The top cornerback, Dee Milliner, had an awful four-year career, which started under Rex Ryan and the New York Jets. Cornerback D.J. Hayden flunked out with the Oakland Raiders, though his work as the Detroit Lions’ third cornerback in 2019 seems to have brought small bit of hope to his career.
Then there’s a group of impressive picks: the Falcons’ Desmond Trufant, the Vikings’ Xavier Howard and the Lions’ Darius Slay. After them, we’re back in no-name’s land, with a handful of players who haven’t established themselves in the league. Finally, we get to Mathieu, the 69th overall pick in the third round.
“Oh my… @_bigplayslay23 what were they thinking ….” Mathieu wrote on Twitter Sunday.
Kansas City Chiefs
Nobody should be surprised that the Chiefs haven’t done much in free agency. This team just won the Super Bowl, so their roster is already quite good. They’ve also got some long-term extensions (Patrick Mahomes) that they need to budget for. So, we’re not going to ding them for being mostly inactive during free agency. Losing Emmanuel Ogbah and Kendall Fuller are blows to a defense that made a big improvement last season. Bashaud Breeland remains unsigned. He’d also be a big loss for that secondary. Offensively, they haven’t lost much, but Stefen Wisniewski as a depth piece up front will be missed.
But the Chiefs have done well to retain important pieces like Chris Jones (franchise tag), Anthony Sherman, and Mike Pennel. Losses were inevitable. But the Chiefs will be keeping most of the gang together for another run at the Super Bowl. That’s the important thing. Finding a way to keep Breeland and getting Jones under contract for the long haul would improve their grade substantially.
Top-100 Targets (Kansas City owns picks 32, 63 and 96): They’ll be able to find back-seven help at the end of the first round. If they want that versatile piece to replace Fuller, they should probably look to the safety group. Alabama’s Xavier McKinney would be an ideal fit if he makes it to the end of Round 1, as does LSU’s Grant Delpit (though his inconsistencies as a tackler might be too much to overlook). If they wait until Day 2, Utah’s Terrell Burgess can fill a lot of different roles. Both LSU’s Patrick Queen and Oklahoma’s Kenneth Murray would bring needed athleticism to the linebacking corps if they’re available late in the first; that position group is thin though, and K.C. might have to pounce if one of them makes it to 32. While he’s not exactly filling a need, LSU RB Clyde Edwards-Helaire would be electric in this offense should he make it to the end of Round 2.
32nd - Kansas City Chiefs: D’Andre Swift, RB
The value of the running back has steadily declined over the last decade of the NFL. Though that hasn’t stopped teams from drafting young backs on rookie deals. In fact, a running back has gone in the first round in each of the last five NFL Drafts. This year’s draft pool is not exactly loaded at the running back position either.
There are three top backs, and then there’s a steep drop off in terms of prospects. Therefore you could see Swift going earlier than typically expected because running back hungry teams like Kansas City won’t be able to wait around in hopes of a back falling to them in the second round.
“He’s the closest thing I’ve seen to Tyreek Hill,” Jeremiah told The Post. “I would say he’s probably got better hands. The play speed is very comparable. Tyreek Hill may be a little bit stronger. I think Ruggs is more advanced as a receiver coming out, and obviously doesn’t come with any of the character issues that were there.” Jeremiah currently has Oklahoma’s CeeDee Lamb as his top-ranked receiver heading into April’s draft, and while Ruggs’ Alabama teammate Jerry Jeudy also has a strong chance of being the first receiver taken off the board, Jeremiah could see a scenario in which a team — perhaps even the Jets — could see Ruggs as the best receiver available.
Around the NFL
Allison spent the 2019 season with the Green Bay Packers, who had brought him back on a one-year, $2.8 million deal with the thought that he could move into the No. 2 wide receiver slot vacated by Randall Cobb. But Allison never took the jump they hoped.
Cornerback Ronald Darby is also moving on but remaining in the same division. The former Eagles cornerback has agreed to a one-year deal with the Washington Redskins worth $3 million, per Rapoport. He added that Darby’s contract has a max value of $4 million.
2. Miami Dolphins
Notable additions: CB Byron Jones, LB Kyle Van Noy, DE Shaq Lawson, RB Jordan Howard, LB Elandon Roberts, OL Ereck Flowers
Notable losses: None.
The Dolphins entered the offseason with more money than any other team, and they haven’t been shy when it comes to spending it. They have made several big moves, including making Byron Jones the highest-paid cornerback in the NFL. They also made some underrated signings such as Ted Karras, Shaq Lawson, Emmanuel Ogbah and Kyle Van Noy. While I probably wouldn’t pay Ereck Flowers $10 million per year, he proved he’s a starting guard while with the Washington Redskins last season. Miami has room to overpay for certain players if it truly feels they are worth it. Depending on what the Dolphins do at the quarterback position, they could experience a quick turnaround in 2020.
The new playoff format. The extra two playoff games in 2020 are in little doubt; the seventh playoff team per conference was collectively bargained with the players in the new CBA. This season, it’s likely there will be three wild-card games on Saturday, Jan. 9, 2021, and three on Sunday, Jan. 10.
There had been consideration for a 2-3-1 format, two on Saturday, three Sunday and one Monday night, but that is unlikely because a team would come out of the first playoff weekend playing a short-week divisional game. I would expect a possible Monday night wild-card game to come up in future years, however; the difference in rights fees switching from a 1:05 p.m. Saturday game to 8:15 p.m. Monday would be substantial.
Also to be decided at the spring meetings: the television schedule for wild-card weekend, and which networks will air which games.
In case you missed it at Arrowhead Pride
Robinson’s contract utilized a new expansion of the old CBA’s minimum salary benefit. Now called the veteran salary benefit (VSB), it has a wrinkle that is designed specifically for players like Robinson: free agents who have been on a team’s active/inactive roster for four complete, uninterrupted and consecutive seasons. This variation of the VSB even requires such players be on the roster for all preseason games during those seasons.
Under the old CBA, a player like Robinson — who has been a reliable contributor to the team, but hasn’t put up enough numbers to be an attractive signing for another team — would often slip through the cracks of free agency and find themselves on the street. But using this VSB expansion, the Chiefs were able to sign him a one-year deal worth $2.3 million that counts just $1.05 million against the salary cap.
Essentially, this part of the new CBA gives Robinson the bonus he deserves for being a consistent, solid contributor — and the team another opportunity to capitalize on their four-year investment at a minimal cost.
A tweet to make you think
Tim Tebow— Mecole Hardman Jr. (@MecoleHardman4) March 29, 2020
Cam Newton https://t.co/T3VOF6P6X0
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