The Chiefs have quietly assembled one of the best defensive lines in football, and a large part of that comes as a result of the collective ascents of Jaye Howard and Allen Bailey in flanking Pro Bowl nose tackle Dontari Poe.
Part of Kansas City’s third-year triumvirate could be lost for a substantial period of time, however, after NFL insider Rand Getlin tweeted the team is concerned Bailey could be out for the season due to the shoulder injury he sustained. He left Sunday’s win against the Raiders but has been in the Chiefs’ lineup for the rest of their games this season, which is his sixth with the team.
As of now, the Chiefs are calling the injury a shoulder contusion. That diagnosis would not seem to shelve Bailey for the final 10 games, but there could be something more to this malady if that kind of timetable is being mentioned.
On a defense that houses Derrick Johnson, Tamba Hali, Eric Berry and Justin Houston, it’s easy to forget Bailey’s presence as one of the unit’s longest-tenured players. Like Houston, Bailey was a third-round Chiefs pick in 2011. He’s been a full-time starter since 2014 and came into his own to the point the Chiefs signed him to a four-year, $25 million extension before the 2015 season. Bailey’s playing on a $5.21M cap number this year, but as the Chiefs like to backload contracts, he’s due to make $6.5M largely guaranteed in 2017 and $8M in 2018.
Should Bailey miss extensive time, it opens up a spot for intriguing second-round rookie Chris Jones, who has flashed off the bench this season. With Poe looming as a free agent after the season, Jones figured to potentially be his replacement come 2017, but the Chiefs could get a longer look at the Mississippi State product early.