Overreaction #1: Extend. Drue. Tranquil. Now.
Linebacker is not a premium position in modern football. Teams usually have one linebacker who piles up tackles across the season, with sprinkles of role players around them. Drue Tranquil was that bulk tackler for the Los Angeles Chargers last year, where he racked up 146 combined tackles. It was a career year for Tranquil, yet the Chargers let him walk in free agency and he was hardly a premiere target in the offseason. The Chiefs took a flyer on him and boy are they reaping the rewards of that move.
Bringing in Tranquil felt slightly redundant heading into 2023, looking back. Nick Bolton was the leader, flanked by Willie Gay and Leo Chenal. That young trio all brought something different to the unit, with appropriate strengths and weaknesses. Tranquil was a productive tackler and decent coverage linebacker in Los Angeles, but there is a reason he was available to Kansas City for only $3 million this offseason. Shows what I know, right?
Then, Bolton went down with a dislocated wrist that required surgery and a stint on the Chiefs' injured reserve. That meant the red-hot Chiefs defense would be without their leading linebacker for two months.
The good news is that Tranquil's ability to step right in has not only kept the defense rolling but has furthered his NFL outlook immensely.
Tranquil had 8 combined tackles against the Raiders, including 2 tackles for a loss and 2 pressures. He and cornerback L'Jarius Sneed were the only two Chiefs defenders on the field for every snap, displaying just how important they are to defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo. That is a microcosm of what Tranquil has done in recent weeks after Bolton went down.
Backups are backups for a reason. Tranquil became an every-game starter out of necessity and has done nothing but produce. The Chiefs are frankly lucky that Tranquil has filled Bolton's shoes so well. Kansas City cannot expect every veteran free agent to come in and do the same. The Chiefs should not let Tranquil get away if the price is right. I want to see more of Tranquil in Kansas City following this season. It shouldn't be a top-tier contract, but if the price is right the Chiefs should retain Tranquil.