (5 seasons): 277 tackles, 1.5 sacks, 17 Pass Deflections, 4 INTs

Stevie Brown:
5’11″, 221 lbs., 26 years old
Career Stats (3 seasons): 111 tackles, 0 sacks, 13 Pass Deflections, 8 INTs

Nate Allen:
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.

Oct 7, 2012; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Giants defensive back Stevie Brown (27) intercepts a Cleveland Browns pass during the first half at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jim O

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!!!!!!!!!!!!

Follow me on Twitter: @LyleGraversen

Next Chiefs Game View full schedule »
Saturday, Aug 2323 Aug7:00Minnesota VikingsBuy Tickets

Tags: Chris Clemons Kansas City Chiefs Stevie Brown

  • Stacy D. Smith

    I’m not going to hold my breath for either Ward or Byrd either, but Dorsey could potentially clear $20 million plus in cap space if he needed to. We know they want to extend Alex Smith. That’ll be the first domino in that process.

    • mattU

      I’m not sure where you are seeing $20MIL that can be cleared. It’s doubtful extending Smith will result in cap hit any lower than it already is in his current contract: 7.5MIL. Cutting Robinson and Avery clears a little more than $8MIL…Seems like they’d have to trade Hali or Flowers (both have cap hits over 10MIL [3MIL in signing bonus KC would still be stuck with]) to get close to $20MIL.

      • Stacy D. Smith

        Smith’s going to get a reasonable extension that will probably backload most of the money. I can see that cap number coming down a few million without much trouble. Add another couple million by cutting Robinson. Those two moves frees up about $5m. Then you have probably 3-4 players you can restructure. I don’t think it’s unreasonable at all. $20m is a lofty goal. No question about that. My only point is that Dorsey will have options for acquiring players.

      • Lyle Graversen

        Actually, cutting Robinson and Avery only clears about 4 million because of guaranteed money we owe them regardless of if they are cut or not.

        • mattU

          You’re right, looks like 4.65MIL is all we save from cutting Robinson and Avery. And since Avery will only save 1.3MIL, it seems doubtful he’ll get cut.

    • Lyle Graversen

      Yeah, I think we’ll be lucky to clear any cap space in a new contract for Smith. I know they back load those things, but if he wants anything close to what Cutler got I think the 7.5 mil he’s due next season is about as low as it could get.

      • Stacy D. Smith

        Np way he gets anything close to what Cutler got.
        I’m not even sure he’ll get a deal comparable to Schaub’s 2012 extension.

        • mattU

          I think you may be underestimating the value of even decent QBs. Cutler and Schaub (well not Schaub anymore) are 2nd tier QBs just like Smith. Even Carson Palmer is due 11MIL in 2014.

  • tm1946

    There are a ton of Chiefs fans who say just wait for Commings, he has a contract and Dorsey may agree and just wait on Safety. With our limited money situation, might be a bit wiser to spend on other positions, WR? and require current roster players to step up. Unless they have no step to make.

  • tomflex

    I would be shocked If Dorsey just sits on his hands and goes into next season without making a move at free safety. I think a proven veteran is an absolute must it’s too important a position to hand over to a winner by default, or a recovering ACL injury, or even an inexperienced rookie. If we ever hope to get that playoff win we have to plug that hole in our defense….

  • micah stephenson

    Byrd is the beep! If we can afford it we should try to get him. I do like Clemons too. I often trade for him in my madden online franchises, he taller, bigger, and faster than Lewis. I would not b upset if Abdullah, Demps and Commings fought it out for the spot. I also think getting more pass rush is just as important if not MORE important than getting a FS.

    • thabear04

      The Chiefs first gotta sign Abdullah and Demps for the starting spot. And Commings need to stay healthy first.

    • superman_25_58

      A 3-4 DE all around stud would be pretty sweet! Now who would you double team? Tamba? Houston? Poe? New Stud? and lets not forget about DeVito but they will “TRY” to man up on him. Finding one of these studs would be pretty nice and will make our Defense be top 5 no matter who is manning the FS spot IMO bc once our pass rush stopped after the bye week, it killed us just like it would any team who plays mainly man coverage. I like the Idea of Abdullah, Demps, and Commings battling it out at FS. I think Abdullah looked good for someone coming off of a year or so break and you would think he should be much better next year. I thought when he came in the game most of the time he held his own and made some big plays.

      • mattU

        I don’t care if we add Reggie White…nobody is getting to the QB if they can get rid of the ball in less than 3 seconds in all but 4 pass attempts (Manning in 1st game at Denver). When you see the ball coming out that quickly, it’s on the secondary to bump guys off routes and make plays…ours didn’t.

        • superman_25_58

          Seattle begs the differ. They got to that 3 sec release and whooped his ass all over the field during the biggest game of their careers. With out that dominant DL it may be a different story, but it makes my point…………. a Bad ass 3-4 DE JJ Watt/ Sheldon Richardson clone is just what we need to keep the pressure on QB’s and keep this team on the winning track game in and game out! What about picking up Arthur Jones from the Ravens and put him at LDE? Just a question. Maybe pick up Maclin (should be real cheap and looking for a one year prove it contract) than turn around and try getting Golden Tate, Doug Baldwin, Riley Cooper or Decker to fill the #2 WR spot (None of these WR’s should be very expensive IMO). Than we can focus on getting a FS, ILB, WR, DE, TE in the draft. Just a thought.

  • Stacy D. Smith

    Mike Mitchell’s the guy I’m hoping for.

