Chiefs Pushed to ‘Complete the Three-Peat’ With 2-Time All-Pro Signing

The Kansas City Chiefs have built a roster that is capable of another championship run in 2024, but there is one area that could be improved upon.

After trading star cornerback L’Jarius Sneed this spring, the Chiefs have elected to promote from within. And although the KC secondary is both young and deep, it’s unclear if former role players like Joshua Williams and Jaylen Watson will truly be able to fill the shoes of Sneed alongside Trent McDuffie when all is said and done.

Instead, 33rd Team NFL analyst Marcus Mosher urged the Chiefs to make one final veteran addition — two-time All-Pro Stephon Gilmore. Referring to Kansas City as the “best possible fit” for the 33-year-old free agent.

“Gilmore was rock solid for the Dallas Cowboys last season, starting all 17 games,” Mosher reasoned. “While he isn’t the same athlete he was coming out of South Carolina, he is still an incredibly savvy player who can play on the outside and in the slot.”

Chiefs pushed to sign Stephon Gilmore to complete three-peat bid.

Later, he added that “teams needing a one-year rental at cornerback should be thrilled to sign Gilmore.” Noting that the “loss of L’Jarius Snead looms large” for KC.

“The Chiefs hope Jaylen Watson or Joshua Williams can step up in his absence, [but] Gilmore would provide a baseline of production for a team leaning more on its defense to win games,” Mosher went on.

Arguing: “Gilmore’s addition could be huge for a team like the Chiefs, which is searching for one more starting-caliber cornerback.” The writer eventually concluded that signing Gilmore should be a “no-brainer” for Kansas City as they attempt to “complete the three-peat.”

The Chiefs should also have enough cap space to bring in the veteran with over $17.2 million available on May 28 — plus the ability to free up more if need be.

Stephon Gilmore’s 2023 Analytics vs. Chiefs CBs
Within his suggestion, Mosher acknowledged that there has been a “slight decline” in Gilmore’s game before adding that his regression is “still well above average for a starting cornerback.” Diving into the analytics, he’s not wrong.

Pro Football Focus recorded the following coverage statistics for Gilmore in 2023:

Grade: 69.3.
Reception percentage allowed: 56.8%.
Yards per reception allowed: 13.6.
Yards after catch allowed: 221.
Touchdowns allowed: 5.
Interceptions: 2.
Pass breakups: 9.

Forced incompletion percentage: 15%.
Coverage snaps per reception: 10.6.
Penalties: 6.
Passer rating against: 90.4.
When comparing those analytics to different members of the Chiefs secondary, only Sneed and Williams consistently bested Gilmore.

McDuffie — for all his accolades — often ranked similarly or just below Gilmore last year, while Watson and emerging defensive back Chamarri Conner’s performances fluctuated a lot depending on the category. For example, Watson excelled in reception percentage allowed and yards per reception but struggled in the red zone surrendering touchdowns. Overall, his passer rating against was lower too.

Conner played less snaps and allowed a higher reception percentage, but also held those catches to a very low yardage total and average.

Chiefs CB Joshua Williams May Have Earned Opportunity to Start Full-Time in 2023
Williams put together the most underrated performance of 2023, considering Sneed and McDuffie received most of the fanfare.

The former fourth-round selection maintained a snaps per reception average of 25.2, which ranked first in the NFL according to PFF (minimum 20% of snaps played). That means on average, Williams only allowed one catch for every 25.2 snaps that he was on the field.

He also only allowed 41.4% of targets to be caught — which once again ranked first in the NFL — with a forced incompletion percentage (28%) that ranked second behind Isaac Yiadom.

Perhaps most impressive of all was the fact that Williams only surrendered 27 yards after the catch last season.

Now, it is fair to mention that Williams played significantly less snaps than someone like Gilmore or Sneed. He logged 310 coverage snaps in 2023, while Gilmore put in 622 coverage snaps with Dallas and Sneed registered 781 in KC.

Having said that, if the Chiefs pass on an established veteran like Gilmore, it’ll likely be because of how much faith the coaching staff has in a youngster like Williams. The 2022 pick has already helped Kansas City win two Super Bowl titles since entering the league. Why not a third?

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