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Arrowheadlines: The Chris Jones conundrum

Chiefs headlines for Saturday, March 14

Super Bowl LIV - San Francisco 49ers v Kansas City Chiefs Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images

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The NFL’s 2020 Free Agent Class Could Reset the Pass Rush vs. Pass Coverage Debate | The Ringer

It’s a fair question, considering how well Jones has played over the past two seasons. He notched 15.5 sacks in 2018—the third-highest mark in the league, and an absolutely ludicrous number for an interior defensive lineman. In 2019, Jones finished with nine sacks despite missing three games with a groin injury. For the second season in a row, Pro Football Focus data showed that on a per-snap basis, Jones was the second-most disruptive interior pass rusher in the league—behind only Aaron Donald. His performance in the Super Bowl will likely be lost to history, thanks to Mahomes’s growing legend, the narrative around Andy Reid’s first championship, and jet chip wasp. But Jones was arguably the Chiefs’ most impactful player that night in Miami. His pressure directly led to Jimmy Garoppolo’s first-half interception, and if not for his pair of pass knockdowns in the fourth quarter, the Niners might be Super Bowl champions. With all he’s contributed over the past couple years, it’s hard to blame Jones for looking around and wondering what else he has to prove.

Chris Harris Jr. Says the Door Has ‘Pretty Much’ Closed on Return to Broncos | Bleacher Report

The reigning Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs are one team that would certainly be excited to have Harris.

They have a need at cornerback, and safety Tyrann Mathieu already started recruiting Harris earlier this offseason.

Kansas City is expected to have $19.2 million in salary-cap space, which would make acquiring Harris a bit tricky. He could be interested in making it work, though, given his ties to the area. He played college ball at the University of Kansas, which is only 45 minutes from K.C.

Of course, having the chance to play the Broncos twice per season in the AFC West might be additional motivation to sign with the Chiefs.

For now, NFL free agency is set to begin March 18. Who are the Chiefs’ free agents? | Kansas City Star

Fullback Anthony Sherman: A proven veteran and core special teams contributor whom the Chiefs should want back.

Wide receiver Demarcus Robinson: The Chiefs’ top priorities should include figuring out a way to restructure Sammy Watkins’ contract, which will count $20 million or more against the cap. Watkins is the priority and Mecole Hardman should see a bigger role in 2020, signaling that Robinson might be free to sign elsewhere.

Tight end Blake Bell: Bell proved valuable in the Chiefs’ two-tight end packages and he won’t break the bank if the team wants him back. Still, the Chiefs could decide to let Deon Yelder and Nick Keizer battle it out to become Travis Kelce’s primary backup.

Coronavirus ends XFL season early: Five players who could land on their feet in the NFL | CBS Sports

5. DT Cavon Walker

Walker, 25, has yet to make a mark on the NFL level, and while he did manage a sack and five tackles in the Chiefs’ final preseason game last year, it wasn’t enough to make the final roster. He landed in New York with the Guardians, a team that went through plenty of struggles this year but did find a bright spot on the defensive line.

The defensive tackle was a force in the middle of the defense, consistently getting penetration throughout the first five weeks. He led the league in sacks (4.5) and quarterback hits (9) while tying for second in tackles for loss (5). Like during the 2019 preseason, he saved his best performance for last, racking up two sacks, two tackles for loss and four quarterback hits in a rout of the Renegades in Week 5.

At a listed 284 pounds, Walker might be a bit on the small side to ever handle regular duties in the middle of an NFL defense, but he sure does appear to be worth using as a specialized pass rusher. Even if he’s only going to be used in bursts, a team like the Falcons should be open to a role for that type of player.

2020 NFL Mock Draft: Dolphins pass on Tua Tagovailoa for Jordan Love as five QBs go in top 20 picks | CBS Sports

Round 1 - Pick 32

A.J. Terrell CB

Kansas City

You can never have enough corners and they have a free agents in Bashaud Breeland and Kendall Fuller.

Could the Redskins Fill with Fuller? | Redskins Report

The Redskins have struggled to cover slot receivers the last two seasons. In Fuller’s final season in Washington back in 2017, he was arguably the top slot corner in the league. With teams almost always in nickel packages now, having a player dedicated to covering inside receivers is absolutely necessary.

Fuller had a strong two years in Kansas City. While some would argue his career didn’t take the next step, he was still very good. He often played inside and outside for the Chiefs and was absolutely critical to their Super Bowl run.

Around the NFL

Three NFL free agents who should stay and three who should go | NFL.com

THREE PLAYERS WHO SHOULD LEAVE

Teddy Bridgewater, QB, New Orleans Saints

Last offseason, Bridgewater passed on a chance to start for the Dolphins, choosing instead to re-sign with New Orleans for another year of backup duty behind Drew Brees. Then, when Brees went down with a thumb injury, Bridgewater stepped up and compiled a 5-0 record with a 9:2 TD-to-INT ratio, answering any remaining doubts about his ability to once again be a bona fide starting QB after his 2016 knee injury. With Brees coming back for another season and Taysom Hill also likely to return, it would make little sense for either side to have Bridgewater on the Saints’ roster in 2020, with Bridgewater appearing ready to bolt for a starting opportunity and New Orleans lacking the cap space to keep him. Tampa is an intriguing possibility for the 27-year-old; after Jameis Winston’s 30-interception 2019, the Bucs would surely appreciate Bridgewater’s turnover-averse ways.

NFL insider notes: 13 matches between free agents and teams that make perfect sense | CBS Sports

RavensEmmanuel Sanders

Sanders had a huge impact on a young offense a year ago when he arrived in San Francisco. He showed a willingness to block his butt off in that run-centric attack. Would be huge for Hollywood Brown and Lamar Jackson. An alpha who will sell out to make plays. This front office knows the MVP needs an upgrade in weapons and I think Sanders would be the perfect fit on a short-term deal at this stage of his career.

Matthew Slater, Patriots Agree to Two-Year Extension | Sports Illustrated

Slater, at 34 years old, is likely signing the last contract of his career, which is likely why it ended up being with the Patriots. He has evolved into a leader on and off the field since being drafted by New England in the 5th round of the 2008 NFL Draft, and he’d be a hard piece to let walk in free agency even as a player that strictly does his damage on special teams.

Chargers put franchise tag on tight end Hunter Henry | ESPN

Henry is expected to earn more than $11 million in 2020, based on the projected 2020 salary-cap figure.

Chargers general manager Tom Telesco said last month at the NFL scouting combine that tagging Henry was a possibility, given the team’s desire to retain him.

In case you missed it at Arrowhead Pride

2020 NFL free agency: 10 cornerback options for the Chiefs

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James Bradberry, Carolina Panthers

2019: 65 tackles (51 solo), 12 passes defensed, 3 interceptions

2019 (advanced): 58 completions on 97 targets (59.8%) for 644 yards; opposing passer rating: 70.1

James Bradberry was called the Chiefs’ best fit in free agency by Kent Swanson and our AP Nerd Squad, who wrote he is at his “best playing in zone, where he can read through the play, but can still play in a press man alignment if asked.” At the age of 27 (in August), Bradberry already has 60 starts to his name, so he brings a ton of experience to the table as he approaches what is usually the prime of a defensive back’s career.

Market value: $12-14 million average annual salary

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