When the Kansas City Chiefs enter free agency in 2022, there’s one position they’ll need to address:
Although they’ve had very good play during the second half of the 2021 season from that position, Charvarius Ward, Mike Hughes, and Chris Lammons will all be free agents in 2022. That leaves a hole opposite of L’Jarius Sneed in the lineup.
While it is very possible that the defending AFC champions could re-sign any or all of those players, it’s also possible they could attempt to upgrade at the position by bringing in another Pro Bowl-caliber defender in the building. That’s why Pro Football Network named the Chiefs as a potential landing spot for one of the league’s ball-hawking cornerbacks in 2022.
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Chiefs Potential Spot for J.C. Jackson
Ben Rolfe of Pro Football Network named the Chiefs as one of five potential landing spots for New England Patriots cornerback J.C. Jackson, who is set to be a free agent in 2022. The other two spots Rolfe named as potential suitors for fourth-year cornerback were the New York Jets, San Francisco 49ers, Seattle Seahawks, and Las Vegas Raiders.
“Kansas City has had success with 2020 NFL Draft pick L’Jarius Sneed, but they need an option to play opposite him if Charvarius Ward departs this offseason,” Rolfe wrote. “The Chiefs’ defense lacks stars, and Jackson would immediately become one of the best players on that side of the ball.”
Playing as the No. 1 cornerback in New England’s defense for the first time in his career, Jackson has stepped up to the challenge. Through 13 games this season, the former undrafted free agent has 36 tackles, 17 passes defended, and seven interceptions, one of which was a pick-six, per Pro Football Reference. Jackson, 26, is graded at 77.6 by PFF this season, which ranks eighth among all cornerbacks.
Can Chiefs Afford Jackson?
Kansas City is projected to have an estimated $31.5 million in available cap space in 2022, according to Spotrac. That’s not a lot of wiggle room to bring in numerous high-profile free agents, along with attempting to retain the ones on their roster, like safety Tyrann Mathieu and starting left tackle Orlando Brown Jr., who are both set to be free agents in 2022.
Based on his play and the cornerback market, Jackson could garner a contract next offseason that’s worth $13-20 million/year. Because of this, Jackson’s price tag may be a bit too high for the Chiefs to cash in on. Instead, it might make more sense for Kansas City to attempt to retain Ward and Hughes, who brings value on special teams as well, and potentially bring in a more low-profile cornerback from free agency to bolster the depth chart.
Running backs Darrell Williams, Jerick McKinnon, and Derrick Gore, wide receivers Byron Pringle, Demarcus Robinson, and Josh Gordon, and defensive tackles Jarran Reed and Derrick Nnadi are set to hit free agency next offseason as well. So, the team’s limited cap space would be better spent elsewhere rather than on a high-profile cornerback.
Let Jackson go elsewhere, and try to retain as much of the talent on the roster as possible.