In my offseason primer series, I touched on some of the options the Chiefs had as far as bringing in talent via free agency and the Draft. Here are the players that I see as being the best options for the Chiefs in 2016 and beyond:
Nolan Carroll – Philadelphia Eagles: The Chiefs could certainly use a veteran presence with their corners, and Carroll is a decent option. While he’s definitely not a world beater, Carroll is a reliable player on the outside with the size the Chiefs love in their corners. He also has experience on the inside, which means the Chiefs wouldn’t be tied to playing him solely in Sean Smith’s role. That kind of versatility is huge for John Dorsey.
Carroll is also going to be a very affordable option, and would likely be a short term option, meaning the Chiefs would be in a position to also add a draft pick to address their long term options. At 29 years old, the league knows what Carroll is about, and he won’t be getting a major deal. And coming off of a broken ankle, he will have a hard time even getting what his value should have been this offseason. Getting an inexpensive veteran like this to transition to a younger, more talented option is an ideal scenario for the Chiefs.
Approximate Investment: 2 years, $5 million ($2.5 million/year average)
Prince Amukamara – New York Giants: Amukamara has not lived up to his draft expectations, but he has been a decent player for the G Men. He has the size the Chiefs like, though he doesn’t possess the elite athleticism or speed that many of the top tier corners have. In a lot of ways, Amukamara is in the same exact spot that Sean Smith was when the Chiefs signed him.
It’s still up in the air as to whether or not the Giants, with a new head coach, will make big roster changes. The Giants can certainly afford Amukamara if they choose to, however with the weak Free Agency class, he may decide to try his hand on the market. If that happens, the Chiefs have the cap space to make a solid investment on him. This move would be one designed to lock down that outside spot for the next several years.
Approximate Investment: 4 years, $28 million ($7 million/year average)
Casey Hayward – Green Bay Packers: Another options the Chiefs have is to invest in a guy who is primarily an interior cornerback. Hayward fits that bill, and is someone that John Dorsey is familiar with from his Green Bay days. Hayward has shown himself to be a solid defender on the inside, but struggled when placed in outside coverage. However, his experience on the outside makes him a viable option to move in case of injury.
Hayward’s price will be limited by him being primarily an interior defender, which is good news for the Chiefs. That would put the Chiefs in a spot where they wouldn’t feel much pressure to add a high round draft pick, but also wouldn’t hesitate to do so if the right guy is there. And coming off of a down year, Hayward will likely be looking to reset the perception (and market) on him. That also plays right into the Chiefs hands.
Approximate Investment: 1 year, $1.5 million ($1.5 million/year average)
The Draft also offers a number of interesting options for the Chiefs. In fact, this year’s draft class is very favorable for Kansas City in terms of its top end talent. A lot of the best corners that will be available fit very well into the Chiefs defensive scheme.
Eli Apple – Ohio State: If Apple had decided to stay in college for his junior season, he would likely be the top CB in the 2017 draft. That decision to leave early may cost him in terms of draft position, but it plays perfectly to the Chiefs who can get a guy that is already a top athlete but still has room to grow.
Eli Apple should be able to start right away for the Chiefs, but it would put the team in a spot where there is a lack of experience in the outside secondary. That will expose the defense to some big plays. However, the long-term projection of a secondary featuring Peters and Apple on the outside would be scary for the other 31 teams in the league.
Artie Burns – Miami: John Dorsey loves versatility in his players, and that is what Artie Burns is all about. A former track star, Burns was utilized all over the Hurricanes secondary. He was routinely lined up on the outside, in the slot, or as a safety. And his physical ability and size project very well for him to do that at the next level.
Burns is still learning to become a football player rather than just an athlete, so the Chiefs coaching staff will have some work to do there. However, his versatility should open the doors to him being used in a variety of ways rather than being forced to excel in only one position. That also gives the Chiefs some maneuvering room when it comes to adjusting their lineup and gameplan.
Deiondre’ Hall – Northern Iowa: Also fitting the versatility mark is Deiondre’ Hall. A safety at UNI, Hall has been advertising himself as a cornerback leading up to the draft. He fits the bill with great size and athleticism, and a great nose for the ball.
While moving to corner will mean that there is a transition period for him, Hall offers a similar upside to Artie Burns. A big, versatile, athlete that the team can utilize in a variety of ways. As with Burns, this means the Chiefs can work with their lineup to put the best possible grouping on the field. And with Hall having played safety throughout college, he offers the team a viable backup option should one of the starters go down.
Next: So What Move Works Best?