At other points in the regular season — without Chris Jones or before GM Brett Veach acquired Melvin Ingram III — this same unit was atrocious.
Unfortunately for KC, it didn’t quite hold up in their final two rounds of the playoffs either. The Chiefs did survive against the Buffalo Bills but after the offense fell flat in the second half of the AFC championship, the defense couldn’t close the door.
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Insider Offers Creative Fix to Pass Rushing Problem
Many faithful supporters of Chiefs Kingdom are rallying for more help at edge rusher this offseason, but Veach may have to get creative in order to find it based on their projected cap space.
Kansas City currently has a little over $14.467 million in 2022, according to Over the Cap. That’s before taking care of a priority re-sign like Orlando Brown Jr. or even considering another like Tyrann Mathieu.
Sure, Veach could cut Frank Clark to free up $12.7 million as some have suggested but the GM would have to sacrifice $13.6 M in the process if he wanted to have the extra space in time for free agency. At that point, you’re replacing one edge rusher with another and basically burning $13.6 million — feels wasteful.
The more realistic answer may come via trade and ESPN NFL insider Jeremy Fowler came up with one option that could make sense — Seattle Seahawks defensive end L.J. Collier. He wrote:
What’s funny is Collier became more of a factor after his name had swirled at the trade deadline and Seattle didn’t trade him, as he averaged 22 snaps per game from Weeks 10 to 18. With Seattle transitioning to a new defensive coordinator, changes could be on the way. The Chiefs took a hard look at Collier in the 2019 draft, and like versatile 4-3 defensive ends who can slide inside, he might make sense as a flier.
The former first-round draft pick could use a change of scenery heading into his initial contract season as an NFL pass rusher. After a nonexistent rookie campaign, Collier accumulated three sacks and 22 tackles as a starter in 2020. One year later, it was back to the bench.
This would be the type of low-risk, high-reward move that we’ve seen Veach make in the past.
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Cost, Efficiency of Collier
Heading into the final campaign of his rookie deal, Collier would cost just under $3.448 million in 2022 — probably less for KC depending on trade details.
It’s unclear what the Chiefs might have to give up to get him but based on his production, the highest of KC’s seventh-rounders might get it done in 2022, or a slightly greater selection like a fifth or sixth-rounder in 2023. In the midst of a retooling of sorts, the Seahawks may just try and recoup as much cap space as possible.
As for his efficiency, this is definitely a buy-low proposition. Collier has never had a Pro Football Focus season grade higher than 60.2 (2020). He generated a quarterback pressure on 6.686% of pass-rushing snaps in that campaign but he has not always been reliable against the run.
Obviously, Collier was more potent in college. He had 14.5 sacks and 20.5 tackles for a loss over three TCU seasons from 2016-18.
Veach has targeted ex-Seahawks players in the past with the aforementioned Clark and Jarran Reed among others. It’s possible they take another shot on a reclamation project out of Seattle.