    • Lyle Graversen

      He was the next guy on my list after these three. I actually like him more than Allen but thought the Reid connection made Allen more likely. I think Mitchell would be to safety what Akeem Jordan was to ILB. A solid guy that fills the spot but not a difference maker. He’d still be an upgrade over Lewis, so no complaints there. I think Clemons is my first choice, but if not him I say sign Allen if you can get him cheap, bring back Abdullah, draft a guy in the mid to late rounds, and then have all three compete with Sanders Commings in camp for the spot. May the best guy win.

  • freshmeat62

    I don’t know what kind of money these guys would get, but I’m not impressed w/ any of them, and think the Chiefs would be better off using the draft and picking people up after players are cut from other teams. I have faith in Dorsey/Reid being able to find some gems from the pile of rocks. Guys that don’t fit one teams scheme, can be a diamond in another. I’m just not sold on FAgncy. They’re mercenaries, like the Hessions at Trenton – can’t count on them.

  • Tommy

    Something BIG is going to happen this off season! The moves talked about on here barely free up enough cash to sign our draft picks. I’m predicting Tamba and or Flowers will be traded IF Dorsey finds a sucker (Romeo) that’s 21 Million plus draft picks in this awesome class. Dorsey has proven he is all about now and our current situation is not going to get us there. As much as I Love those guys it’s a business and from that standpoint Now is the time to try and move them. If that happened we coul see a quality CB and S not to mention a couple extra picks…that’s how KC gets deep in the playoffs

    • Jim Harper

      I am with Tommy on this one. Now is definitely the time to trade Tamba while he is still a pro bowl player. It is all about getting value while value is there. I am also big on Abdullah and Commings to replace Lewis. For me, Demps only value is as a return specialist. Personally I think Cooper has outplayed Flowers. The few times Cooper got beat was when his safety help (Lewis) failed to cover over the top.

    • Lyle Graversen

      The problem is those numbers aren’t right because you only trade away their base salaries not the prorated guaranteed money (at least that’s my understanding). In other words, trade or cut, we are still on the hook for a chunk of change to both of those guys. If we’re going to have both of them counting against the cap for next season we might as well get the benefit of their play on the field as opposed to having to pay them AND find replacements, and any good replacement that we find in free agency is probably going to cost as much or more as the money we saved by trading them after we pay their guaranteed money so we wouldn’t be gaining any cap space at all towards other positions.

      • mattU

        I believe prorated bonus is only thing that stays with the team that was signed with…According to overthecap, that looks like $3MIL for Flowers and a little under $3MIL for Hali. So trading them both would free up about $16MIL. Better now than later IMO…these guys are Probowl talents right now on the wrong side of their prime. If you can get high picks for them, I think it makes a lot of sense to trade and free up enough space to lock up the younger Probowl talent who are still years away from their prime (Houston and Poe, in particular).

  • Merlin_Arrowhead_Addict

    Nice job, Lyle. Clemons is someone I have my eye on, if the Chiefs free up enough cap room.

  • Michael Shaw

    What is wrong with you gentlemen? Why would want to trade away Hali or Flowers? The goal is to get better and not worse. If you really paid attention to that loss to Indy, when Houston went down and then Flowers went down, our defense gave up points in a hurry it seemed. Earlier in the year when Tamba went out and then Houston went out, we were helpless to get to the QB. I seriously don’t believe getting rid of Flowers or Hali helps this team out that much. Restructuring their contracts would help the team better than trading them. As for the safety options Lyle……………………..not sure I would say no to any of them. Having said that I would rather have Byrd over any of them, but I doubt we even get a small shot at him. I am with most of you on Abdullah, Demps, Cooper and Commings. I personally think that Abdullah and Demps are better nickelbacks and Commings or Cooper would be awesome as the safety opposite of Berry, so I am not entirely sold on them spending big money on Byrd solely for this reason. Good article Lyle. Keep the thinking juices flowing for us!! GO CHIEFS!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Michael Shaw

      And yes I know Cooper is listed as a CB, but I think he could solidify the safety spot in a hurry, whereas Commings may need room to grow and seems to be very injury prone.

    • mattU

      Unfortunately, I don’t think restructuring is really going to do much. We’ve got 10 Pro-bowlers on the team…It’s impossible for us to keep them all. Hali and Flowers are less of a priority than keep Houston, Poe, and Berry on the team long-term because they are both past their prime. Is trading them away going to help the team next year? No, and I don’t think anyone is arguing that. But it’s short-sighted to think we can keep every Pro-bowl vet we have until they retire…The reason New England has stayed so good, besides Tom Brady, is because they get 1st and 2nd round picks for their older vet pro-bowl caliber players before they hit FA, where the best you can hope for is a 3rd round compensatory pick.

    • mattU

      I admit Flowers going down was the turning point in that Indy game. The real question is whether it was how great Flowers is or how horrendous Dunta Robinson is…I contend the latter. If Javier Arenas (people forget he actually manned up Welker pretty well) was on the team when Flowers went down, perhaps we don’t lose. Of course, had our D-coordinator not kept playing defense as if Flowers was still out there when, in fact, it was Dunta Robinson, maybe the outcome would have also been different…but i digress.

  • Tristian Shelley

    They are all just guys. Allen still has potential and I saw stevie brown in 2012 make plays when no one had tape on him. Id rather draft somebody in the late rounds cause its cheaper. If wr sign brown and Maclin then we got two guys coming off serious injuries although in Maclins case he got hurt at the start of preseason so he will literally be fully healed b4 OTAS. Look at seattle. That whole LOB was all draft picks. So go for it

    • Lyle Graversen

      I agree that the heart of the team needs to be built through the draft, but just like Dorsey brought in solid starters on the cheap in free agency last season (Schwartz, Jordan, etc) I think he’ll do the same with a couple of guys this year. I think these guys are possibilities.