Re-signings And Familiarity Thrust Chiefs Atop AFC West p. I
By Laddie Morse
Now, let’s examine who’s actually been re-signed this off-season.
This off-season seemed to have started before this off-season even started. Allen Bailey was re-signed on November 15 to a four year, $25M extension ($10M as a bonus). Bailey has obviously made everyone forget about Tyson Jackson by etching out his own identity at RDE. Bailey has progressed so much that he now demands his fair share of double-teaming. If the Chiefs can come up with a LDE equally dynamic the defense will shift into light speed and the Evil Empire (every other team) will never be able to keep up. Connecting improbable dots… Daniel Jeremiah of the NFL Channel’s show “Path to the Draft” revealed in his latest mock, picks 10 to 20, and projected 6-2, 319 lb. DT Malcom Brown from Texas as the Chiefs pick at #18. Yea… he could help the Chiefs bring down the Death Star.
The recent re-signing of Ron Parker was big news last week and to some degree it still is because of the nature of the contract (read Brett Gering’s post called, “Ron Parker: Chiefs Safety’s Contract Isn’t Nearly As Bad as You Think”). On the other hand, Parker has grown through the Chiefs system and deserves a raise, I’m just not sure that much was needed to retain his services.
That being said, the Denver Broncos were reportedly targeting Parker because they allowed Rahim Moore to move on to the Houston, Texans but, just the thought of the Broncos signing away Parker… well just the thought of the Broncos at all… is nauseating. It would be rewarding to see Parker live up to his contract numbers but in the meantime, fans should enjoy the idea that the Chiefs DBs and Safeties will be as good, if not better than, last year’s collection which was #2 in the league in passing defense.
Re-signing TE Richard Gordon was a solid move. Securing the TE position, in the event no one else is brought in via free agency, the draft or signed as a UDFA makes re-signing Gordon essential. Plus, it helps free up John Dorsey to, picks as he pleases, come draft day weekend.
Bringing back veteran WR Jason Avant wasn’t a must but having him on the team accomplished all the F-equivalents mentioned earlier and more importantly gives Alex Smith another pair of sticky hands to target. Also, Avant’s experience (familiarity) and leadership skills should be helpful because the Chiefs are expected to take at least one WR in the draft and that will give them a fairly young WR corps when you consider both Albert Wilson and Frankie Hammond will be in their second seasons.
ILB Josh Mauga was a “must” re-sign FA for the Chiefs in my book. He replaced injured ILB Derrick Johnson for most of the season and held up well… except against the run. Was he one of the reasons the Chiefs finished #28 in the league vs. the run? Yes.
So why is he a “must” re-sign player? If Derrick Johnson’s rehab doesn’t go as planned, the Chiefs are up a creek without Mauga because there are no preeminent ILBs in this year’s draft. Plus, DE Mike DeVito should be back along with DJ to help stop the run… or the Chiefs could draft an ILB and/or DE to assist in accomplishing that task.
While Mauga was ranked low by PFF, to more completely understand why he might have been ranked so low, you must first consider that it was really his first full year as a starter but more importantly consider the very poor run stop ranking of those defensive linemen in front of him. DE Jaye Howard, while he is typically a good penetrator had a -2.6 score while defending the run. Same goes for DE Allen Bailey who’s run defending score was even worse at -3.9. The story doesn’t stop there because heralded NT Dontari Poe scored a -4.8 against the run.
Plus, what many are neglecting to consider is that the 2013 Chiefs, which included both DJ and DeVito full time, ranked 22nd in the league in run defense. So, yes, the run defense needs to be addressed but, the blame for slipping all of 6 places and 7 yards from 2013 (120.2 yards/gm) to 2014 (127.2 yards/gm) can not be laid solely at the feet of Mauga.
I know the Chiefs system is designed so that the DL takes on blockers and the ILBs make the tackles but Mauga was basically a rookie playing next to no one great or consistent all year. I’d like to see how he does with improved run defenders in front of him, and next to him, before throwing him under the bus and I’m not willing to do that for 7 yards a game.
One way or the other it appears re-signing Mauga was necessary.
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Tomorrow morning… we’ll finish looking at the players the Chiefs have re-signed plus focus on the Broncos and the Chargers off-season moves. See you then.
Until then, what do you think Addict fans? Are you happy with the stability the Chiefs are banking on? What’s your take?