Once it became clear that defensive tackle Jarran Reed would mutually part ways with the Seattle Seahawks after five seasons with the club, one of the first people he reached out to was an old friend: current Kansas City Chiefs defensive end Frank Clark.
Clark and Reed played together in Seattle for three seasons beginning in 2016, when Reed was a rookie. Their partnership ended when the Chiefs traded for Clark during the 2019 offseason, and Clark has spent the last two seasons in Kansas City.
“I was like, ‘I there any room for me there?’” recalled Reed, as he spoke to the local Kansas City media in his opening Zoom press conference. “I was just trying to be a good addition to a great team.”
Clark quickly provided encouragement, per Reed.
“It was like, ‘Yeah, you need to come on,’” he laughed. “It happened to get the ball rolling. We let everything play itself out, and the Chiefs were really interested, and I was really interested. It all worked out for the better. We’re here, and we’re ready to unleash.”
We have officially signed DT Jarran Reed! pic.twitter.com/KuDSWbUyt9— Kansas City Chiefs (@Chiefs) March 31, 2021
The 28-year-old Reed signed a one-year deal with the Chiefs worth up to $7 million, including $5 million guaranteed on Sunday. The Chiefs were happy to add a force to the middle of their line while reuniting a potential dynamic duo. The last year Clark and Reed played together with the Seahawks in 2018, they combined for 23.5 sacks and 79 pressures.
Add a reigning second-team All-Pro defensive tackle in Chris Jones to the mix, and suddenly the Chiefs have to feel confident about their defensive line going into 2021.
“Those guys put a staple in this league, and I’ll put a staple on this team as well,” said Reed. “I’m just coming in, joining those guys, doing what I can. I’m going to do my best, be the best me I can be, follow those guys’ team. They're leading this team. The goal is to come in and wreak havoc and just play some good football — some good, old school football.”
One of the key aspects of bringing Reed aboard is the idea that opposing offensive lines will have to be creative with how to block a Chiefs’ front that includes the likes of Clark, Jones and Reed, as well as other tackles such as Derrick Nnadi and Turk Wharton, with defensive ends Taco Charlton and Mike Danna rotating in.
With eight picks, the Chiefs can continue to build in the NFL Draft, where they are likely to add in another edge player at some point. But the bottom line is this: opposing offenses won’t be able to double-team everybody.
“Playing inside, you get a lot attention, and I experienced that in my time in Seattle,” noted Reed when asked about Jones. “I’m here to relieve some of those double teams. I’m pretty sure we want to relieve some of them from each other. I think that’s going to be a good thing for us because you got to figure out some way to block everybody. And it’s going to be a great thing — get some pressure off of him, get some pressure off of myself so we can help each other make plays.”
Besides his friendship and familiarity with Clark, Reed especially liked the fit of Kansas City. When Seattle did not want to commit to Reed long-term, he thought his best option was to seek a one-year deal as the league’s salary cap recovers.
He declared that joining the Chiefs for 2021 was not about the money.
“I wanted to be on a contending team and a chance to win a championship and a chance to go play in the Super Bowl,” he said. “Just the family vibes that’s around the building, the team that they have, the way that they work is great. It attracts players — it attracted me as well. I just want to be somewhere that was going to have a chance to play for a championship, have a chance to play for a Super Bowl ring because we all play football to provide for out families, but at the same time, the game is to get a ring. Not just to keep playing for regular seasons. It’s to keep playing after the regular season is done — and that’s been done here for a number of years, and hopefully, we can do it again.”
If he wanted playoff football, he chose the right place, as the Chiefs have made the postseason all but one year during head coach Andy Reid’s tenure (2014) and the last six seasons in a row. They have been to three straight AFC title games and two straight Super Bowls.
Reed knew what he was doing when he signed in Kansas City, and all he wants — as he mentioned a couple of times throughout the presser — is to be a part of it.
“You got to think about it,” he said. “[The Chiefs] already have a great group of rushers. If you can add in anybody that can help, any way I can help, that’s just bringing in what has to be done. [That] was basically the conversation. That’s my guy, so we talk all the time. We always joked about it, but it actually really happened in reality. So now we’re here — ready to go, ready to show Chiefs nation what I got, what we can do together as a unit.”