Analysis

Chiefs Free Agency: Five Linebackers They Should Target

Which linebackers do you want to see the Chiefs target in this year's free agency?

As the free agency period inches closer and closer, many fanbases are looking at who’s out there for their respective team to sign. For the Chiefs, the defense is among their biggest concern. With the release of Anthony Hitchens, the Chiefs may look to sign a veteran linebacker to assist this offseason with the young talent they have in Nick Bolton and Willie Gay Jr. There is a solid amount of good to elite linebackers looking for a new place to call home.

Not many expect the Chiefs to sign a linebacker this free agency; they’ll probably draft one as they’ve always done. However, it’s still fun and intriguing to look at the probable linebackers they could sign. Here are five linebackers the Chiefs should target in this free agency period:

Disclaimer: there is no order for this list.

Foyesade Oluokun, Atlanta Falcons

To say Oluokun had a great statistical year would be an understatement. On a horrid Falcons’ defense, Oluokun led the NFL in tackles with 192; he also was tied third among linebackers with three interceptions, had six pass deflections, two sacks, and a forced fumble. He’s a great tackler and one of the better ones in the league; however, his coverage stats tell another story.

Aside from the interceptions, his coverage stats lacked. He allowed 51 completions on 63 targets (81% completion percentage) for 492 yards and two touchdowns per Pro Football Reference. Furthermore, he only had three games of a completion percentage of 50% or less. PFF graded Oluokun at a 45.8 this season, which his coverage grades tolling the score the most.

Overall, Oluokun is a great tackler who can be used to stop the run heavily. However, his coverage is his weakest point, despite the three interceptions. Of course, the scheme and coaching have a decent pull in the poor performance. The Chiefs will give him a look; however, it may not be a huge one unless they know they can utilize him well enough.

De’Vondre Campbell, Green Bay Packers

Gaining First-Team All-Pro honors, De’Vondre Campbell had a career year. Among the league’s linebackers, Campbell was ranked seventh in total tackles (146), tied sixth in solo tackles (111), tied fifth in interceptions (two), and tied fifth in forced fumbles (two). He also had five pass deflections and a fumble recovery. Additionally, Campbell was graded as the second-highest linebacker per PFF with an 85.8.

Campbell was great in coverage as well. He only allowed one touchdown back in Week Two, and he allowed just 94 yards in the last seven games of the season. Campbell improved through the latter half of the season and gave the Packers the boost they needed to go to the playoffs. How they performed, however, wasn’t the best site to see.

His market value is pretty reasonable, garnering $6.2 million in average annual salary per Spotrac. This is mainly due to his age (29 once the season starts) and the fact that teams need to see him play this well consistently to get a pay raise.

Kyzir White, Los Angeles Chargers

A younger linebacker free agent to look at would be Kyzir White. White had a great season, ranking eighth in total tackles (144), had two forced fumbles, a sack, two interceptions, and three pass deflections. He was solid in coverage, too, allowing 358 total yards and just two touchdowns throughout the season; the most he allowed in a game was 66 yards in Week 14 against the Giants (somehow).

Now, there isn’t a market value I could find for him; however, my guess is that he’d be around the four million dollars to $5.5 million range. If the Chiefs miss the opportunity to bring on board Campbell, the Chiefs can look to target him to join the team. Plus, having White on the team could bring valuable info on beating the Chargers twice next season.

Anthony Walker Jr., Cleveland Browns

A cheaper option the Chiefs could target would be Anthony Walker Jr. In 13 games played, Walker still put up some great stats. He was ranked 26th in total tackles this season; furthermore, outside the top-50 of tackle getters, Walker is the only one that played less than 15 games. Walker also garnered two pass deflections and a sack.

Walker was solid in coverage as well this past season. While he did allow an 82.5% completion percentage, he only allowed 40 or more yards receiving in Week One per PFR. Plus, in his last four regular-season games, he allowed only 37 total yards when the ball was thrown in his zone.

Walker’s last contract was a one-year, three million dollar deal with $1.745 million guaranteed. I feel the Chiefs offer a little lower than that if they choose to bring him on board.

Kwon Alexander, New Orleans Saints

A cheaper free agent and a plausible underrated one would be Kwon Alexander. Injuries have hindered his productions, but that doesn’t mean he still doesn’t produce. In 12 games (eight starts), he had 50 total tackles, 3.5 sacks, seven QB hits, an interception, two pass deflections, a forced fumble, and a fumble recovery. Alexander is a great pass rusher, which the Chiefs may love to utilize within Spagnuolo. He has also shown to be solid in coverage too.

His most recent contract was a one-year, $1.27 million deal with the Saints. The Chiefs could sign him on a lower deal, with a possibility of a $1.15 or $1.1 million deal. He’ll be 28 next season, so the Chiefs could extend him for a few more years if he performs exceptionally.


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