Chiefs Called ‘One & Only’ Backup Destination for Recent Super Bowl Foe - Sport News

Chiefs Called ‘One & Only’ Backup Destination for Recent Super Bowl Foe

So much of the Kansas City Chiefs’ offseason will be determined by what happens with key impending free agents Chris Jones and L’Jarius Sneed.

Let’s say the Chiefs lose Jones on the open market, for example. A natural pivot would be to target more veteran pass rushing help on the defensive line.

On February 22, Pro Football Focus cap analyst Brad Spielberger offered an interesting potential target in that regard: Philadelphia Eagles defensive end Brandon Graham.

Chiefs called landing spot for Eagles' Brandon Graham.

Obviously, there’s a slight difference in position between Jones and Graham, and the long-time Eagles edge rusher and Super Bowl champion is also older at age 36 in April, but this would likely be a supplemental move coupled with a signing at defensive tackle.

“Odds are Graham finishes out his career with the Eagles,” Spielberger acknowledged, “but we [at PFF] think the one and only other idea could perhaps be a reunion with Andy Reid, who drafted him No. 13 overall back in 2010.”

Meaning, if Philadelphia decides to move on from the former Pro Bowler that has 78.5 career sacks with the franchise between the regular and postseason combined, the most likely backup plan is KC due to team need and the connection to Reid.

Most recently, the Chiefs coaching staff got a close look at Graham’s tape ahead of the 2022-23 Super Bowl and then again after last season’s bye week.

Potential Price Tag & Recent Form of Eagles’ Brandon Graham
Anytime you’re considering an older signing, a few factors are integral. Will the price tag be worth the overall production? Is the player still in shape physically? And has their production dipped in recent years?

For starters, Graham returned to Philly on a one-year, $5 million contract in 2023. That minor payday came after a massive bounce back campaign in 2022 (11 sacks and a Super Bowl appearance).

After just 4.0 sacks over 18 total appearances this year (regular and postseason combined), those guarantees are going to drop a bit.

Outside of an injury-lost campaign in 2021, Graham has remained healthy throughout his career — appearing in at least 15 games in nine straight seasons from 2012 through 2020, and then another 17 games the past two years (not including playoffs). He’s also been consistent.

Graham has registered 5.0 or more sacks in eight seasons, and 8.0 or more in four of those eight. He’s also accounted for 120 career tackles for a loss and 146 career QB hits.

As noted above, Graham’s regular season numbers did finally regress in 2023 — with 19 fewer quarterback pressures than 2022 and 15 fewer key defensive “stops” according to PFF — but part of that was a decreasing role with 80 fewer snaps on defense.

As a technically sound rotational pass rusher, Graham still has the experience and burst to make an impact. For now, he’s another option for the Chiefs if things don’t work out with Jones.

Chiefs Lack Depth on Defensive Line After Charles Omenihu Injury
Whether the Chiefs re-sign Jones or not, they have some work to do on the defensive line after Charles Omenihu’s torn ACL in the AFC Championship game.

Kansas City has the option of releasing Omenihu and shedding $7.22 million in cap space — which feels coldhearted considering his injury — but that will likely depend on his recovery timeline.

If a 2024 absence appears minimal, the recent addition has certainly earned his keep. If it looks like he’ll miss most of the year, something must be done about his current cap hit.

Outside of the uncertain futures of Jones and Omenihu, the Chiefs have the following defensive linemen under contract:

George Karlaftis III (starting DE).
Felix Anudike-Uzomah (rotational DE).
Neil Farrell (rotational DT).
Matt Dickerson (rotational DL).
BJ Thompson (depth DE).
Truman Jones (depth DE).
Isaiah Buggs (depth DT).
Along with Jones, long-time D-line contributors like Mike Danna, Tershawn Wharton, Derrick Nnadi and Malik Herring are all free agents. And don’t forget veteran Super Bowl hero Mike Pennel’s contract is set to expire as well.

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