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Arrowheadlines: Could the Chiefs be interested in Fletcher Cox?

Chiefs headlines for Friday, March 18

Kansas City Chiefs v Philadelphia Eagles Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images

The latest

Fletcher Cox landing spots after release from Philadelphia Eagles | SportsNaut

Kansas City Chiefs: Instead of having to chase around Patrick Mahomes, why not join him? Chris Jones, Frank Clark and Fletcher Cox all on the same line? Nasty. The Chiefs do have a need, as Jarran Reed is a free agent.

Chiefs should call Vikings about trade for DE Danielle Hunter | Chiefs Wire

What would Hunter cost the Chiefs in 2022 and 2023?

You might have seen earlier that Hunter has a salary cap hit of $25 million in 2022, but that’s not what he’ll cost the Chiefs. In fact, if the team were to trade for him, he’d cost them just over $25 million in cap space for the next two seasons combined. The Vikings would incur an $11.4 million cap hit in the trade, leaving Kansas City to pay $14.3 million in 2022. Hunter only has an $8.3 million cap hit in 2022, but he has $2.2 million left attached to void years on his contract. That means the Chiefs would be paying $10.5 million for Hunter in 2023. It totals out to around $25.5 million spanning 2022 and 2023.

Jarran Reed visiting Bengals, per report | Cincy Jungle (Cincinnati Bengals SB Nation site)

Per NFL insider Malik Wright of The Wright Way Sports Network, free agent defensive tackle Jarran Reed is visiting the Bengals.

Reed, a seventh-year player, spent last season rushing the passer for the Kansas City Chiefs. He was a second-round pick of the Seattle Seahawks in the 2016 NFL Draft and spent his first five years with the franchise.

In 2019, Reed was suspended six games by the NFL for violating the league’s personal conduct policy. He was the subject of a domestic violence investigation back in 2017, but he wasn’t charged nor arrested.

During his most recent year with the Chiefs, Reed had 23 solo tackles and 2.5 sacks as a full-time starter. He played against the Bengals in both Week 17 and the AFC Championship, recording a sack and a combined three tackles in those contests.

The Chargers Now Have a Defense to Match Their Offense | The Ringer

Since Patrick Mahomes’s emergence as arguably the league’s best quarterback, the AFC’s pecking order has been the Chiefs and then everyone else. The rise of other young franchise quarterbacks has closed that gap; this offseason, the rest of the AFC West has crept closer to Kansas City, too. At the combine earlier this month, Telesco intimated that he understood the AFC West is a tough division, yet the difficulty rating has dramatically increased since then.

“We have a lot of work to do,” Telesco said, sizing up the AFC West in Indianapolis. “We didn’t make the playoffs last year. We thought we were a good football team but not good enough.”

5 NFL players who sold the most jerseys in 2021 | Sports Keeda

3 - Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City Chiefs

Patrick Mahomes has already won an NFL MVP award, Super Bowl ring, Super Bowl MVP award, and two AFC Championships in his young career with the Kansas City Chiefs. The organization rewarded him with the most significant contract in league history for any player of all time, including a massive ten years and 450 million dollars in guaranteed money. If a fan buys a jersey hoping to get longevity out of it, Mahomes is probably the safest investment in the entire NFL.

Super Bowl or bust? Bills go all-in with Von Miller to stay ahead of stacked AFC | ESPN

Throughout the 2021 season, the Bills lacked a consistent pass-rusher despite being the league’s No. 1 pass defense (allowing 12 passing touchdowns, five fewer than any other team). Miller had 41 pressures last season, which would have been the most on the Bills. Free agent Jerry Hughes led the Bills with 37 last season.

Against Mahomes in their last two playoff losses, the Bills contacted the quarterback on just 16.7% of dropbacks and registered three combined sacks. Miller’s 18 pressures in the postseason with the Rams limited quarterbacks to a 0.7 total QBR on those plays.

By adding the soon-to-be 33-year-old, Buffalo is aiming to take an already strong defense to the next level.

2022 NFL free agency frenzy: Three good fits and three head-scratchers | NFL.com

GOOD FITS

Charvarius Ward

CB · Age: 25

San Francisco 49ers

The contract: Three-years, $40.5 million.

Using last season’s scale of corner pay, Ward’s new deal would rank around 11th in average annual salary. Paying outside of top-10 money for a soon-to-be 26-year-old with top-end trajectory? Yeah, that’ll play — especially with the scheme fit. According to Pro Football Focus, Ward’s 49.8 completion percentage allowed in coverage since 2019 is the lowest mark in the NFL (min. 150-plus targets in coverage). PFF also shows that he’s only missed five percent of tackle attempts since 2019, another No. 1 mark among corners. As far as fit is concerned, San Francisco allowed a 68.3 opponent completion percentage in 2021 (29th) and a 97.4 opponent passer rating (25th).

