Nick Allegretti

LB Drue Tranquill To Join Chiefs

Drue Tranquill posted a career year in 2022, leading the Chargers’ linebacking corps while contributing heavily to the team’s largely Joey Bosa-less pass rush. But a strong market does not appear to have formed for the productive defender.

The Chiefs are picking up the fifth-year veteran on a one-year deal, Jordan Schultz of The Score tweets. One of many intriguing off-ball linebackers to hit free agency this year, Tranquill will stay in the AFC West and join a Chiefs team that returns both its top linebackers. Tranquill’s deal is worth up to $5MM, Schultz adds (on Twitter).

Nick Bolton and Willie Gay remain on their respective rookie contracts, but Tranquill will join the defending Super Bowl champions and bolster their already-strong defensive second level. Tranquill did not match Bolton in tackles last season, with the emerging star posting a stunning 180 stops, but Bolton’s new teammate shined during his contract year. Tranquill racked up 146 tackles and five sacks while adding four pass deflections, an interception and a forced fumble.

A part-time player in the past, Tranquill wore the green communication dot for the Bolts last season and started 16 games. The former fourth-round pick out of Notre Dame has bounced back from a season-ending broken ankle sustained in the Bolts’ 2020 opener, but unlike a few other ILBs, he could not cash in this offseason.

Tremaine Edmunds‘ $18MM-per-year deal lapped the linebacker field, as expected, but the Giants gave Bobby Okereke a four-year, $40MM pact. Germaine Pratt scored $6.75MM per year to stay with the Bengals, while Alex Anzalone, Alex Singleton and Cole Holcomb reached $6MM-per-year agreements. Eric Kendricks, David Long, T.J. Edwards and Kyzir White landed in that neighborhood as well. Tranquill may not have as many three-down opportunities as he did in Los Angeles, so this stands to be an interesting audition season. It will also be interesting to see if he pushes Gay for playing time; both will be in contract years in 2023.

Kansas City also made the move to re-sign guard Nick Allegretti on Friday. Kansas City has used the former seventh-round pick mostly as a backup in recent years. Allegretti did start Super Bowl LV for an offensive line missing both tackles and having seen guard starter Laurent Duvernay-Tardif opt out before the season, but he has started just three games since. He will opt to stick around as a swingman up front.

Chiefs Sign Second-Round WR Mecole Hardman

After signing 17 undrafted free agents earlier today, the Chiefs have also inked the majority of their draft class to contracts. The team announced that they have signed four of their six draft picks:

The Chiefs didn’t have a first-rounder, so Hardman was ultimately their first selection. The Georgia product was productive during his junior season, hauling in 35 receptions for 543 yards and second touchdowns. He also contributed on special teams, where he returned 30 combined kicks and punts. Considering the uncertainty of Tyreek Hill, Hardman has an opportunity to emerge as one of Patrick Mahomes‘ preferred targets. Sammy Watkins and Demarcus Robinson are currently atop the Chiefs’ depth chart at receiver.

Thompson is another intriguing prospect who could have an opportunity to contribute right away. The Chiefs are currently rostering a three running backs in Damien WilliamsCarlos Hyde and Darrel Williams, meaning the rookie should have a chance to make the roster as a third back.

Following these signings, the Chiefs are left with a pair of unsigned draft picks: second-round safety Juan Thornhill (Virginia) and third-round defensive tackle Khalen Saunders (Western Illinois).