It is not black Friday, but for fans of the Kansas City Chiefs, it may as well be.
Former Chiefs linebacker and fan favorite Derrick Johnson has agreed to terms with the Oakland Raiders, according to Michael Silver of the NFL Network.
Johnson, 35, spent his first 13 years as a pro with the Chiefs.
The Chiefs chose to let Johnson’s contract expire back in mid-February despite Johnson’s desire to stay in Kansas City.
At the time, Johnson said that Chiefs general manager Brett Veach had his mind already made up right after the season.
“They already had a game plan of what they wanted to do with me and bought out my last year,” Johnson said. “I didn’t really have a contract with the Chiefs, so if I wanted to do another year with the Chiefs, we’d have to negotiate and work on something, and of course, I would have bended a lot just to stay there.”
The Chiefs went in another direction, opting to instead sign former Cowboys linebacker Anthony Hitchens to pair with Reggie Ragland. Veach has since said that he believes the two will form a “dynamic duo” in the middle of Bob Sutton’s 3-4 defense.
Johnson, free to go anywhere, chose the rival Raiders on Friday.
My rapid reaction
It’s hard to hold ill will for either side in this situation.
The Chiefs moved on from a declining Johnson, who they no longer felt was a starter, as they continue to get younger across the board (Hitchens is 10 years younger than Johnson).
Johnson, on the other side, made it well known that he wanted to stay in Kansas City. When the Chiefs were not interested, he had to find a home elsewhere, and I’m glad he will get another opportunity.
That still won’t make it any easier seeing him in the silver and black.