Trade Proposal Sends Cheap, Reliable Pass Rusher to Chiefs

Getty Jacksonville Jaguars defensive end Dawuane Smoot.

For a better part of the 2021 NFL season, the Kansas City Chiefs struggled to dominate in the trenches on the defensive side of the football. That’s why Kansas City ranked second to last in the NFL in rushing yards per attempt allowed (4.8) and 29th in sacks (31), according to ESPN.

The addition of Melvin Ingram at the trade deadline had a positive impact on the Chiefs’defense. That is evident in Ingram’s 80.9 overall grade from PFF, which ranks 13th among all edge defenders in the league.

Despite Ingram’s production, Kansas City still wasn’t always able to generate a consistently dominant pass rush, and that’s because the team’s other defensive linemen weren’t always performing to expectation.

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The Chiefs’ top paid pass-rushers, Chris Jones and Frank Clark, registered nine and four and a half sacks, respectively, during the 2021 regular season. In three playoff games, neither player recorded a sack or a QB hit, according to Pro Football Reference. Clark’s small sack total doesn’t add up to the $25.8 million cap number he was on the books with for the 2021 season, which is why the Chiefs may look elsewhere to find additional help on the defensive line this offseason.

Free agency and the draft are options in play to resolve Kansas City’s issues along the defensive line. However, making a trade is also a possibility. Bleacher Report’s Alex Ballentine thinks the Chiefs could go that route and trade for a reliable veteran down in Jacksonville.


Chiefs Trade for Dawuane Smoot

Ballentine created an ideal trade scenario for each NFL team and chose Kansas City as a trade suitor for Jaguars defensive end Dawuane Smoot.

Smoot, 26, is a five-year NFL veteran who has spent his entire career thus far in Jacksonville. Smoot has become a reliable depth piece off the edge for the Jaguars; over the past three seasons he has played in every single game, registering 55 tackles, 40 QB hits, 17.5 sacks, and 18 tackles for loss, per Pro Football Reference. Smoot’s six sacks last season would have been second-best among Chiefs defenders.

The biggest catch to this trade, however, is when it would potentially take place. Jacksonville’s willingness to part ways with Smoot might be reliant upon who they select with the No. 1 overall pick in the 2022 NFL Draft. So, Kansas City would have to wait until after the draft to trade for him in this scenario.

“The Jacksonville Jaguars have a prime opportunity to add a premier edge-rusher with the No. 1 overall pick,” Ballentine wrote February 19. “The latest B/R mock draft has the Jags taking Alabama tackle Evan Neal, but edge-rushers Kayvon Thibodeaux and Aidan Hutchinson remain in play.

“Smoot would become expendable if Jacksonville selects either edge prospect.”

Ballentine doesn’t suggest what Kansas City might have to give up in exchange for Smoot. However, based on Smoot’s contract and NFL production, a mid-round draft pick is a strong possibility.


Smoot’s Contract Lines up With KC’s Finances

The biggest reason a trade involving Smoot being shipped to the Chiefs could happen is because of the money involved.

Smoot is entering the final year of his two-year, $10 million deal he signed with the Jaguars in 2021. So, he will be on the books with a $6.7 million cap hit in 2022, according to OverTheCap. That’s a cap figure Kansas City could work with, or general manager Brett Veach could make that number even smaller if he signed Smoot to an extension.

Trading for Smoot is just one of the very many options the Chiefs could weigh this offseason to bolster their defensive line. But Smoot playing in Kansas City could evolve into one of the most intriguing options the Chiefs have this offseason.

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