Chiefs Picked as Logical Landing Spot for Two Remaining Free Agents

With some room to insulate the roster, one outlet thinks the reigning champs make sense for two defensive players left on the market.
Oct 5, 2023; Landover, Maryland, USA; Chicago Bears defensive end Yannick Ngakoue (91) reacts after the game against the Washington Commanders at FedExField. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 5, 2023; Landover, Maryland, USA; Chicago Bears defensive end Yannick Ngakoue (91) reacts after the game against the Washington Commanders at FedExField. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports / Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports
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Since winning Super Bowl LVIII, the Kansas City Chiefs have had a busy offseason filled with celebrations, re-signings and even some external acquisitions. Could there be more room for the latter?

One outlet certainly believes so.

In a recent article for Bleacher Report, Alex Ballentine ranked the 10 best remaining free agents under the age of 30. Two of them — pass rusher Yannick Ngakoue and cornerback Ahkello Witherspoon — were tabbed with "logical landing spots" being Kansas City.

Does either player actually make sense for Andy Reid's team, though? Let's decide.

Should the Chiefs bolster their defensive line with Yannick Ngakoue?

"Ngakoue has been a productive pass-rusher throughout his career but a non-factor in the run game," Ballentine wrote. "At 6'2", 246 pounds, he doesn't set a firm edge, and he's only had more than 30 tackles in a season once. Still, the ability to rush the passer is always in demand, and he can do it at a reasonably high level. He had only four sacks while playing 72 percent of the Chicago Bears' defensive snaps this season, but he had a pressure rate of 11.0 percent, which topped his 10.6 percent rate with the Colts in 2022."

Ngakoue is an interesting fit with the Chiefs. Defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo typically prefers longer, heavier players who can step up in run support for his base defense. If a defensive end can't set a strong edge and hold contain against the run, he oftentimes doesn't see the field. With that said, Kansas City has occasionally strayed from that prototype to invest in players like Melvin Ingram or 2023 first-round pick Felix Anudike-Uzomah.

The fact of the matter is the defensive end rotation already has some cooks in the kitchen. George Karlaftis, Mike Danna and Anudike-Uzomah make up a formidable trio and Charles Omenihu will return in-season from his torn ACL. Would Ngakoue beat out someone like Malik Herring, BJ Thompson or Truman Jones? Perhaps, although it'd likely be via a late-season signing for a playoff push. This is a situation the Chiefs can probably afford to ignore for now.

Could Ahkello Witherspoon help Kansas City post-L'Jarius Sneed?

"Witherspoon has the height and length that so many teams around the league covet at 6'2", 195 pounds," Ballentine wrote. "After putting together one of the best years of his career, he should find a home at some point before the season starts. He would at least be a good veteran fallback plan for any team relying on younger players to step up like the Rams were last season. Witherspoon spoke highly of serving as a mentor for young cornerback Derion Kendrick. His willingness to mentor and still play at a high level could make him a valuable addition."

This signing would make more sense. Without Sneed in the picture, 23-year-old Trent McDuffie is the unquestioned leader of the cornerback room in Kansas City. Bringing in Witherspoon, a 29-year-old with experience playing for three different teams, wouldn't hurt. He's coming off a very solid year with the Los Angeles Rams, which saw him start all 17 games and set or match career-high marks in tackles (52), passes broken up (14) and interceptions (3).

Witherspoon won't cost his next team much and serves as a leader, respectable coverage option and sound run defender. While Joshua Williams and Jaylen Watson are fine candidates to factor into the No. 2 and 3 spots on the cornerback depth chart, there's a world in which one or both can't handle an increased role. Investing in an insurance policy could be on the table.

Signing Witherspoon is a more practical idea than Ngakoue right now, and that likely applies to the future as well.

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Jordan Foote

JORDAN FOOTE

Jordan Foote is the deputy editor of Arrowhead Report on SI.com, covering the Kansas City Chiefs. He also hosts the One Royal Way podcast on Kansas City Sports Network. Jordan is a Baker University alumnus, earning his degree in Mass Media. Follow him on X @footenoted.