Exactly one week ago, the Kansas City Chiefs signed “Red Hulk” — AKA veteran defensive tackle Brandon Williams.
The nine-year contributor and eight-year starter with the Baltimore Ravens was not acquired this late in the season to be a permanent practice squad reserve, he was brought in to play and potentially start. Today, the Chiefs toppled the first domino in the chain that leads to Williams suiting up for meaningful snaps, releasing defensive tackle Taylor Stallworth.
Chiefs Cut DT Taylor Stallworth, Signaling Week 14 Debut
Sports agent Brett Tessler of Tessler Sports addressed the news on Twitter.
“The Kansas City Chiefs informed me they are releasing my client Taylor Stallworth,” he relayed. “Veteran DT should get interest from other teams on waivers.”
To be frank, Stallworth did not live up to his offseason expectations in KC after he registered 3.5 sacks over the past two seasons with the Indianapolis Colts. The disappointing year began with an injury this summer and a relegation to the practice squad following the preseason, but the interior lineman was eventually called up halfway through the 2022 campaign.
Since receiving that opportunity, his Pro Football Focus grade has been atrociously poor (29.5), ranking dead last behind fellow D-tackle Derrick Nnadi. The combination of the pair has set this Chiefs defense back when Chris Jones and Khalen Saunders are not on the field.
During his six-game tenure, Stallworth had just one quarterback pressure (a QB hit), with zero defensive “stops” and four total tackles on PFF. He provided very little positive impact but did manage to commit two penalties in limited action.
As mentioned in the open, this move is a clear signal that the coaching staff is ready to promote one of their two veterans off the practice squad — most likely Williams but potentially Danny Shelton if the newcomer is still getting himself acclimated. The Chiefs could choose to sign either to the active roster or spend a standard elevation on one against the Denver Broncos, but expect a Week 14 debut one way or the other.
Was the Bengals Loss the Final Straw for Big Red?
Head coach Andy Reid has been inching toward a decision like this but the Cincinnati Bengals loss may have been the final nail in the coffin for Stallworth.
Not only did the Chiefs fall for the third time this year, but they also allowed 150-plus rushing yards for the third time as well. Even more embarrassing, Cincy was without starting running back Joe Mixon.
That’s right, you may have noticed backup Samaje Perine shredding the Kansas City defense in Week 13. The second stringer was handed the ball 21 times, pounding the rock for 106 yards on the ground as quarterback Joe Burrow frolicked about for another 46 by himself.
Many have targeted the Chiefs secondary in their criticism this week but let’s be honest, the cornerbacks and safeties got very little help from the front four on Sunday. Stallworth was a minor part of that, with 10 snaps played, but the time he was out there wasn’t good. In his final outing before his release, the backup D-tackle was credited with a 35.1 grade and one tackle assist on PFF.
Williams and Shelton are both competent run-stuffers with a long track record of experience in this league. It’s about time the Chiefs give one of them a chance because outside of Jones, this defense continues to have trouble winning one-on-one battles up the gut.
Hopefully, one of these two veterans has enough left in the tank to make a difference both down the stretch and into the playoffs.