Chiefs Predicted to Sign Broncos Pass Rusher in Free Agency

Derek Wolfe

Getty Images Could the Chiefs lure a key Broncos defensive lineman away from their division rival?

While the Kansas City Chiefs haven’t made much of a splash since February, the tradeoff has mostly been a welcome one for the Super Bowl LIV champions. Since the opening of free agency on March 18, the organization has agreed to deals with only three external free agents.

After placing the non-exclusive franchise tag on DT Chris Jones and retaining a few of their own impending free agents, such as RB Damien Williams, LB Damien Wilson and DT Mike Pennel, the Chiefs find themselves in what appears to be salary cap purgatory. While Kansas City does currently have the least amount of cap space among the league’s 32 clubs (less than $1 million), they are also capable of clearing money off the books in a hurry, including $14 million in potential relief by releasing WR Sammy Watkins.

With that in mind, it’s not unreasonable to foresee Kansas City dipping into the free agent player pool on the back end in an attempt to plug some roster holes at a lower cost.

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On Tuesday, Sheil Kapadia of The Athletic wrote a story predicting the landing spots for the NFL’s best remaining free agents. Of the remaining group of top talent from around the league, the NFL writer picked Kansas City as the eventual destination of two key free agents, including Denver Broncos DT Derek Wolfe.

Derek Wolfe, DT, Broncos (30)
Signs with: Kansas City Chiefs

The Chiefs could use a rotational defensive tackle. Wolfe’s gap-penetrating style would fit Steve Spagnuolo’s scheme well. He had seven sacks and 12 QB hits last season.

The 30-year-old has spent his entire eight-year career in the Mile High City after Denver drafted the Cincinnati alum in the second round (No. 36 overall) in the 2012 NFL Draft. After playing out his rookie deal, Wolfe signed a four-year, $36 million extension with the Broncos in 2016 that paid him an $8 million base salary over the past two seasons.

The 6’5,” 285-pound starter posted one of his best statistical showings in 2019, including a career-best 7.0 sacks from the defensive interior in only 12 games. Wolfe has been a consistent presence along Denver’s defensive front alongside All-Pro pass rusher Von Miller for the better part of the last decade. For his career, Wolfe has totaled 299 combined tackles, 77 quarterback hits, 33.0 sacks and 15 pass deflections.

While he has started all 108 contests he’s played in, one area of concern in signing the 2015 Super Bowl champion is durability. In eight seasons, Wolfe has taken the field for all 16 regular season games just three times and has missed at least four games in four different seasons, including last year after being placed on season-ending injured reserve in early December with a dislocated elbow.

As recently as last week, Wolfe was drawing interest from and meeting with the New England Patriots. While the ninth-year pro has not closed the door on a return to Denver, Wolfe has reiterated that he’s seeking a “fair” deal and “not trying to break the bank.

READ NEXT: Chiefs to Sign Former XFL Star Quarterback: Report

For more NFL updates, follow Chris Licata on Twitter: @Chris__Licata

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