Commanders agree to terms with hybrid DB Jeremy Chinn to shore up safety position - Sport News

Commanders agree to terms with hybrid DB Jeremy Chinn to shore up safety position

When adding free agents, the Washington Commanders are in can’t stop, won’t stop mode. The 12th agreement — 11 since the legal tampering period began Monday — brings the first defensive back of the bunch in former Carolina Panthers safety Jeremy Chinn, a league source confirmed to The Athletic.

Carolina Panthers' Jeremy Chinn speaks with The Observer | Charlotte  Observer

Chinn, the 2020 Defensive Rookie of the Year runner-up to Chase Young, agreed to a one-year deal up to $5.1 million. The Athletic ranked the hybrid defender 29th on the top 150 list.

How he fits

Washington’s defensive makeover continues with a safety skilled in coverage who tackles with power. The initial wonder is where head coach Dan Quinn and defensive coordinator Joe Whitt Jr. seek to deploy the 6-foot-3, 220-pound Chinn. There’s no questioning whether he’s the type of assertive presence the staff covets while forging a new defensive identity. He will sometimes play behind or alongside another ex-Panther, linebacker Frankie Luvu.

2024 impact

Safety Kamren Curl, Washington’s top free agent this cycle, remains unsigned. Replacing him with Chinn — that appears to be the case — means an assertive defensive back with more than a couple of seasons’ experience exists on the roster.

Curl, rumored to be aiming for annual salaries north of $10 million, may not find that deal in free agency. The crowded safety market has tamped down salaries. Chinn’s terms were also affected by his diminished role with Carolina’s new defensive staff last season (eight starts). But he’s headed to Washington as the current elder statesman.

Quan Martin, a 2023 second-round pick, improved as the season rolled along, showing growth in pass coverage and at the line of scrimmage. Chinn’s usage may impact Martin’s role after primarily working in the slot. Perhaps he works more on the back end next to Darrick Forrest. Another hard-hitter, Forrest earned a starting role only to miss the final 12 games in 2023 with a shoulder injury.

Free safety Percy Butler is another young player in the secondary. The Commanders may also re-sign safety and special team ace Jeremy Reaves.

History

Chinn had over 100 tackles in his first two seasons and led the league with two defensive touchdowns as a rookie. But injuries hampered his performance the past two years, including a 2023 leg quad strain, causing Chin to miss 11 games during that stretch.

“Don’t be discouraged by the lack of numbers. Chinn can run, tackle and close in coverage. He has the range of a free safety but hits like a Will ‘backer. He injured his quad and started only eight games in 2023. The runner-up for Defensive Rookie of the Year in 2020 is a better player than the numbers show.” — Former NFL GM Randy Mueller

Cap update

The Commanders have agreed to terms with 12 external free agents. None of the deals were for exorbitant salaries, as Washington continues building up the overall roster rather than making splash signings. That has cut into the Commanders’ available cap room, but starting with roughly $80 million means they aren’t done yet.

Outlook

Chinn is another piece that provides the coaching staff with upside potential at a cost-effective price. How Quinn and Whitt assemble the players and get them working harmoniously is months away. The newbies do not include star talent but, collectively, they bring stability to a lagging roster coming off a 4-13 season and give the decision-makers room to operate for future big deals.

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