Chiefs free-agent report: Quintin Demps

Our look at potential Chiefs free agents continues with a backup who played a lot on defense and as a kickoff returner.

Safety Quintin Demps

Five NFL seasons, one with the Chiefs. Will be 29 when next season begins.

Chiefs career: Demps didn’t sign until May but was a significant part of the defense last season on passing downs. Like a lot of their other defensive backs, Demps played well earlier in the season, but his play wasn’t nearly as strong during the season’s second half. Demps led the Chiefs with four interceptions. He also had an impact as a kickoff returner. He averaged more than 30 yards per return and helped the Chiefs set an NFL record for return average. He also scored a touchdown on a 95-yard return against Washington.

Argument for keeping Demps: He was far from perfect last season but he’s what a backup safety looks like in the NFL. Demps has good range and ball skills, making him useful on passing downs. His ability as a kick returner can’t be overlooked. He was a major part of what the Chiefs accomplished on special teams last season.

Argument for letting Demps go: The dropoff in his play toward the end of the season was disturbing. The Chiefs may be able to find a backup safety with Demps’ ability in the draft or through free agency. As for his kick return ability, the Chiefs have Knile Davis and Joe McKnight for that. Don’t be surprised if the Chiefs draft at least one player with return experience.

What should happen: Demps shouldn’t be a priority for the Chiefs to re-sign, but if he’s willing to come back at some point for a minimum salary, it would be a mistake for the Chiefs to pass that up. They could always release him later if they find another backup safety who is better than Demps and they have adequately replaced him as the kickoff returner.