Chiefs ink veteran Boone to bolster their run defense

Updated: March 17, 2007, 11:22 AM ET
By Len Pasquarelli | ESPN.com

For the second time in two days, the Kansas City Chiefs bolstered their thin defensive tackle corps, as the team reached a late Friday contract accord with unrestricted free agent Alfonso Boone, who had played his entire six-year career with the Chicago Bears.

Alfonso Boone
Boone

On Thursday, the Chiefs retained six-year veteran Ron Edwards, who returned to the team after spending the past two weeks exploring the free agent market.

Boone, who visited with Chiefs officials earlier this week, will sign a four-year contract that is believed to be worth $7 million-$8 million. The deal, similar to that signed by Edwards, includes about $1.5 million in guarantees.

In a sluggish tackle market, interest in Boone had increased dramatically in recent days, and he visited with Denver officials earlier this week, and had inquiries from several other teams. Some of those teams projected Boone as their No. 3 tackle, but given the situation in Kansas City, the 318-pound veteran likely will have an opportunity to start.

Given his leadership role in Chicago and his status as the team's most tenured defensive lineman, it is somewhat surprising that the Bears did not make much effort to retain Boone, but the coaches there have apparently decided to move younger tackles into more prominent roles in 2007.

Beyond Edwards and Boone, the only other defensive tackle of note on the Chiefs' roster is Ryan Sims, and former first-round draft choice is a candidate to be released before the start of camp after a five-year tenure marked by inconsistency and lack of production.

Boone, 31, is a proven defender against the run, a solid two-gap player who has been most effective in the nose tackle role. He started four games for the NFC champion Bears in 2006 after injuries decimated the tackle position and registered 22 tackles, his most since 2003.

One of the rare NFL players who did not play at a four-year college, Boone moved into the 2000 draft after two seasons at Mt. San Antonio (Tex.) Junior College, and was a seventh-round choice of the Detroit Lions. He was signed by the Bears in 2000 after spending time on the Detroit practice squad.

In 83 games, including 18 starts, Boone has 140 tackles, 10 sacks, one forced fumble and two fumble recoveries.

Len Pasquarelli is a senior writer for ESPN.com

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