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Report: Chiefs Sign Veteran DT, Bolster Interior Defensive Line Rotation

KC adds a run-stuffer to their defensive line ahead of their first preseason game.

The Kansas City Chiefs have needed some additional help along the interior of their defensive line this summer, and the team has finally found its match. Per Adam Schefter of ESPN, Kansas City is signing defensive tackle Danny Shelton to a one-year deal. 

Chiefs and veteran free-agent defensive tackle Danny Shelton have agreed to terms on a one-year contract, per his agents @DrewJRosenhaus and @RyanMatha. Shelton was most recently with the Giants.

- Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter on Tuesday, August 9 2022 at 2:59 p.m.

Shelton, who turns 29 on August 20, has spent his NFL career with the Cleveland Browns, New England Patriots, Detroit Lions and New York Giants. He boasts career totals of 100 games played, 278 tackles (17 for loss), 19 quarterback hits, six sacks and two passes broken up. The former Washington Huskies standout is set to enter his eighth season in the league and will now join his fifth team overall.

Last season, as a member of the Giants, Shelton appeared in 13 games and played a career-low 29% of the team's snaps. Conversely, he spent the most time he ever has on the special teams unit (35%). Shelton amassed 31 tackles (one for loss) and half a sack in those contests, which were his lowest totals since 2017. By many accounts, it was an underwhelming season from a player who normally performs at a solid level.

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In a 2022 free agency primer published in February of this year, here's what Stephen Lebitsch of Giants Country had to say about whether the team should have kept its run-stuffing defensive lineman:

Shelton was not a good fit with what the Giants ran on defense last year, and we sincerely question if he'd be a better fit for what Don Martindale has been known to run in the past. With cap dollars at a premium, we suspect the Giants will try to pick up a nose guard in the draft and move on from the disappointing Shelton. 

What does the Danny Shelton signing mean for the Chiefs?

By adding Shelton into the mix, not a lot changes for Kansas City as far as its interior defensive line starters are concerned. Pro Bowler Chris Jones is a lock at defensive tackle (or three-technique), and Derrick Nnadi was brought back on a one-year deal to serve as the starting, run-stuffing nose tackle the club has grown to love over the years. Behind them and rotational pass-rusher Tershawn Wharton, however, not a ton is known.

Taylor Stallworth was brought in during the offseason to serve as competition, although his roster spot was never a guarantee and a knee injury has limited his ability to remain on the field and make an impact in training camp. Austin Edwards and Khalen Saunders are the other names to consider here (Edwards is a bit of a hybrid player). Word has been near-silent on both of them throughout camp thus far, though. Saunders may have the inside edge there and is entering a contract year, but his lack of signature breakout moments could leave both him and Edwards as the odd men out once roster cuts come around.

The Chiefs' first preseason game of the year — Saturday afternoon against the Chicago Bears — will help sort out some of their roster crunch problems, and that situation now applies to the interior defensive line as well. Zack Eisen of Arrowhead Report predicts that Kansas City's final rotation will be Jones, Nnadi, Wharton and the newly-signed Shelton. Time will tell if that turns out to be the case.