Tyrann Mathieu, Jaren Reed, Ben Niemann, Alex Okafor are all free agents this upcoming season and you could make an argument that all four need to be retained. However, there is one member of the Kansas City Chiefs defense that will be a free agent and has been a quiet foundation piece. A reliable starter, and has helped this defense go from worst, to reliable. I am not talking about Melvin Ingram, who is a whole other argument. I am talking about Charvarius Ward.
While a couple of weeks ago against the 2022 Offensive Rookie of the Year, I am sure, many fans were questioning Number 35’s role on the team. However, Jamar Chase has been embarrassing corners and defenses all year long. Also, let us give credit where it’s due, Steve Spagnolo trusted Ward to cover Chase 1-on-1 in a crucial moment of the game. Had the blitz gotten to Burrow on that Third and 27 play, those questions would not have been as loud. Also, if we did not have to see Ward hit the Griddy on Chase early in the 2nd Quarter after a pass break-up. Not mad at the dance but as Chiefs Kingdom knows, celebrations before the end of the game never end well.
Ward has had a great season so far. In 13 games this season he has been targeted 76 times, the second-highest of his career, allowing a 51% competition rate. For comparison, Jalen Ramsey, arguably considered the best corner in football was targeted 98 times (16 games) this season with a 59% completion rate. On the other hand, L’Jarius Sneed, the Chiefs CB1 who was targeted 80 times (15 games) for a 69% competition rate. Do these numbers mean that Ward is better than these two CB’s? No, but it shows he is not a liability and he is a cornerstone of our defense.
Not many teams can have two corners that can cover, make plays, and tackle. Ward alone had 67 tackles this season, while Sneed had 76 and we often look at Sneed as the better tackler. The knock-on Ward is that he does not create turnovers very often; he only has two interceptions this season and four for his career. Chiefs Kingdom has lived with a turnover machine but was a liability in tackling, or coverage in Marcus Peters, while he made the big turnover (19 Interceptions while with Kansas City); he was often caught off guard or out of position while going for those plays. Ward is not caught off guard very often, and those big plays on him are usually exceptional execution by the opposing offense.
Other than his game against the Jamar Chase and the Bengals, Charvarius has not allowed over 100 yards this season. The highest QB rating allowed was against the Las Vegas Raiders (158.3) and he was targeted 2 times for 14 yards. He has been reliable every game this season, and will only get better (age 26). Chiefs Kingdom needs to ensure that this offseason that Charvarius Ward is a priority, only behind Tyrann Mathieu if you had to rank them. I do not think we can find a better, perceptive corner in free agency. He believes in the system, does what is required and is a player we can rely on day in and day out…. If Spags can only give him some help when he is covering the 2022 Offensive Rookie of the Year.
Jake White. @jakewhite58
Chiefs Focus @ChiefsFocus