Thursday, February 27, 2014
Free-agent report: FS Kendrick Lewis
By Adam Teicher
The series on potential Kansas City Chiefs free agents continues with a look at a long-time starter in the secondary.
FS Kendrick Lewis
Four NFL seasons, four with the Chiefs. Will be 26 when next season begins.
Chiefs career: Lewis has started all but three of the 53 games in which he’s played for the Chiefs. A fifth-round pick in 2010, he joined the Chiefs at the same time as Eric Berry and when they had a need at safety. Lewis played well as a rookie, but that was the best season of his NFL career. Lewis was always average at best against the run, but his pass coverage sharply declined over the course of his career. Lewis started off last season playing well, but his game hit a wall in the middle of the season and it never recovered. A shoulder injury caused him to miss seven games in 2012, and though he had surgery at the end of that season, he never quite seemed the same player after that.
Argument for keeping Lewis: This is a difficult one. He has experience, certainly more than Sanders Commings or any rookie the Chiefs might draft to play free safety. He’s still young and could get back to what he was earlier in his career. But that also could be wishful thinking.
Argument for letting Lewis go: The Chiefs allowed one long pass play after another last season, and though Lewis wasn’t solely to blame, he had a big hand in that. His range simply doesn’t appear to be what it was earlier in his career. That was evident on the long Andrew Luck-to-T.Y. Hilton touchdown pass that beat the Chiefs in the playoffs last season. It’s impossible to believe the Chiefs wouldn’t be better off with Commings or a rookie at free safety. They would be getting a younger and probably more productive player at a lesser cost.
What should happen: This might be the easiest call for the Chiefs with regard to any of their six regulars who are free agents. Pro Football Focus recently ranked the top 10 free-agent safeties and Lewis isn’t on their list. That, among plenty of others, is a sign the Chiefs need to upgrade at free safety.