Exploring the Kansas City Chiefs’ range of options for pass rushing assist

What exactly are the choices ahead of Kansas City Chiefs general manager Brett Veach for more rushing help?

With training camp in sight for the Kansas City Chiefs, the 90-man roster looks broadly settled across most position groups. Throughout the spring and summer, the Chiefs submitted trades ranging from seismic changes to slight tweaks here, there and everywhere in order to find a competitive and talented group at each position to take to camp. Yet the only glaring need – one that’s been discussed time and time again, even here – is at the defensive end.

Right now, the Chiefs seem to be playing with fire when it comes to the collection of players ready to go up against the edge rusher. There are questions of preparation and impact, of inconsistency and depth. What was already a sore point last season has remained largely untouched, save for George Karlaftis’ first-round investment, and it seems hard to believe the Chiefs will stick with it until the start of the season.

At this point, Frank Clark is a likely starter for one side despite concerns over his ability to provide a reliable assist for a 17-game season. On the other side is Karlaftis, who will be asked for productive reps earlier than others in his draft class. Behind them are younger players who could grow into something more, but given the rigors and realities of the NFL schedule, it’s hard to believe general manager Brett Veach is relying on optimistic game-winning takes to so many players.

So what should leaders do? Various possibilities were discussed, but let’s outline the range of options the Chiefs’ front office must consider as they prepare to travel to St. Joseph for camp at the end of the month.

Major trade for a beginner

The name you hear mentioned the most in a deal with the Chiefs is Robert Quinn of the Chicago Bears and there are very good reasons for that. However, a deal isn’t as easy as fans want it to be; it all depends on the competition and the front office’s confidence in Quinn’s future.

Quinn finished second in the NFL last season with 18.5 sacks, which sounds sexy for a team whose leader (Chris Jones at 21) had less than half that a year ago. Detractors want to point out that many of these bags were opportunistic and other measures deflate the stock a bit, but what remains true is that even in his late thirties, Quinn is a solid finisher on the edge – that the Chiefs could use for the next year.

Other reasons to like a deal for Quinn from the Chiefs include a rather loose contract that would fit into the team’s financial situation quite easily, not to mention the possibility of keeping Quinn in the option years not guaranteed through 2024. Think of the future there with Quinn and Karlaftis on the roster for the upcoming offseason. This could prevent the chiefs from forcing anything into the open market. The final piece of the puzzle is that Ryan Poles, the Bears general manager, is a product of KC and the relationship lines should keep communication strong here.

The Chiefs, however, aren’t the only team looking for rushing help even at this point in the offseason, and the Poles have played their part for good reason. He’s sitting on a solid asset and isn’t going to give the Chiefs an “old friends” cut anytime soon. Does Veach want to pay a day 2 pick (or even two) to get Quinn? And what if this is the year Quinn hits the wall? It would be a tough pill to swallow if Quinn didn’t have much left and the Chiefs were only paying for several years of cost-controlled talent to have him.

A minor note here should also include that Quinn is not the only “major” trade to potentially be made here. The mid-season trade deadline will turn several more teams into sellers than is available at the moment. Right now, however, Quinn is on the edge of what could be called a major acquisition. If the Chiefs wanted to deal with some additional inside help, we’ve also discussed Daron Payne around those parts in the past.