The case for a reunion with Breeland
Looking back on offseason projections, it felt like bringing back Breeland for another year was one of the moves that made the most sense for a team that’s proven its ability to get to the Super Bowl again and again. For two straight seasons, Breeland had proven to be a very reliable cornerback who’d played 83 and then 94 percent of all defensive snaps possible in the last two years.
Breeland wasn’t without his faults (he was flagged for 12 penalties in 2020), but he was a corner unafraid to get physical with a receiver from the moment the ball was snapped and the Chiefs’ secondary overall was a solid unit—especially for the returns provided on initial investments. If Breeland was willing to take yet another single-season deal, it just made plenty of sense to bring him back.
This season, Breeland has started another 13 games for the Vikings with 63 total tackles to go with 5 pass deflections, 2 interceptions, and 2 forced fumbles. Bringing him back for the stretch run would require very little in terms of commitment and the learning curve would be negligible given his experience. He knows the Chiefs and the Chiefs know him with only a few first-year players on the roster having no familiarity with him.
Given that the Chiefs haven’t seemed too excited to play major minutes for Deandre Baker in the past, would it make sense to push the depth chart a bit by adding Breeland? It’s at least worth considering in this light. Let’s not forget that Rashad Fenton, Charvarius Ward, and L’Jarius Sneed have all missed games in recent weeks. And Breeland is still only 29.
The case against a reunion with Breeland
While the re-signing of Breeland made sense to Chiefs Kingdom coming into the season, no one could have known just how good Fenton in particular would look when given a chance for more reps in 2021. Sneed has made the leap as a second-year player who is a fixture in the secondary in Kansas City. Charvarius Ward has looked great, when healthy, in a contract year. Fenton has made up significant ground in his third season as the team’s new boundary starter to fill out the trio of top corners on the roster.
Behind them, Hughes has looked better in recent weeks and even won Defensive Player of the Week after the team’s dominant win over the Las Vegas Raiders in Week 14. Baker hasn’t lived up to his first-round potential but he’s hardly played and could still play into the future. Chris Lammons is a special teams ace who should return soon from IR.
In short, is there room for Breeland? The Chiefs have a solid core with a couple more guys even on the practice squad who have been promoted or protected in the last few weeks in DiCaprio Bootle and Josh Jackson.
It also doesn’t help to look at the metrics with the Vikings this season. Pro Football Focus says he’s allowed a 112.6 passer rating so far in 2021 with 6 touchdowns and a 13.5 yards/catch average. Those numbers aren’t good. Then again, we need to remember that cornerback performance is very mercurial and depends on the scheme quite a bit.
When looking at the pros and cons, it makes sense for the Chiefs front office to at least ask the question and discuss it as they should with any other free agent, but what looked like an obvious move only six months ago isn’t so clear. That’s not to say that the Chiefs should not or would not sign Breeland at this point for a late-season reunion. Rather it just means the need that was so obvious is no longer there and maybe the metrics in Minnesota are enough to forget about any sort of signing again. Or maybe the Chiefs will show some interest knowing he can be a solid citizen in the secondary once again. It’s just not that clear.