While Patrick Mahomes garnered much of the attention this week in his return to the field, the Kansas City Chiefs star quarterback wasn’t the only key starter working his way through the NFL’s concussion protocol.
Starting CB Bashaud Breeland (concussion/shoulder) was also forced to exit early from last Sunday’s AFC Divisional win over the Cleveland Browns. After limited participation in all three of Kansas City’s practice this week, the seventh-year veteran is now expected to start against the Buffalo Bills on Sunday after clearing protocol, the team announced on Saturday.
In addition, the Chiefs activated WR Marcus Kemp and DB Chris Lammons from the practice squad via standard elevation.
Follow the Heavy on Chiefs Facebook page for the latest breaking news, rumors and content out of Chiefs Kingdom!
Breeland Stands to Earn Hefty Bonus vs. Bills
With fellow CB Rashad Fenton listed as questionable to suit up in the AFC Championship Game, Breeland’s definite return is a sigh of relief for Chiefs Kingdom. The presence of the soon-to-be 29-year-old should allow rookie standout L’Jarius Sneed to patrol inside the numbers while Charvarius Ward joins Breeland on the outside.
According to ESPN’s Field Yates, Breeland also stands to earn some additional cash on Sunday if he plays more than half of the team’s defensive snaps en route to a win over Buffalo.
The No. 2 seeded Bills have had a resurgent 2020 campaign, taking the AFC East crown back for the first time since 1995 and posting 13 wins for the time since 1991.
Under fourth-year head coach Sean McDermott and MVP candidate Josh Allen, Buffalo finished tied for second in total offense this season, trailing only Andy Reid’s club by just 310 yards. The arrival of All-Pro wideout Stefon Diggs — who posted an NFL-leading 127 catches for 1,535 yards — has had a lot to do with pushing the Bills over last season’s playoff hump. Not to mention veteran Cole Beasley, who also posted a career-high 82 receptions for 967 yards in 2020.
Both players are chain-movers for Buffalo’s pass-heavy attack, combining for 126 first down conversions during the regular season, with Diggs’ (73) ranking third-most among all wideouts.
While Breeland and company held the dynamic duo in check during the team’s first meeting back in Week 6 (10 catches, 99 yards and both of Buffalo’s touchdowns), Kansas City controlled the 26-17 win with 46 carries and 245 yards on the ground. With a trip to the Super Bowl on the line, Sunday’s tilt should look a little different between the league’s two most productive offenses.
PFF Projects Breeland Will Re-Sign in Kansas City
Regardless of Sunday’s outcome, Breeland is once again slated to hit free agency upon season’s end. The veteran corner will be one of the headliners of Kansas City’s impending class of 25 free agents, including WR Sammy Watkins, DE Alex Okafor, S Daniel Sorensen and LB Damien Wilson.
With the Chiefs up against the salary cap last offseason — as they will be again this year — Breeland returned to Kansas City in 2020 on a one-year “prove it” deal worth up to $4.5 million after the free agent cornerback market fizzled out. A recent projection from Pro Football Focus foresees a similar outcome for the sides again this offseason.
Listed as the No. 90 overall player available on its NFL top 100 free agents list for 2021, PFF predicts Breeland could land a new two-year, $10 million contract ($5.5 million guaranteed) from the reigning Super Bowl champions.
Here is what the prominent data and analytics giant had to say:
Breeland’s play at cornerback is something of a roller-coaster ride. In the right game, he can play well and hold his own on the outside against even decent receivers, but when the wheels come off, they tend to do so spectacularly.
The veteran cornerback had three games with a PFF coverage grade above 80.0 this past season, but he also one of 32.2 and another of 43.1 as well as two games in the 50s. Overall, he was beaten for a passer rating of 90.3 and earned a solid coverage grade, but it wasn’t always smooth sailing.
While holding onto Breeland would be a win if Ward leaves for greener pastures, PFF also has Watkins and Le’Veon Bell signing with the Baltimore Ravens and Miami Dolphins, respectively, on multi-year deals.
- Chiefs Projected to Draft Nation’s Best Defender in First-Round Trade Up
- Patrick Mahomes Reveals Savvy Move He Made After Suffering Head Injury
- Chiefs’ Tyreek Hill Opens up on Career Growth: ‘You Think You Hot S***’
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!