Things got a little crazy last July in Kansas City.
It all started on Saturday, July 21, when Green Bay Packers reporter Rob Demovsky reported that free agent cornerback Bashaud Breeland was planning to visit the Kansas City Chiefs the following Tuesday.
This was received as great news. Breeland had signed a three-year, $24 million contract with the Carolina Panthers in the spring, but it voided when he failed a physical because of a foot infection. Reports were that the fifth-year player was healthy and ready to go.
So Chiefs fans had three full days to get themselves worked up about the possibility of signing the soon-to-be former Washington Redskins cornerback.
On Tuesday morning, news broke that the Chiefs had restructured the contract of running back Spencer Ware, which was seen as a move to clear cap space for a potential Breeland signing. By noon, Breeland’s agent was reported to be with the Chiefs at training camp in St. Joseph.
But... nothing happened.
Throughout the following day, reporters covering the Chiefs in St. Joseph kept spotting Breeland all over the campus.
Free agent CB Bashaud Breeland is out at Chiefs camp this morning.— Brooke Pryor (@bepryor) July 25, 2018
He’s been walking around the sideline, talking to defensive coordinator Bob Sutton
We may have a Bashaud Breeland sighting. He’s here with Tim Terry, director of personnel. pic.twitter.com/i1Xg3BPVXI— Matt Derrick (@mattderrick) July 25, 2018
Bashaud Breeland stayed for the morning's entire Chiefs mini camp practice. I asked him afterward if he was going to sign with Kansas City. "There's no telling. I can't just spill the beans," he said. pic.twitter.com/TfoF9MJ9jX— Adam Teicher (@adamteicher) July 25, 2018
No Bashaud Breeland news quite yet, but some insight: I’m told that it would be somewhat unheard of for an agent to let a player on the field at practice without a deal being very close.— Pete Sweeney (@pgsween) July 25, 2018
Except... no deal was ever made.
By noon on Thursday, we knew that the Chiefs had offered Breeland a one-year contract somewhere around $7 million, but Breeland had decided to continue with visits to Indianapolis and Cleveland. By Saturday, we were told Breeland would make a decision, and the Chiefs were still in the mix.
In the end, Breeland didn’t decide that Saturday — and didn’t sign with any of those teams. Two months later on September 26, he signed a one-year deal with the Packers — reportedly for the veteran minimum salary — playing in just seven games during the rest of the 2018 season.
It’s fair to say that there plenty of Chiefs fans who felt that the team wasted an opportunity in failing to sign Breeland last summer — but in retrospect, the team seems to have made the right move.
Now a member of the Chiefs after signing a one-year contract worth a reported $2 million, Breeland says he is happy to be where he wanted to be all along.
“During my time here in training camp, they treated me well,” he told the press on the first day of the Chiefs offseason program. “It was the place I wanted to be. Last year it didn’t work out, but now I’m here and ready to get to work.”
Breeland confirmed what had been suspected last July: that his relationship with his former Washington Redskins teammate — Chiefs cornerback Kendall Fuller — was one of the reasons Breeland wanted to play in Kansas City.
“Me and Kendall talked last year,” Breeland said. “He wanted me to come here and reunite with him last year, and things didn’t get worked out. But he got me this year, and I’m excited to be back with him.”
But Breeland also said there was more to it than that.
“They’ve got a young group,” he said. “And they played a lot of man-coverage, too — press man, bump and run — and that’s the type of corner I am; I like to be in your face and create turnovers. They’ve got a young group on defense that’s growing, and I feel like I can come here and help propel us to [being] a top defense.”
Breeland also said that last season, he wasn’t as ready to play as he thought he was.
“When I got to Green Bay, it took me about two to three weeks to really get in shape, but I never really got to full form.”
And he acknowledged that not being a part of OTAs and training camp with the Packers was part of that.
“Last year, I did miss OTAs and camp, so the biggest issue was me getting in football shape again after staying out that long. I was healthy — the injury healed during the period of time that they gave me — it was more just getting in shape.”
Breeland isn’t planning to make that mistake again.
“OTAs are much needed,” he told the press. “You can never really get your body in shape for football during the offseason that you have. OTAs are a good time to get things going — to get the ball part started before the season comes.”
And he couldn’t be more excited to play on the same team with Patrick Mahomes.
“I just got done playing with Aaron Rodgers, and to me, he’s like a younger version of Aaron Rodgers with a lot more attributes. Young guys are starting to prepare differently these days, but he’s the same player. Being able to compete against him, I know that if I can ball against him in practice, I can play against anybody in games.
“I’m ready to go now,” he said. “This is the year.”