Why the K.C. Chiefs should bring back Charvarius Ward in 2021

Kansas City Chiefs cornerback Charvarius Ward (Photo by Peter G. Aiken/Getty Images)
Kansas City Chiefs cornerback Charvarius Ward (Photo by Peter G. Aiken/Getty Images) /

With K.C. Chiefs cornerback Charvarius Ward becoming a restricted free agent, I want to take a look at what he brings to the table, if the team should offer him a contract, and what his market looks like to other teams.

For those who might not know, being a restricted free agent basically means the Chiefs have “right of first refusal” if another team offers him a contract. The Chiefs can then decide to match the offer and retain the player or choose to let the player walk. The are more details involved, but that is the main point.

First, if you know me, either through game grades, my Twitter, or my radio show (on ESPNKC), I love me some Charvarius Ward. I think he has become a legitimate number 2 cornerback, someone who is physical enough to keep up with larger wide receivers in man coverage. Listed at 6’1 and 198 lbs., he is larger than your typical corner who averages 5’11 and 193 lbs. He plays very physical and specializes in staying right on a wide receiver’s hips.

Ward may not make a ton of huge plays—his interception numbers won’t be confused with Marcus Peters—but where he makes that up is by not gambling as often and being a sure tackler. The amount of times where he is in the right place at the right time is extremely impressive considering how hard it is to be a cornerback in today’s NFL. That is what you want in a corner—or at least that’s what I want. Someone who won’t gamble at least at one corner spot. Someone who isn’t afraid to wrap up the ball carrier.

Will the Chiefs bring back Charvarius Ward in 2021?

Is how he finished the season concerning to me? Short answer, no. If you want a longer explanation, here it is. His struggles early on originally seemed to coincide with his injury before he seemingly got back to being the same guy he was. Then, he had some struggles again late in the season. His struggles to me weren’t based on a guy who was getting consistently burnt, but it was a guy who was maybe being asked to do too much. He’s not the fastest guy in the NFL and, at times, safety play was lacking which I think exasperated the issue and made Ward play on an island deep against guys he might have needed some help with.

We know Ward’s strengths—physicality, tackling, being able to stay with receivers on short and intermediate routes—so asking him to hang deep with speedsters may have been just a little out of his current comfort range. If the team can keep him playing to his strengths, Ward is an extremely solid corner.

Now it comes down to what should the Chiefs do, and I think they should—and will—offer him a contract. I am not entirely sure what the number will look like, but Ward has bested expectations and with Bashaud Breeland probably pricing himself out of K.C., keeping Ward should be a priority. In addition, having Ward alongside L’Jarius Sneed, Rashad Fenton, and potentially even Deandre Baker makes for a solid young core.

I can see other teams offering him a contract, but I am not sure they will have the value on him that the Chiefs will. His numbers aren’t eye-popping and the lack of interceptions may drive down his perceived value. His previous contact of around 3 years for $1.7 million was a steal for the Chiefs, and if they have the ability, I wouldn’t be surprised to see him rewarded for his play.

Next. Ranking the top 10 Chiefs linebackers ever. dark