As the NFL free agency signing period quiets down to the typical preseason ebb and flow of years past instead of the absolute circus of the first week, some players are still available for teams looking for amazingly cheap products left on shelves after some paid top dollar. Zeroing in on some of the defensive leftovers, Pro Football Focus has Matt Roth as one of the top linebackers left and targets the Kansas City Chiefs as the primary landing spot.
The reason is that the Chiefs still have yet to solidify the opposite side from Tamba Hali. Andy Studebaker is a capable fill-in and spot starter and could possibly be the answer — but that’s not a certainty by any means. Justin Houston just signed and will be a project in his first year at the NFL level given his lack of conditioning early on. He also needs to learn the Crennel defense.
PFF’s Khaled Elsayed describes the lack of action on Roth as surprising, but that could play right into Scott Pioli’s hands. “It really has been a surprise to see such a small market for Roth. He’s excelled when given a chance over the past three years, and has a proven ability to get to the pass rusher. He’s pretty handy playing the run as well.”
As Elsayed describes the Chiefs as the ideal spot, he says, “They can’t rely on Justin Houston or Andy Studebaker, and they haven’t made enough moves to keep ahead of the rest of the AFC West. They need to get better.”
If Roth is unhappy with his choices, he could sign a one-year deal to re-enter the market next year, something that might be good for both the Chiefs and Roth. He could sign and establish his value in a year where there won’t be nearly as much market oversaturation and the Chiefs have a year to develop Houston and take a closer look at Studebaker. As a bonus, Roth is also versatile enough to spell at defensive end if necessary.