It’s been a whirlwind month in the world of IDP! Several notable defensive players have moved teams, and it can be a real challenge to keep on top of those changes, much less what it means for each player involved.
This is the second of a two-part article bringing you up to date on the important changes in IDP value at this point in free agency. This article lists a handful of the players whose value has decreased, and the first part discusses players whose value has increased.
READ: IDP Free Agency Biggest Risers
We need to be mindful that there are still some moving parts. Free agency isn’t over yet, and the NFL Draft is less than a month away. However, it’s important to assess where things stand right now, and we will re-evaluate how things stand once the draft is in the books.
Enough with the preamble. Let’s get into it:
Drue Tranquill, LB KC
Tranquill was a major IDP asset in 2022, finishing as the LB6 after distancing himself from Kenneth Murray in the pecking order for the Chargers. He achieved career-highs in snaps (1,051) and total tackles (138) and weighed in with more than his fair share of big plays, adding five sacks, two pass breakups, and two interceptions.
Drue Tranquill INT! @DTranquill #BoltUp
📺: #LVvsLAC on CBS
📱: Stream on NFL+ https://t.co/CBvEeqTkng pic.twitter.com/YQZb29mcdh
— NFL (@NFL) September 11, 2022
It will be extremely difficult for Tranquill to earn a similar snap volume in Kansas City. Nick Bolton’s ascendence prompted the Chiefs to abandon the four-man rotation they employed in 2021, but Bolton was their only full-time linebacker last season. The next nearest was Willie Gay, who averaged only 68.8% of the available snaps.
Gay will be Tranquill’s main competition in 2023, but I suspect both will be involved, and we can’t discount 2021 third-round pick Leo Chenal. It’s not a great landing spot for the former Chargers player.
Jack Sanborn, LB CHI
This is an obvious one, but no list of free-agency IDP losers would be complete if I didn’t include Sanborn.
The 22-year-old went undrafted in the 2022 draft and barely played until Roquan Smith was traded, but Sanborn didn’t look back once the chance came his way; he registered an eye-opening 58 combined tackles and two sacks despite playing only 329 snaps in seven games.
Unfortunately for Sanborn truthers, the Bears made significant moves to bolster their linebacker unit, inking Tremaine Edmunds to a mammoth contract and adding TJ Edwards.
Sanborn is now clearly a backup again and will only have value if something untoward happens to the guys ahead of him.
Nobody I feel strongly enough about to include here.
Nobody I feel strongly enough about to include here.
Vonn Bell, S CAR
It looks like a crowded safety room after the Panthers added Vonn Bell to a unit that comprises Jeremy Chinn and Xavier Woods.
Fielding three safeties at once with one in the box was a hallmark of former Panthers DC Phil Snow, but Ejiro Evero prefers a two-deep safety approach.
If Evero brings the same approach to Carolina, Woods is the best fit as one of the deep safeties. That leaves Chinn and Bell vying for the other role – two guys who have played their best football nearer the line of scrimmage – and Chinn is too good not to play.
It’s encouraging for Bell’s outlook that he was given starter money; $22 million, $13 million guaranteed is a healthy paycheck for a safety. However, I don’t like predicting DCs will change philosophy, and this is precisely what Bell needs to retain his value.
Even if Bell lines up next to Woods at the back end, and Chinn does play more in the box, it’s not a situation that helps Bell’s value unless he can deliver big plays. That’s a risky bet considering he’s averaged one interception and three pass breakups per season in his NFL career.
Jonathan Owens, S FA
Owens has a fast start to 2022, but his snap share decreased in the second half of the season, and he lost some of his shine. Nonetheless, he still finished as the DB15 after racking up 117 combined tackles.
Free agency hasn’t been kind to the 27-year-old. Jimmie Ward joined on a two-year, $13 million deal, reuniting him with new Texans defensive coordinator DeMeco Ryans, and MJ Stewart also signed for two years, $7.5 million.
Owens was the odd man out with two new faces added at the position and Jalen Pitre already on the roster. He should find a home with another team before the season starts, but he’s a long shot to produce close to what we saw last season.
Isaiah Simmons, CB/LB ARI
Simmons played predominantly as a slot cornerback in 2022. This gave him a boost in value in any leagues that correctly identified him as a CB or DB because he still saw over 400 snaps on the defensive line or in the box, helping him to produce tackle volume IDP managers dream about from the DB position.
However, he finds himself in a precarious situation. Scott Rallis joins the Cardinals as the new defensive coordinator, and there’s no guarantee he will continue to use Simmons in the same way.
It seems less likely that Simmons will return to an off-ball linebacker role following the signing of Kyzir White. Zaven Collins will almost certainly be the top option at the position, and there aren’t enough snaps to feed all three players.
Simmons may be given a new lease of life under Rallis, but I’m not hopeful on the balance of probabilities.
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