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Chiefs have to consider Derrick Johnson's replacement

Derrick Johnson tore an Achilles tendon in December but thinks there's a strong chance he will be back in the lineup by the time training camp begins. Scott Winters/ICON Sportswire

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- If you could, within reason and the restraints of the salary cap, take one of this year’s potential unrestricted free agents and put him with the Kansas City Chiefs, which one would it be?

Pro Football Focus recently gave one potential free agent to each of the 32 teams. They chose Buffalo’s Zach Brown for the Chiefs.

Brown, an inside linebacker, might not be well-known but he was a tremendously productive player in the Derrick Johnson mold for the Bills last season. So he wouldn’t be a bad choice for the Chiefs. He could be exactly what the Chiefs are looking for as they search for Johnson’s eventual replacement.

It’s essential the Chiefs get it right when they make this choice. They don’t necessarily have to make the decision this year. Johnson thinks there’s a strong chance he’s back in the lineup by the time training camp begins. Johnson tore an Achilles tendon in December, the second such injury of his career.

Still, the Chiefs might need some insurance just in case. Either way, Johnson will be 35 in November, so whether it’s this year or next, this is a project the Chiefs can push only so far into the future.

The Chiefs might be better off addressing the issue this year, whether it’s with Brown, another free agent or a draft pick.

In its one-free-agent-per-team post, PFF gives away only one Chiefs player to another club. But it’s safety Eric Berry, in this case to the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Keeping Berry is an even more important project this year for the Chiefs than finding an inside linebacker. Berry was arguably the Chiefs’ Most Valuable Player last season and they wouldn’t be able to replace what they would lose without Berry, on or off the field.