Sep 29, 2013; Kansas City, MO, USA; New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning (10) is sacked by Kansas City Chiefs defensive end Allen Bailey (97) during the first half at Arrowhead Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

Chiefs D-Line: It’s Time To Promote Allen Bailey To Starter


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Over the past three seasons, the Chiefs’ D-line has been the rock of its defensive success. Even in the darkest days of the 2011 season, the big boys up front were able to consistently shut down the run. In 2013, the unit jumped ahead, largely due to the development of NT Dontari Poe and DE Tyson Jackson — both questionable picks from the previous regime that took a while to hit their stride.

But while Poe and TJax were putting on a show, the team’s third defensive end, Allen Bailey, quietly showed this season that he has has been developing as well. With limited resources and needs in other areas, I think it’s time that Bailey gets his chance to start.

In 2013, Bailey continued to play a depth role on the D-line, and actually got fewer snaps in the rotation that he would have for most other NFL teams as Poe rarely came off the field, and even TJax developed into a three-down player. Nonetheless, this season was by far his most productive with 30 tackles, a sack and two tipped passes. In his only game as a starter — the JV game against San Diego that was won by the NFL Referees Association — he shined.

Pro Football Focus gave him a grade of +4.1 for the game, in which he led the team with 9 tackles. Only DE Mike DiVito had a better one-game tackle total for a Chiefs D-lineman last year with 10 against the Bills. In a sign of his progression, Bailey also led the D-line in tackles the week before against Indianapolis, and PFF also noted strong performances by him in Week’s 5 and 12.

Of course, a few good performances does not a season make and Bailey has big shoes to fill (not just literally) if Jackson departs. TJax ended the season with PFF’s 6th highest rating among interior D-linemen that are set to hit free agency. Also, at 28, he is one of the youngest high-end veterans available at the position. In other words, even with money being no issue, it will be hard for the Chiefs to hold onto Jackson, and with good reason.

But, money is an issue, and while Jackson admirably took a pay cut in the past, I think his agent would resign if he tried to limbo low enough to stay with the Chiefs. His current salary of $4.2 million is more than the total cap space that the team has available, and, while few will deny he was overpaid, the Chiefs can’t even afford to bring him back at half price and still fill other holes.

Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

So, beyond the fact that I think Bailey is deserving of a shot as a starter, promoting him may be necessary as a business decision. At 24, he has his best football ahead of him and is in a contract year, so he will be motivated to make the most of his opportunity. Of course, promoting him will create a need for depth at DE, but the team should be able to bring in a sub-million-dollar player or a mid-round pick to do the job. Also, DE Mike Catapano showed some stuff in that Week 17 game, so I don’t think depth should be an urgent worry there.

So what do you think Addicts? Is Bailey ready for the big time?

Tags: Allen Bailey Donari Poe Free Agency Kansas City Chiefs Mike DeVito Tyson Jackson

  • Stacy D. Smith

    Great work, Clayton! I’ve been saying this quietly since the season ended. We can’t re-sign Jackson. 2014 is a year where the Chiefs will have to depend on young players to develop. We aren’t going to get a big influx of talent from free agency. Bailey’s a talented kid who I think can continue to mature and be a suitable (and affordable) replacement for Jackson.

    On the one hand, it sucks to see homegrown talent get away, but on the other, it means this team is talented enough that roster turnover with key players at key positions is inevitable.

  • ArrowFan

    Popeye, is scary looking

  • CrispySBC

    I kind of agree … I just don’t think we can afford TJax and we need our DE to be more attacking in this defensive scheme. Also, if Bailey could do the job wouldn’t we of seen him getting more sacks and more playing time? I put Bailey at the same level as Powe … he has some of the physical tools but he doesn’t have the technique to get the job done. I think Cat is also a question mark here. He appears to be that attacking DE we need but can he get the job done. Regardless, we just can’t afford TJax and need to move on. I hate saying that because I’ve been a fan of TJax and wish like heck he could stay in KC for the rest of his career … but I just don’t see it happening. I’m glad I don’t have Dorsey’s job because this would be such a tough decision. Letting go a quality person because he doesn’t fit your scheme is tough. I still think they’ll pick a DE, in this draft, since it’s a position that’s deep and we may get a Pro Bowler out of it.

  • micah stephenson

    Yup. I been saying you can stick Bailey in TJs spot. I think he will give more from the pass rush area too, just needs playing time. Plus he is cheap.

  • DoubleD

    Nice analysis and I agree.

  • freshmeat62

    Sure why not? They always need several d-linemen to keep them fresh. But if I was the Chiefs and they ID someone in the draft that knocks their socks off, they shouldn’t pass on the draftee, because as you said, Bailey is in a contract year.

  • Blake Molina

    Not to mention Allen Bailey has the largest, most muscular looking arms out of the D-line

  • Cobra13

    Totally agree. Feel finances will dictate letting T-Jax go. I would move DeVito to LDE and start Bailey at RDE with Catapano as depth.