How can the Kansas City Chiefs replace cornerback Kendall Fuller?

  • 2020 NFL Free Agency
  • Kansas City Chiefs
  • Kendall fuller
By Keeganbergsieker March 18, 2020 0 Comment
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Kansas City Chiefs cornerback Kendall Fuller signed with his former team, the Washington Redskins. How can the Chiefs replace him in 2020?

Cornerback Kendall Fuller came over from the Washington Redskins in the Alex Smith trade in 2018. Fuller will now head back to Washington after spending two seasons with the Kansas City Chiefs. Due to injuries, Fuller has missed seven games in Kansas City. The Chiefs probably would’ve gotten Fuller cheaper because he missed playing time and hadn’t 100% proven himself. Fuller finished his two years with Kansas City with 49 tackles, one sack, and one pass deflection. Fuller had one interception in 2019 that came in the biggest game of his career. He intercepted San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo to seal the victory in the Super Bowl.

Given the contract Fuller signed with Washington worth $40 million, it’s clear that the Chiefs were not going to pay that kind of money. Fuller played well in Kansas City, but he never lived up to his breakout season during his final year with the Redskins in 2017. The hope for the veteran cornerback was that he would improve under new defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo. However, Fuller was dealing with injuries that forced him to miss several games. Towards the final stretch, he saw an increasing role filling in at safety.

Spagnuolo and the Chiefs would benefit from having Fuller back in 2020, but not for that price tag. While versatility is vital in the new defense under Spagnuolo, they can find another cornerback to play his role. The contracts coming up, including Chris Jones and Patrick Mahomes, make it impossible to shell out money for his services.

What this means for Kansas City

Kansas City is losing several cornerbacks this offseason. Fuller wanted a payday with money the Chiefs didn’t have. Kansas City will need to go after other cornerbacks in free agency to fill that void on defense. When Kansas City’s rookie safety Juan Thornhill went down with an ACL tear, Fuller had to step up, and he did. Fuller’s versatility in the playoffs was a big reason for the Chiefs title. Kansas City will miss having that versatility on the back end.

Fuller is not the only cornerback for Kansas City that’s hitting the open market. Bashaud Breeland, Morris Claiborne, and Keith Reaser are gone as well. That leaves Rashad Fenton and Charvarius Ward as the only cornerbacks currently on the roster. Ward was a UDFA that the Chiefs traded for during the preseason in 2018 from the Dallas Cowboys. Fenton was a sixth-round pick in 2019.

Both Ward and Fenton stepped up in 2019, but the Chiefs could still use an upgrade. They could use some depth as well. With the big names in free agency already taken and limited spending money, we could be looking at another one-year prove-it deal. Denver Broncos former star cornerback Chris Harris Jr. is another option. Tyrann Mathieu has been recruiting Harris to come to Kansas City.

Unlike year’s past, general manager Brett Veach will not be able to push off the cornerback position. He will need to address the need earlier in the 2020 NFL Draft. In both of the draft classes by Veach, he has waited until the sixth-round to grab a corner. In a loaded cornerback class in 2020, Veach needs to find a cornerback that can develop into a true number one cornerback. Something the team has been hurting for since trading away Marcus Peters.

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