Why A.J. Epenesa is an ideal fit in free agency for Kansas City Chiefs

In terms of value, fit, and need, A.J. Epenesa could be a cure for the Chiefs' ills.

Buffalo Bills v Philadelphia Eagles
Buffalo Bills v Philadelphia Eagles / Mitchell Leff/GettyImages
facebooktwitterreddit

While all the talk is about wide receiver for the Kansas City Chiefs this upcoming free agency, the defensive line isn't far behind when making a list of the team's biggest needs. The wide receiver position is definitely in need of a talent infusion, but the defensive line needs bodies in general. The entire defensive tackle room including Chris Jones is hitting free agency and defensive end is looking thin given that Mike Danna is hitting free agency and Charles Omenihu is likely to miss a big chunk of next season coming off a torn ACL.

That said, Kansas City is going to have to address the defensive line and the best way to do so would be to grab another Charles Omenihu-esque free agent. The Chiefs need to find good value on a short-term deal, a player who can come in and rush the passer while Omenihu recovers from injury. This would help to bridge any gap until Felix Anudike-Uzomah proves he can crack the rotation as last year's first-round pick.

Not only is it a good idea to bring in a veteran pass rusher for the aforementioned reasons, but you can never have too many guys that can get after the quarterback. Stacking up talent on the defensive line has proven to be a winning formula for many teams, including the Chiefs, who have been top five in sacks in each of their past two Super Bowl-winning seasons.

In terms of value, fit, and need, A.J. Epenesa could be a cure for the Chiefs' ills.

A name that comes to mind as a good fit for Kansas City in free agency who could fill that void is Buffalo Bills edge rusher A.J. Epenesa. After Buffalo cleaned house over the weekend to get themselves under the cap, it seems unlikely that they will be too competitive in bringing back Epenesa, making him realistic for the Chiefs to target once the legal tampering period opens up next week.

Right now, Epenesa's projected market value on Spotrac.com is $5.6 million a year and the site projects him getting a two-year, $11.2 million deal in free agency which is quite a bit less than what the Chiefs gave Omenihu last year (two-year, $16M). Epenesa fits that same mold as he's still very young at just 25 years old and coming off his rookie deal, and he still has quite a bit of pass-rush upside. If that's the price for a quality veteran who can get you a handful of sacks and at least hold you over until something else shakes out, Kansas City should be all in at this value.

Epenesa's career got out to a slow start in Buffalo, but over the past two seasons, he's totaled 13 sacks which makes him a viable option to start on the outside of Kansas City's defensive line next year. One can only imagine we could see his numbers continue to go up if Kansas City can retain Chris Jones.

What also makes Epenesa an ideal fit for Kansas City is his size and play style. At 6,6", 260 lbs., Epenesa's frame is in the range of what Steve Spagnuolo likes in his defensive ends. He's a power rusher who wins with technique and offers edge-setting ability, very similar to George Karlaftis.

Epenesa can also shift inside and generate pressure from there which again makes him similar to Karlaftis and Omenihu. Then, if you can get a healthy Omenihu back at some point next year, you have several different players who can play just about anywhere on the line. This eases the concerns at defensive tackle since that's where the Omenihu loss really hurts.

With Mike Danna's projected market value being around $16 million, it seems likely the Chiefs will move on especially with other in-house free agents taking priority. For their money, it makes more sense to get Epenesa instead. He's an ideal place for Kansas City to turn if they want to go the free agency route to address the defensive line position.

manual