Even with a talented roster highlighted by stars such as Patrick Mahomes, Travis Kelce, Chris Jones and Tyrann Mathieu, the Kansas City Chiefs face a tough task of trying to avoid a Super Bowl hangover next season. Just ask the Los Angeles Rams.
The 2018 NFC Champions are in the midst of a challenging offseason that has seen their Super Bowl roster gutted of some of its top stars, including DL Michael Brockers, LB Cory Littleton, OLB Dante Fowler and RB Todd Gurley. While big names often come and go in a business as unforgiving as the NFL, one of the Rams’ most surprising moves was the release of CB Nickell Robey-Coleman, whose departure saved his former team a $4.5 million salary cap hit.
Kansas City finds themselves making equally sensitive decisions towards the cap this offseason. The cornerback position is likely to take on a drastically different look heading into the 2020 season, with CB Kendall Fuller having departed for Washington and 2018 signings Bashaud Breeland and Morris Claiborne not too far behind him on the free agency trail.
In a recent story on The Athletic, Chiefs staff writer Nate Taylor highlighted 10 possible free agent fits for the defending Super Bowl champions. The list primarily composed of defensive targets featuring a handful of veteran cornerbacks, including Robey-Coleman.
Nickell Robey-Coleman, CB, Rams
Most fans likely know Robey-Coleman for his infamous hit on Tommylee Lewis in the 2019 NFC Championship Game that should’ve resulted in a critical pass interference penalty, but no foul was called. But Robey-Coleman, 28, was a valuable performer the past three years as the slot cornerback for the Los Angeles Rams.
The Chiefs currently have just three cornerbacks on their roster: Charvarius Ward, Rashad Fenton and Alex Brown. Fenton is expected to compete for the slot role, but adding Robey-Coleman, a seven-year veteran, would help the Chiefs’ depth at the position, perhaps allowing the team to select a prospect in the NFL Draft next month to play on the perimeter. Last season, Robey-Coleman recorded seven pass breakups, two forced fumbles and 36 tackles.
Los Angeles, who brought in a new defensive coordinator to replace Wade Phillips this season, declined their club option on the eighth-year cornerback on March 17, much to his surprise.
More on Robey-Coleman, per the USA Today Rams Wire site:
Robey-Coleman has allowed a completion rate below 66% in each of the last two years, giving up just four touchdowns in coverage during that span. He’s an aggressive tackler and sticky in man coverage despite being undersized for the position.
Whoever signs Robey-Coleman in free agency is going to get a quality player at a relatively low price – and he’s still only 28 years old.
The Chiefs remain a safe bet to address the cornerback position soon, whether its in the form of a veteran free agent or some fresh talent through the NFL Draft. If free agency is a route that general manager Brett Veach is willing to explore, Robey-Coleman’s price tag should be within range on a short-term deal. His most recent contract in L.A. was for three years and $15.6 million – or an average annual value in the $5 million range. Last offseason, Kansas City brought in the aforementioned Breeland and Claiborne on one-year, $2 million free agent contracts, reinforcing their willingness to go down that path to improve the roster as needed.
For more NFL updates, follow Chris Licata on Twitter: @Chris__Licata