Denver Broncos outside linebacker Shane Ray is slated for free agency in 2019. Ray is a former Broncos first-round pick from the 2015 NFL draft. So why would the Chiefs possibly be interested in this player?
Well, first of all, you can never have enough pass rushers in the NFL Secondly, Ray grew up in Kansas City and still has a ton of love for his hometown. He played football at Bishop Miege High School and for the Missouri Tigers. Ray even has a mural of the Chiefs, Royals, and Sporting KC tattooed on his body
Ray is possibly leaving the Broncos franchise on some seriously rocky terms. He was benched and made a healthy scratch for the final two games of the 2018 regular season.
Was Ray really given a fair shake, though? As a rookie in 2015, he played backup to Von Miller and DeMarcus Ware. He had four sacks that season, but didn’t start a single game. The Broncos won the Super Bowl that year. Between his 2016 and 2017 season, Ray started a total of 15 games due to nagging injuries. The 2016 season was by far his most productive season, with eight sacks, 48 tackles, 21 QB hits, a forced fumble, and a touchdown.
After the Broncos declined Ray’s 2019 team option and drafted Bradley Chubb in the top of the 2018 draft, it was clear they intended to move on. For the remainder of the 2018 season Ray wasn’t given much of a chance by the Broncos. He suffered an ankle sprain late in October and that was the beginning of the end for Ray.
Finally, with the season coming to an end, Ray opened up about his frustrations to reporters.
“It has been a frustrating two years but I’m good. I don’t have no problems,” Ray said to Broncos reporters. “I come in, go to work, I don’t control what they do. That’s all up on them, so I just do what I do.”
When Ray was made inactive for the first time as a healthy scratch, the Broncos staff waited until the day before the game to tell him. He explained how that felt.
“Little disrespectful, but it’s all good though. I don’t think I’ve been inactive in my whole career,” Ray said. “Whatever reason they felt that I need to be inactive, that’s on them. I don’t have to answer to that, guys. I’m here for these next two weeks. Obviously, we’re not going to the playoffs. I’ll be in here doing my work like a professional.”
Shane Ray is now slated to become a free agent and he’ll have his choice of a new team. I have to imagine playing for the home team Kansas City Chiefs would be a dream come true, but could it possibly happen?
It’s unclear if the Chiefs will carry any pre-conceived notions about this player. He did have some concerns prior to the 2015 NFL Draft, but we don’t know how Brett Veach and Andy Reid feel about him.
It’s also not known if Ray will be a fit with the Chiefs because he wants to be a starter the next place that he goes. On the Chiefs’ roster, he’s unlikely to be more than the No. 3 outside linebacker unless the Chiefs don’t re-sign Dee Ford.
Perhaps the extra motivation of playing the Broncos twice a year and playing for the hometown team would allow for Ray to alter his aspirations and come to play for the Chiefs. There’s a lot left to play out before we know for sure whether this will be a possibility, but as the 2019 free agency period approaches in March, keep an eye on this name for the Chiefs.