The biggest talk prior to the season was whether or not Kansas City had enough at the edge position to improve the pass rush and compete defensively in a division (and conference) with so many good quarterbacks. So far in 2022, the answer is…kind of?
The Chiefs are generating a lot of pressure and the sack rate this season is significantly higher than a year ago. However, much of that pressure is being manufactured by defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo’s exotic blitz packages and/or defensive tackle Chris Jones. Rookie George Karlaftis has been quite good, but other than Sunday against San Francisco, Frank Clark has been a ghost. Carlos Dunlap has been okay but has lost a step from last year it seems. Mike Danna and Malik Herring have been fine for lower-end rotational pieces. Overall the pressure from the edge position is still underwhelming.
Then there is the Frank Clark issue. The suspension is a road bump but not a roadblock. It will not matter come playoff time and it should not be a determining factor in the Chiefs’ next two contests either. However, Clark’s history suggests that counting on him to be healthy for up to 12 more (consecutive) games is a fool’s errand. Between his bouts with stomach ailments and other injury concerns which have riddled his tenure in Kansas City, the veteran is just not reliable enough to go into the postseason with no backup plan.
Enter Jerry Hughes. The Houston Texans owe the 2010 first-round pick just under $2 million for the rest of 2022 and should also be looking to accumulate as many draft picks as possible as they undergo a complete rebuild of their roster. Kansas City has the resources to both help them build that capital and also to pay the rest of Hughes’ 2022 salary. Hughes has registered four sacks while starting six games for the Texans this season. In Kansas City, he’d be allowed to transition into a situational pass rusher which would likely improve his win rate and also preserve him for the postseason.
Need I also mention that Hughes spent the majority of his career in Buffalo? While most would say it does not if you have former players on your roster when you go into game prep, the Chiefs should take every opportunity to make themselves as competitive as possible for their theoretical future matchup with the Bills, when the Super Bowl is on the line.