The Chiefs simply didn’t get enough pressure on the quarterback from their edge pass rushers last season. We know that Frank Clark will be back on one side, but with both Alex Okafor and Tanoh Kpassagnon both possibly hitting free agency, the Chiefs are going to need some more options to go along with Mike Danna and Tim Ward. Here are a couple of guys who could add a little to the pass rush at what should be a pretty cheap price tag.
Everson Griffen might be a perfect fit for what the Chiefs need and the circumstances of this particular offseason. Griffen is going to be 33 when next season starts and his all around play is starting to drop off a little. So it seems unlikely that any team will offer him a large multi-year contract. Griffen is a prime candidate for a cheap one or two-year deal.
So why would the Chiefs want to bring in an aging pass rusher? Simply put, rushing the passer is the one thing Griffen is still doing well. Griffen had six sacks last season while splitting time between the Dallas Cowboys and Detroit Lions and had 8 sacks the previous season for the Minnesota Vikings. Last season Pro Football Focus gave Griffen a 73.6 pass rush rating. If you compare that to the pass rush grades of K.C.’s edge players last season (Frank Clark 56.3, Alex Okafor 55.5, Mike Danna 52.8, and Tannoh Kpassagnon 49.0), you can see that Griffen could still be a valuable addition to the Chiefs as a situational pass rusher.
Markus Golden is a slightly younger and slightly less proven version of Everson Griffen. Golden is going to be 30 years old next season, so he is three years younger than Griffen. Golden has flashed some real pass rush upside with double digit sack seasons in 2016 and 2019, but hasn’t been as consistent overall as a pass rusher compared to Griffen.
While Golden’s PFF pass rush grade of 75.1 was even better than Griffen’s, his run defense grade was even worse at an abysmal 41.5. That’s significantly worse than any KC edge player last season. So while he’s younger than Griffen it might be even more essential that he be used strictly as a situational pass rusher. Still, given how bad the Chiefs edge rush production was last season, giving Golden a prove it deal where he could primarily just focus on rushing the passer might not be a bad investment.
Next up, let’s look at some options at linebacker.