Kansas City Chiefs shouldn’t have any safety needs in this year’s market
By Matt Conner
The Kansas City Chiefs have had myriad issues at safety all season in the one year where there’s absolutely zero reason for it.
Imagine living inside of a health food grocery chain 24/7, one in which everything was free. Then imagine receiving a diagnosis when you visited the doctor that you were suffering from malnutrition.
Or imagine being at a pet fair where every animal was being donated for free and complaining about companionship with no hope for potential.
These are silly scenarios. They’re intended to be. Right now you should be questioning your judgment for even reading this far and all of this is for good reason. Because the idea that the Kansas City Chiefs, or any NFL team for that matter, is dealing with any ongoing safety concerns is a completely silly idea.
Yes, the Chiefs are dealing with injuries—severe ones, multiple ones—at the same position. Those are tough hits to take. Eric Berry is a complete unknown at this point, a player-coach who doesn’t play or officially coach. Achilles questions. Bone spur. Ongoing rehab. There’s really just no way to logically piece together the brief snippets given by the Chiefs in the press. Either get a larger process done or admit he’s not close, but this in-between is a fog machine on high in the media room.
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Dan Sorensen was lost before him, a horrible injury of a broken tibia that cost him at least a half season and maybe even a bit more. Armani Watts just went on injured reserve after finally starting to come around as a rookie to earn some reps and make his presence felt. Even Eric Murray has spent some time on the sideline as the team dealt with a number of injuries after the win over the Jaguars.
So yes, that’s a lot. One starter lost. Then another. Ron Parker was released only to be welcomed back like the prodigal son once the losses started piling up. Robert Golden was signed to be a key depth piece for just such a moment, but he just up and quit on the team. The Chiefs traded for two defensive backs sight unseen in the preseason (not that their scouts didn’t see them but rather two DBs made the active roster who hadn’t played a single preseason snap or practice for K.C. in Charvarius Ward and Jordan Lucas).
Some moves have worked out. Others have not. Anyone still watching the Chiefs over the long haul will note that safety remains a significant issue, especially with Sorensen’s need to return from such a nasty injury and Berry’s uncertain status. In any other season, these moves would have been applauded—a general manager doing the best he can with limited resources in the face of poor luck.
“Good for him for signing Josh Shaw!” we’d say.
But this is not a normal year. This is the year of the underpriced safety! If free agency were a store, the safety aisle would be akin to shopping at Dollar Tree whatever other retailer in your region buys up large quantities of unwanted goods to sell them on the cheap. It’s like an Oriental Trading Company catalog.
Get your Tre Boston here for only $1.5 million!
How about a top of the line Tyrann Mathieu model? Only a one-year commitment!
Two weeks ago, former Pittsburgh Steelers safety Mike Mitchell was picked up by the Indianapolis Colts off the street after waiting all preseason and six weeks into the regular season to find meaningful work. Two games later, Pro Football Focus calls him the highest rated safety in the NFL in that short span and he was just named AFC Defensive Player of the Week.
Morgan Burnett signed on the cheap this spring. Kenny Vaccaro was even cheaper. Eric Reid signed just weeks ago. Every single one of these players has been a positive contributor in the recent past and likely expected to earn the big payday in free agency. Instead some are struggling to find any place to work—just ask Tyvon Branch, T.J. Ward, Darius Butler or Quintin Demps right this moment.
Some of the latter names aren’t any better than the players already on the Chiefs roster, so we’re getting a bit overboard here. But let’s be very clear (and not so silly): Even until a week or two ago, multiple above average safeties could have been signed off the street for next to nothing to help fill a void.
Oh, if only we knew of a team that needed talent and depth at safety.
Hopefully the needs will go away and the situation at least won’t look so silly. The return of Berry and/or Sorensen will go a long way, and Lucas has been a nice fill-in to help stop the bleeding. And honestly, the pageantry of this team’s offense has a lot of people shrugging at any and all issues—a sort of unstated “as long as they’re winning” approach.
That’s well and good but the reality is that the Chiefs are cresting right at the moment when the bulk of the NFL is collapsing. It’s amazing and likely well ahead of any timeline conceived inside of Arrowhead. Mahomes is better than expected but the rest of the NFL is also worse. The Jags defense isn’t so great. The Chargers still can’t beat the Chiefs. Going into Pittsburgh or even New England doesn’t seem so daunting.
The Chiefs had the ability to grab some short- and long-term help for next to nothing at what has turned into their single greatest position of need on the roster. It’s a silly and unnecessary scenario for a team that’s fortunate to have such a distractingly good offense.