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What Derrick Johnson’s impending departure means for the Chiefs

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The Kansas City Chiefs will be moving on without Derrick Johnson for the first time in 13 years. The Chiefs announced that DJ will indeed become a free agent in March when his contract voids and DJ said in a release that he wants to continue playing several more years.

What does this mean for the Chiefs defense?

First, it means the Chiefs are losing a ton of knowledge in their linebacker room. You don’t become the Chiefs all-time leading tackler without picking up a few tips and DJ wasn’t shy about sharing those tips. His presence will certainly be missed. There are other veterans that can help make up for it, but you can’t underestimate his impact before the snap.

Second, it means that the Chiefs must be content with their young linebackers on the roster. Reggie Ragland performed well last season and looks like a starter in the Chiefs base defense. Along with draft picks and free agency, the Chiefs will have some competition there next to Ragland. Kevin Pierre-Louis is set to be a free agent, but the Chiefs could bring him back. The Chiefs also drafted Ukeme Eligwe in the fifth round last year so he could figure in.

Third, it means the Chiefs could play DJ in 2018. He said he wants to keep playing. He could join another team and play the Chiefs in 2018. How weird would that be?

DJ is one of my all-time favorite Chiefs and yours too. It’s going to be weird for sure.

If you consider the Chiefs potentially cutting Tamba Hali this offseason too, that’s a TON of old school Chiefs knowledge that’s headed out. I’m not saying it’s not time but it will take some getting used to.