Juan Thornhill departed for Cleveland earlier this week, but Kansas City will add another former Super Bowl contributor in his place. Mike Edwards will join the defending champions’ secondary, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets.
Edwards played out his rookie contract with the Buccaneers this past season, starting 12 games. The Chiefs have added both he and Drue Tranquill as defensive role players Friday. Like Tranquill, the Chiefs will pick up Edwards at a low rate. The fifth-year safety will sign a one-year deal worth $3MM, Rapoport tweets, adding the contract can max out at $5MM.
Among a glut of Bucs second-day secondary draftees in recent years, Edwards has both worked as a starter and a regular off-the-bench contributor in Tampa. Joining the likes of Carlton Davis, Jamel Dean, Sean Murphy-Bunting and Antoine Winfield Jr. as second- or third-round DBs to come through Tampa since 2018, Edwards — a 2019 third-rounder out of Kentucky — played often for the Bucs during their Tom Brady-era surge.
Edwards has three pick-sixes over the past two seasons, notching two of them in one game. Those end zone dashes helped the Bucs run away from the Falcons in a September 2021 matchup. Edwards, who is entering his age-27 season, tallied a career-high 82 tackles last season and totaled eight INTs over the past three years. While Pro Football Focus rated Edwards as a top-10 safety during his 2020 season as a rotational cog alongside Winfield and Jordan Whitehead, the advanced metrics site slotted him as a bottom-10 player at the position in 2022.
Thornhill had started four seasons with the Chiefs, but the Browns gave the former second-round pick a three-year, $21MM deal. Kansas City back-line starters for three seasons, Thornhill and Tyrann Mathieu have now departed. The Chiefs got by with 2022 pickup Justin Reid, however, and will likely increase second-round pick Bryan Cook‘s responsibilities next season. Cook played 32% of Kansas City’s defensive snaps as a rookie. He will likely be the favorite to start alongside Reid, but Edwards should supply some insurance and a quality backup if that scenario comes to pass.
At $10.5MM per year, Reid is the Chiefs’ highest-paid defensive back. Regularly passing on high- or even mid-tier cornerback payments, the Chiefs are also saving money in their secondary via the Cook pick and this Edwards accord.