With six unrestricted free agent cornerbacks currently on roster and one of the more challenging salary cap situations across the NFL, the Kansas City Chiefs’ secondary could feature some new names in 2021.
The most notable name of the free agent group is Bashaud Breeland, who has started 26 games for the AFC champions over the past two seasons. Given the uncertainty of the club’s finances, his up-and-down play and the emergence of rookie standout L’Jarius Sneed, Breeland has been commonly cast aside by onlookers hoping for an upgrade at the position.
In a recent NFL.com piece predicting one free agent match for each NFC team, Around the NFL writer Nick Shook pegged the Dallas Cowboys as a feasible landing spot for Chiefs’ top cornerback.
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Breeland Fits Mold of Typical Cowboys’ Free Agency Targets
Breeland, who turned 29 years old in January, is slated to hit the open market later this month for the second time in as many offseasons. After the free agent cornerback market dried up last spring, the former fourth-round pick returned to Kansas City on a second consecutive one-year “prove it” deal worth up to $4.5 million.
Three weeks after inking his new contract, Breeland was arrested in his home state of South Carolina and later handed a four-game suspension to open the 2020 campaign for a separate violation of the league’s substance-abuse policy. In 11 starts after his return to the lineup, the 5-foot-11, 195-pounder still managed to tie All-Pro safety Tyrann Mathieu for the team lead in pass breakups (nine) and snag at least two interceptions for the sixth time in seven seasons as a pro.
Here was Shook’s reasoning for the hypothetical pairing with the Cowboys:
Dallas is currently slated to watch both of its starting corners walk in free agency, and while Anthony Brown and Trevon Diggs could end up being their starting duo in 2021, adding a veteran like Breeland makes sense, too. Breeland has bounced around the league, yet manages to provide solid play at the position and seems like the type of veteran the Cowboys typically pursue in situations like this.
FanSided’s Blogging The Boys also thinks Breeland fits the Cowboys’ “mold” when it comes to the team’s free agent strategy in recent years.
The 2021 season will see Breeland play at the age of 29 so he is certainly near the tipping point of 30, but the 2021 offseason is a very unique space in time. Many people have noted that due to the lowered salary cap this year, and with a boost in it expected to come next year thanks to the new television contracts, many veterans could look to sign one-year deals this season in an effort to get back to the open market when the pies are larger across the league in 2022. Breeland could fit that mold for the Cowboys.
It would be wise of the Cowboys to address cornerback in free agency as mentioned. A lot of mock drafts have them taking a cornerback with the 10th overall pick, but relying on that as the only “fix” to the position this offseason would be irresponsible.
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PFF Predicts Chiefs Reunion for Breeland
Unlike Kansas City (currently ~$23 million over the projected 2021 team cap), Dallas will have some financial wiggle room to splurge on free agents this offseason. According to Over The Cap, the Cowboys have approximately $20.2 million of available cap space. Even so, not everyone believes Breeland is a sure bet to depart in the coming weeks.
Last month, football data and analytics giant Pro Football Focus released its rankings of the NFL’s top 200 free agents, including contract predictions for each player.
Breeland was the third of three Chiefs’ free agents to make the list, and the only one PFF envisioned returning to Kansas City in 2021. This time on a similar two-year deal worth $10 million with $5.5 million guaranteed.
Considering recent speculation of a free agent “bloodbath” leading up to the new league year on March 17, this scenario could make sense for both sides if the market becomes oversaturated with more talented players than teams are used to having available at this point.
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Chris Licata is an NFL contributor covering the Kansas City Chiefs from enemy territory in Denver, Colorado. Follow him on Twitter @Chris__Licata or join the Heavy on Chiefs Facebook community for the latest out of Chiefs Kingdom!