The Kansas City Chiefs recently cleared some much needed salary cap space with the release of veteran cornerback Brandon Flowers. Perhaps general manager John Dorsey could spend at least a bit of that income on defensive lineman Johnny Jolly.
Given the upcoming (assumed) extensions for Justin Houston and Alex Smith, it's likely the Chiefs already have the newly acquired space earmarked in those directions. However some news involving a familiar face to the Chiefs GM could spur at least a look for KC to increase their veteran depth along the defensive front.
The Green Bay Press-Gazette's Weston Hodkiewicz recently noted that Jolly was "just waiting for a call" after being cleared to pay by his doctor. Jolly had C-5 / C-6 spinal fusion surgery earlier this offseason.
Dorsey was the Packers' Director of College Scouting when Jolly was drafted in 2006, so the Chiefs GM will already be very familiar with him. Right now the Chiefs have nearly $10 million in cap space, more than half the NFL. Again, most of that space is likely already earmarked elsewhere for extensions, but Jolly is likely going to make the veteran minimum next year -- a total of $730k in Jolly's instance.
Jolly returned to the NFL in 2013 after three full seasons away from the game, missing 2010-12 due to suspension after multiple arrests of possession of narcotics. Despite his absence, Jolly once again stepped in for the Packers and became solid rotational player, appearing in 13 games and starting eight of them.
Acme Packing Company's Evan Western believes that the Packers will be interested in bringing back Jolly for a closer look after his surgery:
Of course, it is no guarantee that the Packers' medical staff would concur with Jolly's doctors determination, but it seems that it would be well worth a look. Jolly was a consistent contributor in the Packers' base 3-4 defense, playing in 13 games and starting eight, and was at least part of the reason for the team's success in defending the run early on in the season.
In addition, Western offers an insight into how the Packers would use Jolly, likely the same value he would bring to the Chiefs and their own 3-4 defense:
At his age (31) and size (6'3", 320), Jolly would probably be used much like he was last season - playing 15 to 25 snaps per game on running downs in the base formations.
The Chiefs defense gave up 4.5 yards per attempt last season, good for 26th in the NFL. Overall, the Chiefs gave up 5.5 yards per play, good for 19th, as the team's pass defense came up strong. For those of you who follow Football Outsiders and are familiar with their Defense-adjusted Value Over Average (DVOA) statistics, you might be interested to know that the Chiefs were seventh in the NFL in passing defensive efficiency and 15th in rushing. No matter the metric, the team's running defense could be stouter in 2014.
Mike DeVito, Vance Walker, and Dominique Hamilton are the defensive ends on the Chiefs roster competing for snaps in training camp. If Jolly can slide inside, his primary competition will come from Jaye Howard, Jermelle Cudjo, Kyle Love, and Kona Schwenke.
Jolly had 11 tackles, one fumble recovery, and one sack last season for the Packers.