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Chiefs land key free agent running back in latest ESPN scenarios

Could Kansas City go after running back Corey Grant in free agency?

NFL: Jacksonville Jaguars-Training Camp Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

Speculation season continued Friday with an interesting article from ESPN’s Bill Barnwell, titled “NFL’s Offseason Dominoes.”

The premise of the piece is one big move in NFL free agency can lead to six to 12 ensuing moves. The Chiefs found themselves listed once in the many scenarios provided by Barnwell.

Barnwell predicted that IF the New York Jets sign Le’Veon Bell, the Raiders will sign Mark Ingram, the Saints will sign Jay Ajayi, the Dolphins will sign Jeremy Hill, the Cowboys will sign Adrian Peterson, and...

The Chiefs will sign Corey Grant to a two-year, $4.5 million deal.

BARNWELL: With Kareem Hunt out of football and Spencer Ware a free agent, the Chiefs will add at least one back behind Damien Williams. Grant was buried in Jacksonville, but his ability to play on third down and special teams make him an ideal fit as a second or third back.

Grant, 27, is listed at 5 feet 11 and 203 pounds. He had a shortened season in 2018 thanks to a Lisfranc injury he suffered in the Jaguars’ Week 5 game against the Chiefs. In 16 games in 2017, Grant had 248 yards and two touchdowns on 30 rushes, as well as three receptions for 41 yards.

Here is what our own Matt Lane saw from Grant on the tape:

LANE: Corey Grant is both interesting and perplexing (to Jacksonville Jaguar fans and analysts), due to his infrequent use and his success in those limited snaps. Grant’s blazing straight-line speed is the first thing that pops on the film for Grant, as he easily pulls away from players horizontally and vertically. Grant ran a 4.3 at his Pro Day. His open-field ability and success making defenders missed has improved nearly every year in the NFL.

The qualms with Grant come in his usage limitations. As a speed-run player or receiver, it’s a tip-off to a defense when he is in the game that an outside run or pass is coming in his direction. He isn’t physical enough to take a few yards between the tackles and provides little to nothing in pass protection, making his usage more Tayvon Austin than Darren Sproles. Still, there is plenty to be excited for in Grant’s game, as he shows the ability to turn any touch into a huge play and the traits needed to be useful as a receiver downfield from the running back spot.

There is a third player to think about when considering Grant, and that is Darrel Williams, who the Chiefs signed as an undrafted free agent out of LSU prior to last season. I think the Chiefs like Williams but also push for internal competition, as we saw last year when they overloaded at the running back position ahead of training camp.

As intriguing as signing Grant would be, I’m not sure the Chiefs spend any real money in free agency at running back, given how they already need to be creative in navigating a tight salary cap as it is. I’d predict they instead choose to take a running back in the mid-rounds of the NFL Draft while signing a few veterans willing to accept the minimum.

The Chiefs’ hope being that like in the case of Damien Williams, one would stick.

NFL free agency begins on March 13.


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