One of the most glaring needs heading into this offseason for the K.C. Chiefs was defensive end help. Their ends didn’t produce much pressure in 2020 and the pass-rush was pretty disappointing overall.
While the Chiefs went ahead and made improvements to the defensive line by adding former Seattle Seahawks defensive tackle Jarran Reed and the decision to try Chris Jones out at defensive end, they still need to add a proven veteran to give them an outside threat without having to take Chris Jones away from the inside where he is most disruptive.
On top of all that, Frank Clark is likely facing a suspension due to his illegal firearm arrest in California earlier this week and the position group was already looking thin even with him. Assuming Clark is suspended for a stretch of time, the Chiefs need to look somewhere else for help.
A rotation of Jones, Mike Danna, Taco Charlton, and Joshua Kaindoh just hasn’t shown enough to make anyone feel comfortable at defensive end.
The KC Chiefs should sign a veteran defensive end
So, why don’t we circle back to the possibility of adding a veteran free agent?
Two names that immediately come to mind are Justin Houston and Melvin Ingram.
Let’s start with Melvin Ingram. Ingram and the Chiefs have already shown mutual interest this offseason as the Chiefs brought him in for a free agent visit back in March. While the visit concluded without a deal, it was thought that there would still be open dialogue between the two parties and that the visit went well but Ingram remains unsigned.
Ingram would still make a lot of sense for the Chiefs, though. He may not be what he once was and he did struggle with injuries in 2020, but he still offers a veteran presence and someone that did have a higher pass-rush grade than anyone on the Chiefs roster last year (72.3 according to PFF). Ingram is at least someone that can be a fastball to throw at offenses and personally, I’m pounding the table for Ingram at this point. If you can get him for the right price, he could really help to generate more pressure on this Chiefs defensive line.
As for Justin Houston, Chiefs fans would love to see a happy ending where Houston comes back to Kansas City and wins a ring. There’s not just sentimental reason for the move either. Houston would actually make on the field sense. He has had identical production to Frank Clark the past two seasons in Indianapolis, who also runs a 4-3 scheme, and could essentially fill in for Clark if needed. Then, when Clark is to return, you could have a lineup of Houston-Reed-Jones-Clark. That’s pretty deadly.
Both Houston and Ingram make sense for the Chiefs if they wish to supplement the loss of Frank Clark. They also could just help in general. It all comes down to how much money they want.
One thing is for sure, though. Signing a veteran defensive end seems more likely than ever now for the Kansas City Chiefs.