When the Chargers announced earlier in the week that they had signed former Vikings linebacker Eric Kendricks, it felt the writing was on the wall for free agent Drue Tranquill.
Tranquill had numerous offers but decided to sign a one-year deal with the Kansas City Chiefs, according to Jordan Schultz of The Score. Minutes later, Tranquill tweeted, “Hey there @Chiefs, BIG TIME ENERGY, #ChiefsKingdom.”
The now Chiefs linebacker is coming off a career year with the Chargers with 146 tackles, five sacks, and ten tackles for loss.
This is the second year in a row that the Chargers pass up re-signing an in-house linebacker and let him walk. They let Kyzir White walk to the Philadelphia Eagles last season, and now Tranquill to the Chiefs.
Regarding money, Kendricks is a $4 million cap hit, while Tranquill is $5 million. Kendricks do have a second year in which he would make $9.25 million.
Chiefs defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo will undoubtedly put Tranquill in the best position to exploit his talents. He is a good tackler and is exceptional at timing his blitzes so that he can get to the quarterback at the right time.
It is unknown if the Chargers made one attempt to try and bring him back, but now, he joins the defending Super Bowl Champions.
During the exit interviews, Tranquill did mention numerous times he wanted to be Charger for life because they took a chance on him and helped his development. He was a perfect candidate for the Tom Telesco philosophy of “draft ‘em, develop ‘em, and pay ‘em.”
The Chargers are also losing a vocal member of the defensive unit that has given the pregame speech and trying to fire teammates up on the sideline.
Letting him walk must also mean that Brandon Staley and his staff believe in the continued development of former first-round draft pick Kenneth Murray.
He took some positive steps in 2022 but still had numerous mistakes. He wasn’t full last offseason because he had surgery, so maybe he will have a full offseason to prepare.
Adding Kendricks may help Murray with his continued development.
As for Tranquill, Kansas City could be a good fit for him if Spagnuolo finds a key place for him to play. They have a crowded linebacker room with Willie Gay, and Nick Bolton projected as the starters in 2023.