Chiefs Departure Named ‘Best Bargain Signing’ of Free Agency - Sport News

Chiefs Departure Named ‘Best Bargain Signing’ of Free Agency

The Kansas City Chiefs have done a great job of managing their free agent departures in 2024. After all, if you asked a KC fan how they would have felt about Chris Jones and L’Jarius Sneed both being under contract on March 22, some might not have believed it was possible.

Chiefs Free Agency: Willie Gay Jr. to join Saints on one-year contract -  Arrowhead Pride

Having said that, a championship roster will always take some losses and one Chiefs exit was highlighted as the “best bargain signing” of free agency thus far. ESPN staff writer Matt Bowen made the call on March 22, selecting Willie Gay Jr. to the New Orleans Saints as his choice for best bargain addition in 2024.

“Saints signing LB Willie Gay to a one-year, $3 million deal (with a max value of $5 million),” Bowen answered during the ESPN discussion. “This is a value move for the Saints, adding a 26-year-old second-level defender with pursuit speed and the ability to match defenders in space.”

He added that “in Dennis Allen’s system, Gay will be put in a position to produce as an off-ball linebacker with sub-package versatility.”

Ex-Chiefs LB Willie Gay Should Get Opportunity to Play More Snaps With Saints

Bowen is right to choose Gay here. Outside of some injury history, the former second-round talent could end up being a steal at just $3-to-$5 million.

Although Gay technically started 15 games for the Chiefs in 2023, he was typically only on the field for less than 40 defensive snaps. According to Pro Football Focus, the two-time Super Bowl champion only played 40 or more snaps in six outings last year.

During the playoffs, Gay only registered snap counts of 23 (vs. Miami Dolphins), 11 (at Buffalo Bills) and 39 (Super Bowl).

The reality is that Kansas City chose to retain veteran Drue Tranquill over Gay. That decision took a lot of factors into consideration, surely, and Tranquill’s versatility and availability stand out as potential reasons for letting Gay walk.

This could be a rare win-win departure though. In all honesty, Gay will probably get a greater chunk of the snap count alongside Pete Werner and an aging Demario Davis in New Orleans rather than some combination of Nick Bolton, Tranquill and Leo Chenal.

The Chiefs are especially deep at the linebacker position as well, and a couple of younger prospects like Cam Jones and Jack Cochrane might be given more of a chance to develop with Gay out of the picture. Ipso facto, this mutual parting of ways always made a lot of sense for both parties.

Ex-NFL GM Credits Chiefs With ‘Best Bargain Signing’

During the same ESPN article, ex-NFL general manager Mike Tannenbaum chose wide receiver Marquise “Hollywood” Brown as his top “bargain” signing.

“Chiefs signing WR Marquise Brown to a one-year deal worth up to $11 million,” Tannenbaum replied for this section.

“He is 26 and has 28 career touchdowns, bringing an explosive element to the Chiefs’ offense that they were hoping to get with Marquez Valdes-Scantling,” he reasoned. “With TE Travis Kelce and WR Rashee Rice doing a lot of the underneath work, Brown should thrive as the deep threat in this offense.”

As Tannenbaum stated, Brown feels like the perfect upgrade on “MVS” — who didn’t really produce enough in KC despite the team success while he was here. Early on in the offseason, this move has received high praise all around.

One ESPN colleague even called Brown to Kansas City the “best overall” addition in free agency, and perhaps this is the signing that finally kickstarts this Chiefs offense once again after a down season in 2023.

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