The Chiefs have to check in on Gilmore
Here’s what’s true at this stage: 31 NFL teams are going to be calling Stephon Gilmore’s representation.
Given Gilmore’s greatness and the fact that he’s now readily available, the Chiefs are going to have to be in pitch mode and we’re not quite sure if they have the (financial) goods to land him.
But let’s make the need clear first: While most of us would admit that the Chiefs defense is in need of a serious upgrade, you might identify pass rusher or linebacker or defensive tackle or even safety as a greater need than cornerback. Yes, that might be true if we could be picky and go shopping at any and all positions to find easy upgrades.
But a defense is also a unit that affects each other in kind. A formidable front line makes it easier on cornerbacks to stay with their assignments because they only need to do so for a few seconds before the quarterback is going to run out of time. However, a solid secondary, one that can stay with receivers for a greater part of the field, can also give time for an average line to make a play or for a well-timed blitz to break through.
In short, adding a major upgrade like Gilmore to this mix of corners will help raise the status of this entire defense.
The Chiefs have enjoyed another solid season, thus far, from L’Jarius Sneed, who looks like he could be the sort of steady presence at cornerback that Gilmore has been (albeit not quite on that level). Other than that, however, it’s been the same frustrations as other positions with miscommunication and poor execution. We’ve all watched wide open receivers, missed tackles, and poor angles from the team’s cornerbacks.
Yes, this is a young unit. Deandre Baker, Mike Hughes, Charvarius Ward, Sneed, and Rashad Fenton are all 25 or under. However, Fenton has been out with a concussion, and Ward has been out with a quad injury. And this unit is not deep enough with proven talent to spurn any new additions, let alone someone as talented as Gilmore.
The need is here, but where it could all fall apart is the finances. If the Patriots had to let him go because finances were an issue, then Kansas City is hardly the sort of team who can offer him the abundance of riches like other franchises. A well-structured deal with some creativity from Brandt Tillis, the team’s cap specialist, could squeeze things in this season and extend him through next year, but the Chiefs are already threading a needle with the likelihood of losing the bills on Laurent Duvernay-Tardif, Frank Clark, and Anthony Hitchens in 2022.
At the same time, that year is when bills come due for Tyrann Mathieu and Orlando Brown Jr.—two more contracts that will weigh the club down. The team already has major paydays for Chris Jones, Patrick Mahomes, Travis Kelce, Tyreek Hill, which makes us ask: Just how many big-ticket items one franchise can have? We don’t know the answer here, so it’s a sincere question.
One more side note: how would a signing and extension for Gilmore read for Tyrann Mathieu, who has been waiting in-house for his own deal for quite some time yet told nothing could happen financially until after this season?
Overall, however, if you can add someone like Stephon Gilmore, you find every way possible to do it. The finances might not work out, but at the very least, the Chiefs should try. This sort of talent availability is rare and every team will come calling for good reason.