2014 NFL Free Agency: Is Brandon Spikes a Fit for the Kansas City Chiefs?


Jan 13, 2013; Foxboro, Massachusetts, USA; New England Patriots linebacker Brandon Spikes (55) reacts during the third quarter against the Houston Texans at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports

Reports out of Boston have middle linebacker Brandon Spikes hitting free agency after failing to come to an agreement with the Patriots. From the Boston Herald:

"This shouldn’t be a surprise, but there’s little reason to believe Brandon Spikes will ever play again for the Patriots. The two sides haven’t spoken about a new deal this offseason, according to a source. So, unless something drastically changes, Spikes’ days with the Patriots are over. He’ll hit free agency March 11."

Spikes, 26, was a second round draft pick in 2010 and a four-year starter for the New England Patriots. He’s a run-stopper first, graded by Pro Football Focus as a +11.6 run defender in 2013. In 694 snaps last season he totaled 69 tackles and 48 run stops. Those numbers best the man he would be replacing, Akeem Jordan, who had 58 tackles and 33 run stops. At the very least, Spikes would be an upgrade in the run stopping game.

But stopping the run isn’t Kansas City’s primary issues. The Chiefs need a better effort from their front seven with either rushing the passer or in coverage. Jordan was basically useless in the passing game and was pulled in most passing situations. Spikes isn’t great against the pass but he’s at least serviceable. In 16 games, Spikes was targeted 27 times allowing 18 receptions (66.7% catch percentage) for 191 yards and a touchdown. He did pick off and defend a pass. The 84.0 NFL QB rating against isn’t great, but it is far better than the 137.8 rating Jordan allowed.

There are two things to keep in mind with Spikes: He’s very physical and he has some injury issues. Spikes would add an attitude and physical nature Kansas City has lacked since Derrick Thomas and Neil Smith anchored the Chiefs front seven. There is a lot of talent on the Chiefs front seven but there are not a lot of “mean” guys. Spikes would bring “the mean.”

That mean streak has come at a cost for Spikes. Last year was the first time Spikes has appeared in all 16 regular season games, though he did miss most of the Atlanta game due to an injury. He’s not an every down player, but he can fill the role Akeem Jordan will be leaving behind and do it better. However, he is not a long-term solution for the Chiefs, so John Dorsey may choose to spend his money elsewhere and find a better solution in the draft.