After posting a league-leading 52.0 sacks and 192 quarterback pressures under former defensive coordinator Bob Sutton in 2018, the Kansas City Chiefs defense has fallen back to the middle of the pack in both categories over the past two seasons. Still, ranking in the top-10 for the fewest points allowed has kept Steve Spagnuolo’s unit competitive while flanked by the NFL’s No. 1 offensive unit.
Although the team did make a “really good” offseason signing in defensive tackle Jarran Reed and add fourth-round defensive end Joshua Kaindoh, the Chiefs’ pass rush remains a top-heavy group heading into the 2021 season.
General manager Brett Veach and the front office have previously expressed interest in adding another veteran into the mix, having hosted former Los Angeles Chargers Pro Bowler Melvin Ingram for a visit back in March. Now, another notable name is being floated as a possible fit for the reigning AFC champions.
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Vic Beasley a Fit in Kansas City?
In a June 25 Bleacher Report roundup ranking the 10 best unsigned players under 30, the Chiefs were highlighted as the “best fit” for free agent pass rusher Vic Beasley, who came in at No. 4 on the list.
Here was the justification from NFL featured columnist Maurice Moton:
The Kansas City Chiefs will attempt to spark their pass rush with some creativity. Defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo plans to use Chris Jones on the edge and on the inside. The unit may have to play some games without Frank Clark, who was arrested for felony illegal possession of a firearm Sunday, per TMZ Sports.
With Jones set to learn a new position and Clark going through the legal process, the Chiefs should explore veteran options at defensive end. Beasley isn’t a lead pass-rusher, but he can possibly help Kansas City’s unit in a pinch for a short period.
Beasley, who turns 29 years old on July 8, is a former eighth overall pick of the Atlanta Falcons in 2015. The 6-foot-3, 245-pound speed rusher has had a roller-coaster experience through his first five seasons, peaking with an NFL-leading 15.5 sacks as a sophomore in 2016 and plummeting last season to the tune of one pressure and no sacks in 10 games between the Tennessee Titans and Las Vegas Raiders.
Chiefs DE Depth Could Be Tested in 2021
With uncertainty surrounding Clark’s legal situation and Jones’ splits and effectiveness on the edge to be determined, Kansas City’s defensive end depth could be tested early and often.
The Chiefs will be relying on former first-rounder Taco Charlton, who is returning from a season-ending ankle injury last November, and 2020 fifth-rounder Mike Danna, who showed some promise in the pass rush department as a rookie, as its primary fallback options. Otherwise, an inexperienced group including Kaindoh, Tim Ward, Demone Harris, Austin Edwards and Malik Herring (one combined NFL start) are set to battle for playing time during training camp and into the preseason.
With all quiet on the Beasley front and more familiar options like Ingram and former sack leader Justin Houston still unsigned heading into July, Kansas City doesn’t appear to be in any rush to add to its current defensive end group — especially considering the team’s modest $8.3 million in salary cap space and potential price tag that could accompany any of those still-effective veterans.
However, Beasley could prove to be the biggest low-cost, high-upside option of the group having most recently joined the Raiders’ practice squad last November on the equivalent of a one-year, $910,000 contract, per Spotrac. That, of course, was a far cry from the one-year, $9.5 million deal he inked to join the Titans just eight months prior. At this point of his career though, things appear to be trending toward the more budget-friendly outcome for any club willing to see what Beasley has left in the tank this season.
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!