After four seasons as a Chief, Thornhill moves on with a pair of Super Bowl wins on his resume.
The Kansas City Chiefs’ secondary saw some changes last offseason, bringing in a trio of rookie cornerbacks and also seeing safety Justin Reid replace Tyrann Mathieu on the back end of Steve Spagnuolo’s defense. Another change is coming this time around, as safety Juan Thornhill is leaving Kansas City after four seasons with the team.
Per Tom Pelissero of NFL Network, Thornhill is inking a three-year deal with the Cleveland Browns. The contract is worth $21 million with $14M fully guaranteed at signing:
According to OverTheCap, Thornhill’s 2022 production was valued at just over $7.5M. Pro Football Focus gave him a projected free agent contract of three years on an average of $7.75M per season, which is just a bit above what he ultimately got with Cleveland. Early in March, it was reported that the Virginia product would have a solid market this offseason and cash in at a figure that could cause him to depart from the Chiefs organization.
Selected 63rd overall in the 2019 NFL Draft, Thornhill had an up-and-down tenure in Kansas City spanning his rookie contract. He burst onto the scene as a rookie, starting all 16 regular-season games and picking off three passes (with five passes broken up) before suffering a torn ACL that held him out of action for the remainder of the season. Thornhill was able to return in time for the start of the 2020 campaign and while he played in all 16 games for the Chiefs, he didn’t look anything like his rookie self.
After admitting that he was never truly 100% “back” the previous year, Thornhill started 12 games — playing in all 17 — for Kansas City in 2021 and began to show some of the flashes he routinely displayed as a rookie. The addition of Reid during the following offseason required Thornhill to step up as both an on and off-the-field leader, and that’s exactly what he did.
At first, Thornhill took a while to get going in 2022. Once he did, though, he and Reid combined to serve as a formidable duo at safety for Kansas City by the end of the season. Thornhill was playing his best football when it mattered the most, and his overall season stats were anything but poor. Recording a career-high 71 tackles on the year, he also matched his previous best mark with three interceptions while setting a new personal record in passes broken up with nine. Now, he’ll head to Cleveland and look to play a more consistent brand of football as his second contract soon comes into effect.