“I’ve been blessed to be a part of the Kansas City Chiefs organization my entire career,” Johnson said in a statement released by the Chiefs. “I’d like to thank the Hunt family, my coaches, teammates and the staff for the tremendous amount of support I received over the years. I love Kansas City and this fan base, they’ve always had my back. I’m grateful I had the opportunity to spend 13 years in a place I love.”
“When I restructured my deal, I voided my last year out,” Johnson said. “In order for me to come back with the Chiefs, we’d have to work on a deal or do something for a one-year type of deal.
“But the Chiefs, they wanted to go younger across the board — that’s what (general manager Brett) Veach was talking about. I wasn’t in their plans, and I understood that. They’ve got some cap issues, and even though I would have bended some to be a Chief, there really was no negotiation. I just wasn’t in the plans. And that happens; it is what it is.”
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.
Certain players stick with you more than others for reasons beyond their greatness (and DJ was, indeed, great. Not good... GREAT). With DJ, it’s not just about how great he became. It was about the journey that he went through to get there. We got to watch it happen.
Per a source with knowledge of the situation, linebacker Justin Houston won’t be among those getting a one-way ticket out of town.
11-12) Tamba Hali, DE, and Derrick Johnson, LB, Kansas City Chiefs: Hali is certain to get cut, a move the Chiefs likely would have made a year ago if not for the guaranteed money in the longtime pass rusher's contract. Dumping Johnson will be a tougher move, even with Johnson at 35 years old. But the team has found his replacement in Reggie Ragland, and new GM Brett Veach wants to make the roster younger. These moves would mark the end of an era, with 25 combined years of experience, nine combined Pro Bowl nods and a lot of terrific play in Kansas City walking out the door. (UPDATE: After the publishing of this piece on Tuesday, the Chiefs announced that Derrick Johnson will indeed hit free agency. The final remaining year of his contract will reportedly void on March 14.)
1. Sam Darnold, QB, USC: There will be a lot of debate about the quarterback position and who new general manager John Dorsey wants to take with the top pick, but Darnold right now offers the best combination of highest floor plus highest ceiling out of all the available prospects. At some point I'll get cute and give Cleveland a non-QB at No. 1 but not out of the gate.
For many released players, there’s been an injury history that can get overlooked because we remember how great he used to be. Last year, that was Jamaal Charles, who was cut by the Chiefs after nine successful years with the team — but the last two were plagued with injuries that allowed him to start only five games. He signed with the Broncos in the offseason and rushed for just 296 yards in 2017.
The NFL is in full offseason mode, a time that can challenge the most dramatic parts of the regular season for news and pace. While teams prepare for roster overhauls of varying degrees, let's check in on what big-picture things league executives will -- and/or should -- be paying attention to over the next six months leading into 2018 training camps.
Shula spent the past five seasons as the Panthers' offensive coordinator before being fired early last month. The 52-year-old assistant rejoins new Giants general manager Dave Gettleman in New York.