Commanders Urged to Sign Panthers Free Agent to Replace Kamren Curl

Kamren Curl

Getty The Washington Commanders can replace free agent Kamren Curl with a versatile starter from the Carolina Panthers.

The Washington Commanders need to keep all of the good players they can to help a rebuild, but if they have to lose safety Kamren Curl in NFL free agency, they should replace him with Jeremy Chinn of the Carolina Panthers.

That’s the verdict of Bleacher Report’s Matt Holder. He describes Curl as “a ‘do-it-all’ safety this year, lining up in the box, deep and over the slot.”

A defensive back so versatile will be tough to replace, but Holder also noted how “Chinn has a similar skill set and plays in a similar role on Carolina’s defense. He’s also still pretty young as he’ll be 26 years old in February, so the Commanders could get a suitable replacement for one of their best defensive players without having to sacrifice too much youth at the position.”

If they can’t keep Curl, the Commanders would be wise to look at Chinn, who excels in a role crucial to modern defense.

Jeremy Chinn is an Ideal Kamren Curl Replacement

There won’t be a more natural fit to replace Curl on the veteran market than Chinn. The latter is equally adept at safety or linebacker, has played nickel or dime back.

Lines between those positions have become blurred in recent years. Defensive coordinators want coverage-ready players in the box who can still hit in run support and create pressure on the blitz.

Chinn showcased his talent blitzing for this sack against the New Orleans Saints in 2022, highlighted by Pro Football Culture.

Injuries have limited Chinn’s development, with a quad strain landing him on injured reserve in October. He’s only appeared in nine games this season, but Chinn has still posted some impressive numbers.

They include allowing eight completions from 13 targets in pass coverage. Chinn has also blitzed 10 times, generating a sack and a pressure, per Pro Football Reference.

Those are solid statistics even though Chinn’s role has changed this season. He’s played less linebacker and moved into the slot.

The move hasn’t always done Chinn any favors. He’s struggled at times in coverage, like against tight end Kyle Pitts and the Atlanta Falcons in Week 1, per Ted Nguyen of The Athletic.

Chinn’s had his issues this season, but he’s still a logical fit for a role Curl has made his own in Washington.

Kamren Curl Has Made Niche Position a Speciality

The Commanders have often used a so-called ‘Buffalo Nickel’ position on defense. It’s a niche role demanding a safety handling the physical demands of playing at the linebacker level.

Curl has passed the test consistently during a strong season in a contract year. He’s started all 14 games, blitzed 16 times and allowed just two touchdowns in coverage.

As film analyst Mark Bullock put it, No. 31 “can play SS, big nickel, dime LB, play deep, buzz underneath, match TEs man to man, great in zone/match stuff too.”

Bringing Curl back shouldn’t be a problem for a franchise projected by to have $89,185,204 worth of space under the salary cap in 2024. Curl merits a bumper new contract as one of the few draft successes during head coach Ron Rivera’s era.

The seventh-round pick in 2020 has defied his draft status to become one of the league’s hidden gems. That status makes him a strong candidate for the franchise tag if a deal can’t be reached.

Rivera’s future will also impact what the Commanders decide to do with Curl. The coach is widely expected to be out of a job after this season. Rivera and “some front office members will be fired,” according to Dianna Russini of The Athletic.

If Rivera’s gone, the role Curl has made his own may no longer apply in Washington’s defense. If it does, but Curl still decides to leave, Chinn is an ideal next man up.

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