On Sunday night, news broke from ESPN reporter Jeremy Fowler that the K.C. Chiefs had reached agreement on a one-year deal with defensive lineman Jarran Reed. Just like that, the team’s defensive front became not only all the more stronger but even more diverse, with an ability to move Chris Jones around a bit more.
But what exactly is Reed bringing to the Chiefs? He was heralded for being a strong run defender in college, yet he’s been a disruptive presence along the line for the Seattle Seahawks against opposing quarterbacks. And why would the Seahawks not find a way to keep him if he’s still effective and only 28 years old?
To find out more about the Chiefs latest signing, we reached out to Lee Vowell, site expert for 12th Man Rising, to tell us more about the release of Reed from Seattle’s perspective and what Reed offers along the line against the run and the pass.
Reed still seems like a productive player who is only 28. Why wouldn’t the Seahawks find a way to retain their own talent here?
Reed was simply too expensive. Seattle saves $9 million by not keeping him in 2021, and he would have entered his last season in Seattle as this was the final year of his current contract. The Seahawks signed Kerry Hyder in free agency, and he can play tackle or end. Seattle also re-signed Poona Ford for a couple of seasons and Ford is by far the better run defender than Reed. I think Seattle’s decision came down to two things. One is the expense to keep Reed. The other is that Reed by himself is not a greatly impactful player. He needs a defensive end with ability, like Frank Clark or Carlos Dunlap, to make him better. The signing of Hyder and the re-signing of Dunlap meant Reed needed to go.
John Schneider once called Jarran Reed “the best run defender in the draft.” How has that played out at the pro level?
Not as well as Schneider would have hoped. Reed wasn’t a bad run defender, but by far his greatest attribute for Seattle was his ability to supply internal pressure on opposing quarterbacks. Reed was a decent run defender but underwhelmed there for the most part. For instance, Pro Football Focus graded Ford at 73.0 against the run in 2020 and Reed was 63.7. I do think Reed will be a good player for the Chiefs, though, and Kansas City has other players around Reed that will make him a better player.
Reed has shown some nice disruptive ability as an interior pass rusher. What should we know about him there?
Reed as a pass rusher should be great in Kansas City. In fact, the Chiefs were one of the better fits for him after he was released. Reed was not that productive without Frank Clark or Carlos Dunlap, but now he is going to the Chiefs who have Clark. Reed will know what Clark wants to do when chasing opposing quarterbacks and play off of that. Including the playoff game in 2020, Reed had 8.5 sacks. 7.5 of those came after Dunlap joined the Seahawks in Week 9. In 2019 after Clark left, Reed had 2 sacks. Playing next to Clark in 2018, Reed had 10.5 sacks. Reed is going to make Chiefs fans very happy in 2021 as he doesn’t have to do all the work on his own and will be an excellent player since Clark and others will take attention away from him.
Anything else we should know about Reed?
Jarran Reed appears to be a good guy in the locker room. He was suspended for the first six games of 2019 for a domestic assault issue but that seemed a little odd. The alleged assault happened a few years before the suspension and the matter seemed past Reed until the NFL surprisingly suspended him. But Reed has never been a disruptive player among teammates or on the field. He also stays healthy. Except for the suspension, Reed has missed two games in five years. He will show up every game and will be ready to play. And with Clark playing next to him, Reed will be a very productive player.