The Chiefs got an early jump on the offseason by agreeing to trade franchise quarterback Alex Smith to the Redskins before the 2017-18 season even had a chance to wrap up with Super Bowl LII. On Friday, the Chiefs were back at it again, continuing their roster revamp by signing a free agent who improves their secondary before free agency really even begins.
On Friday night, the Chiefs signed cornerback David Amerson, who most recently resided on the roster of their AFC West rivals, the Oakland Raiders. According to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport, it's a one-year deal worth up to $6 million. ESPN's Adam Scefter reported that Amerson's base salary is set at $2.25 million.
Emerson is a former second-round pick of the Redskins who spent a little more than two seasons in Washington before the team cut him in September 2015. He landed in Oakland, where he rejuvenated his career. In June 2016, he signed a four-year, $38 million extension with nearly $18 million in guaranteed money. He didn't make it the full four years. Earlier this month, the Raiders cut him to save $6 million in cap space. Let the official record show that Amerson has now been cut by both Grudens (Jay in Washington and Jon in Oakland).
In his career, Amerson has appeared in 68 games, notched eight interceptions, knocked away 64 passes, and made 218 solo tackles. His 2017 season was cut short by a foot injury. When he was available to play in six games, he struggled mightily. According to Pro Football Focus, he allowed a 156.3 passer rating when targeted in coverage, which is both astoundingly awful and nearly perfect in terms of passer rating (158.3). He wasn't much better in 2016, when his passer rating in coverage was 101.1. So, Amerson isn't coming off the best two seasons in Oakland.
But at 26, Amerson still has potential, which was on display with the Raiders in 2015 when he allowed a 62.7 passer rating in coverage and snagged four interceptions. In Kansas City, he won't be the team's No. 1 cornerback -- that job belongs to Marcus Peters -- but he'll likely line up on the outside as their No. 2 cornerback while Kendall Fuller, who will arrive in Kansas City when the Smith deal is finally finalized, handles the slot. And don't forget the return of safety Eric Berry, who lost his 2017 season to a ruptured Achilles in Week 1 and should be good to go for the beginning of the 2018 season.
The Chiefs' secondary will look completely different than it did a year ago, which is good news for Kansas City. Four members the Chiefs secondary -- cornerbacks Phillip Gaines, Kenneth Acker, Terrance Mitchell, and safety Steven Terrell -- are scheduled to become free agents this offseason. They already cut veteran cornerback Darrelle Revis earlier this month.
For all of the attention new quarterback Patrick Mahomes will receive, fixing the defense has to be the Chiefs' top priority. In 2017, they allowed the fifth-most yards in football and ranked 15th in scoring defense.