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NFL free agency 2014: A case for DE Antonio Smith and the Kansas City Chiefs

Kansas City needs to find some more production from its defensive ends in the pass rush, something Smith can provide.

Bob Levey

The Kansas City Chiefs have one of the best front sevens in football.

With Tamba Hali, Justin Houston, Derrick Johnson and Dontari Poe up front, the Chiefs have some of the best personnel in the league. Unfortunately, they have one major weak spot; pass-rushing defensive ends.

Tyson Jackson and Mike DeVito are excellent against the run, but neither does anything constructive on third down. Over at Pro Football Focus, Jackson and DeVito are ranked 14th and 7th overall for 3-4 defensive ends respectively. DeVito comes in third against the run while Jackson ranks tenth, but playing the pass is another story.

In the PFF rankings, Jackson is 29th and DeVito 37th out of 45 men who qualified. By the way, Kansas City's specialist Allen Bailey, the man who comes in to rush the quarterback on third down, ranks 26th. Yikes.

Enter soon-to-be free agent Antonio Smith, currently of the Houston Texans. Smith, 32, is coming off a season in which he amassed five sacks in 15 games for Houston, playing exclusively as a 3-4 end. Smith has been very durable throughout his career, playing 16 games each season of his nine years except for last year and his rookie campaign (12 games).

Smith should not cost that much considering he doesn't play a very in-demand position and is definitely on the backside of his career. Chiefs general manager John Dorsey could find a steal in Smith should the situation present itself.

I don't see Smith as the answer as a starter for Kansas City. I would still love to see the Chiefs go out and draft a 3-4 end who can develop and become a stud alongside Poe. However, those developments normally take time, and Smith could be a productive gap who helps the kid along.

I would hope that Smith gives the Chiefs Wallace Gilberry-type production.

Basically, I would hope that Smith gives the Chiefs Wallace Gilberry-type production. At this point in his career, Smith is bad against the run but makes an impact on passing downs. Going back to PFF, Smith ranked 17th overall among 3-4 ends but came in an impressive fifth against the pass.

Considering Houston has approximately $3 million in cap space, the Texans very well might let Smith leave. At 32 years old, it's unlikely he will get much in the way of guarantees.

If I'm Dorsey, this is a call I'm definitely making.

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