The Kansas City Chiefs and S Juan Thornhill were dealt a tough blow just prior to last season’s Super Bowl title run. Less than halfway into the team’s Week 17 contest against the Los Angeles Chargers, the 24-year-old went down with a non-contact knee injury, later confirmed to be a torn ACL which put an abrupt end to the rookie’s impressive first season.
While the average recovery time for ACL tears has decreased significantly for some high-level athletes in recent years, the timetable remains different for every individual. As of late February, however, the belief within the Chiefs’ front office was that Thornhill would be ready for the start of the 2020 season, perhaps as early as training camp in July or August.
On Monday, the 2019 PFWA All-Rookie Team selection took to his Twitter account for another encouraging update.
Got the wheels moving again 🏃🏽♂️💨
— The_Juan_And_Only (@Juan_Thornhill) May 11, 2020
Could Chiefs and Colts Strike a Deal?
When healthy, Kansas City’s starting safety duo of Thornhill and two-time All-Pro Tyrann Mathieu is as strong as any across the league. And while the former is slowly making progress towards a return to the field later this summer, unfortunately, it’s no guarantee that the second-year pro ever returns to his pre-injury form.
Although Kansas City does have an experienced backup behind Thornhill in seventh-year veteran Daniel Sorensen, plus 2018 fourth-round pick Armani Watts, the Chiefs remain in the market for safety — including Indianapolis Colts S Malik Hooker.
A recent FanSided article laid out a potential trade scenario that involved the Chiefs sending a future fourth-round pick to the Colts in exchange for their 2017 first-round draft choice. Despite immense talent, the 24-year-old has already missed 14 games throughout his first three seasons and appears to be on his way out of Indianapolis in 2021 after the team recently declined his fifth-year option on May 4.
Hooker on the Trade Block Since April
The Colts were reportedly receiving offers on Hooker just days ahead of last month’s NFL Draft, and the front office’s decision to draft Utah S Julian Blackmon in the third round could further signal that Hooker is expendable.
The initial word I’m getting on Malik Hooker is that teams have called the Colts to inquire about him, NOT the other way around. Take everything w a grain of salt this time of year, but I believe this is very plausible.
— Stephen Holder (@HolderStephen) April 21, 2020
With a salary of $2.18 million for next season, the Chiefs would still be in a position to absorb Hooker’s current contract despite the team’s limited salary cap space. Adding a player of Hooker’s talent for one season would be a similar risk to the one Chiefs General Manager Brett Veach recently took in signing former Cowboys first-round DE Taco Charlton.
When on the field, the former Ohio State standout hasn’t quite lived up to expectations but has flashed his playmaking ability with 117 total tackles, 11 pass breakups, 7 interceptions and a pair of fumble recoveries in 34 career games (33 starts).