Stephon Gilmore’s 3 best free agent fits | The Draft Network

KANSAS CITY CHIEFS

The Chiefs do not currently possess the cap space necessary to pursue Gilmore, but a reported extension for Tyreek Hill is near and will award general manager Brett Veach with some much-needed immediate breathing room. Veach has consistently gotten the Chiefs out of salary cap trouble in recent years, and the same outcome is expected here. Many doubted his ability to retain Mahomes, Hill, Frank Clark, and Travis Kelce long-term, but lo and behold, they all remain in Kansas City. Other franchises such as the New Orleans Saints routinely circumvent and manipulate the cap. All this to say if the Chiefs want to create room to consider signing Gilmore, Veach will almost certainly find a way.

The departure of Charvarius Ward (who signed with the San Francisco 49ers) has left Kansas City’s cornerback plans a little overly reliant on the likes of DeAndre Baker. More changes are coming to this secondary, as both Mike Hughes and Tyrann Mathieu are unrestricted free agents and both defenders are expected to sign elsewhere. The Chiefs remain strong Super Bowl contenders, but the rest of the AFC West has been extremely aggressive this offseason in hopes of closing the gap. Adding Gilmore to the fray would signal Kansas City’s intentions to remain ahead of the curve.

Around the NFL

Source: Atlanta Falcons, New Orleans Saints last teams in running for QB Deshaun Watson | ESPN

The Falcons on Thursday pushed back the $7.5 million roster bonus due to quarterback Matt Ryan from Friday to Tuesday, sources told Schefter. The move gives Atlanta four extra days to hear Watson’s decision and be able to trade Ryan if necessary.

The Saints also made multiple moves earlier Thursday to absorb Watson’s $35 million salary in a potential trade, a source told ESPN’s Field Yates, restructuring the contracts of quarterback Taysom Hill, defensive backs Bradley Roby and Malcolm Jenkins and linebacker Demario Davis to leave the team with $29.9 million in cap space

Browns’ Baker Mayfield requests trade; Cleveland has no plans to trade QB | NFL.com

Mayfield’s request comes on the heels of Cleveland’s fruitless pursuit of Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson, an effort that included the team’s brass flying to Texas to meet with Watson in an attempt to convince him to waive his no-trade clause and agree to be sent to the Browns. As the courting — which also included the Saints, Panthers and Falcons — became increasingly apparent, Mayfield could no longer stay silent amid the noise, posting an emotional letter Tuesday to Browns fans via social media in which he reminded folks of his dedication to the franchise while also thanking those who have supported him.

Now, after the Browns were eliminated from Watson’s consideration, Mayfield isn’t ready to hug it out. His trade request signals a burned bridge between the quarterback and the franchise, but he doesn’t have an exit route if the Browns don’t honor his request.

In case you missed it on Arrowhead Pride

Justin Reid learned valuable lessons from Tyrann Mathieu in Houston

The Chiefs’ new safety is intimately familiar with what the Chiefs are losing in Mathieu; the two were teammates with the Texans during Reid’s rookie season in 2018.

“Tyrann — I will never forget — his thing was the mentality and attitude,” Reid recalled. “The work ethic and playing with just a savviness. He called it ‘Championship Swagger.’ Fall forward. His pregame speeches were second to none. He was a big leader in the room. He’s someone that everyone gravitated to.”

With rosters constantly in flux, every team periodically loses influential locker room leaders. However, with Reid, the Chiefs have the rare situation where the player already has experience replacing that exact leader.

“Whenever he did leave Houston,” Reid explained, “I kind of took up a little of that role by the precedent that he had set. Tyrann is an unbelievable guy; he’s an unbelievable player. He’s a friend of mine. Whoever ends up picking him up in free agency is going to be lucky to grab a guy like that.”

Now a veteran, Reid knows that he cannot simply enter the locker room and assume Mathieu’s role.

“That’s not something that’s just given or appointed to someone,” he acknowledged. “That’s something that you earn in the locker room with the guys themselves. So that’s why it’s a big point to me: I want to shake every man’s hand in that locker room, look them in the eye, and know them by their name. In order to receive respect, you first have to give respect.

“I’m big on that. I want to earn these guys’ respect. I want to prove to them that I can be the leader. But that’s not something that’s just given to me — I have to earn that.”

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