Chiefs Pegged as Best Fit for ‘Top 10’ Free-Agent Safety in 2022

Marcus Maye

Getty New York Jets safety Marcus Maye breaks up a pass in the endzone on December 8, 2019.

The Kansas City Chiefs are not only back in the running for another Super Bowl appearance, they are first in the AFC West and fourth in the conference.

Things have changed dramatically after a three-game win streak for KC and a few unexpected losses from the competition. Having said that, it still never hurts to take a look ahead to 2022, no matter what happens down the stretch.

This roster will have some holes to fill next offseason and one area of need jumps out on the defensive side — the safety position.

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Kansas City Linked to Marcus Maye

With Tyrann Mathieu set to hit free agency and the combination of Juan Thornhill and Daniel Sorensen struggling for the better part of 2021, the Chiefs may be looking to add an experienced safety.

A November 8 article from Kristopher Knox of Bleacher Report listed Marcus Maye as a player in need of a change of scenery. He wrote:

New York Jets safety Marcus Maye is on injured reserve with a torn Achilles and may not be ready to start the 2022 season. When he does return to the playing field, he needs to do it away from New York. The 28-year-old has said the right things publicly, insinuating that he would be happy to remain a Jet. However, Maye was unable to agree to a long-term offer in the offseason, which led to the franchise tag. ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler reported last month that Maye “would welcome” a trade to a contender and “felt undervalued” by the Jets… On the field, he was fantastic in 2020. He logged 88 tackles, two interceptions, two sacks and allowed an opposing passer rating of 80.4. Playing in one of the league’s worst defenses this season (last in yards and points allowed per game), Maye has allowed an opposing passer rating of 97.1. A team like Kansas City could give Maye the perfect chance to rebound and to chase a championship while he’s still in his prime. Maye will turn 29 in March. The Chiefs have a big need at safety, where Daniel Sorensen has allowed an opposing passer rating of 158.3.

Based on his recent injury and his impending charges for a February DUI arrest, the Chiefs could get Maye at a bargain. The safety was franchise tagged this season but it would be silly for the Jets to do so again if he’s not even healthy enough to start the year on the active roster.

More likely than not, he’ll hit the open market and receive a one-year prove-it deal. A contender like KC would be the perfect place to play out a contract like that.

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Maye Might Have Untapped Potential

The five-year Jets veteran was previously linked to the Chiefs ahead of the trade deadline and one could argue he has yet to reach his true potential in New York.

As a 24-year old rookie, Maye has less mileage than the average 28-year old aside from the Achilles injury. Sam Monson of Pro Football Focus ranked him as a top 10 safety heading into 2021.

Maye finished seventh on this list ahead of talented young players like Jessie Bates III and Jamal Adams. That rank will surely drop after the recent setback but the talent and intelligence are there once his body recovers.

Even if the Chiefs agree to bring Mathieu back, it might be smart to upgrade his safety partner in 2022. This defense has been leaky on the back-end and a signing like this could take this unit to the next level.