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Where the Chiefs roster stands as we approach the NFL Draft

On the eve of draft week, let’s take one last look at the personnel moves the defending Super Bowl champions have made.

NFL: Combine Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

The NFL Draft will start one week from Thursday. With just more than a week to go, let’s take a look at where the Kansas City Chiefs roster stands:

Roster moves

The Chiefs currently have 70 players under contract for 2020: 11 offensive linemen, five tight ends, nine running backs, eight wide receivers, four quarterbacks, 13 defensive linemen, six linebackers, 10 defensive backs and four specialists.

Re-signed free agents

  • DT Chris Jones (franchise tag, one year, $16.1M)
  • CB Bashaud Breeland (one year, up to $4.5M)
  • QB Chad Henne (two years, $3.25M, $1.6M cap hit)
  • WR Demarcus Robinson (one year, $2.3M, $1.05M cap hit)
  • DT Mike Pennel (one year, $1.05M, $888K cap hit)
  • FB Anthony Sherman (one year, $1.05M, $888K cap hit)
  • G Andrew Wylie (one year, $750K)
  • TE Deon Yelder (one year, $750K)

Contract options exercised

  • RB Damien Williams (one year, $2.7M)
  • LB Damien Wilson (one year, $5.4M)

Contract renegotiations/restrucures

  • DE Frank Clark ($6.4M salary to bonus, clearing $3.8M in cap)
  • WR Sammy Watkins (new contract cleared $5.1M in cap)

New free agents

  • CB/ST Antonio Hamilton (one year, $1.05M, $888K cap hit)
  • OL Mike Remmers (one year, $1.05M, $888K cap hit)
  • RB DeAndre Washington (one year, likely $910K)
  • TE Ricky Seals-Jones (one year, likely $825K)
  • QB Jordan Ta’amu (one year, $680K)
  • P Tyler Newsome (one year, likely $610K)

Returning from 2019 injured reserve

  • WR Felton Davis
  • LB Darius Harris
  • TE John Lovett
  • DE Alex Okafor
  • OL Martinas Rankin
  • T Greg Senat
  • DE Breeland Speaks
  • S Juan Thornhill
  • DE Tim Ward
  • RB Darrel Williams

Signed to reserve/future contracts

  • WR Gehrig Dieter
  • WR Joe Fortson
  • DT Braxton Hoyett
  • TE Nick Keizer
  • DB Chris Lammons
  • DE Anthony Lanier
  • DT Devaroe Lawrence
  • TE Alize Mack
  • RB Marcus Marshall
  • RB Elijah McGuire
  • QB Kyle Shurmur
  • LB Emmanuel Smith
  • RB Mike Weber

Free agents signed to other teams

Former Chiefs still unsigned

  • CB Morris Claiborne
  • WR Davon Grayson
  • WR Marcus Kemp
  • LB Darron Lee
  • RB LeSean McCoy
  • QB Matt Moore
  • CB Keith Reaser
  • DL Terrell Suggs
  • RB Spencer Ware
  • TE David Wells
  • DT Xavier Williams


Salary cap space

Per OverTheCap: $2.9 million (does not include Breeland, Washington, Seals-Jones)

Per Spotrac: $3.2 million (does not include Breeland, Washington, Robinson, Seals-Jones, Newsome)

Per Arrowhead Pride: no more than $132,000 (includes estimates for all known signings)

None of these estimates include the $5.2 million the team will need to sign the 2020 draft class. Until the regular season begins, only the top 51 salaries are counted against the cap. Since some of those rookie contracts will be below the top 51 cutoff, until the season begins, between $1.5 million and $2.5 million will be needed for the drafted players.

2020 draft picks

The Chiefs received no compensatory selections in the 2020 draft, leaving just five picks.

  • First round (32nd overall)
  • Second round (63rd)
  • Third round (96th)
  • Fourth round (138th)
  • Fifth round (177th)

Pre-draft thoughts

  • Presuming that no additional free agents are signed in the next week, the Chiefs will be acquiring 20 rookies to reach their 90-man roster limit. Given the positional composition of the active roster and practice squad at the close of the 2019 season — and the players currently under contract — the team should be in the market for about six defensive backs, four linebackers, three defensive linemen, three offensive linemen, two quarterbacks, a pair of wide receivers and maybe a tight end. Naturally, these numbers will vary depending on how the team views the quality of those position groups (or the value of any player they might unexpectedly have the chance to take in the draft), but strictly based on the numbers, the Chiefs don’t need any running backs (sorry, national draft analysts) and probably don’t need any tight ends.
  • Especially after the re-signing of cornerback Bashaud Breeland, the team has put itself in an excellent position for the rookie acquisition period; there simply aren’t many glaring holes in the roster. Brett Veach has pulled this off by very carefully managing the limited salary cap space available to him, signing five role players to veteran salary benefit deals that are good for both the team and the players. This is the true Patrick Mahomes Effect: the team’s ability to attract experienced mid-tier players at minimum cost. It’s easy to point to “name” signings the New England Patriots have made during the Belichick/Brady era, but these kinds of less-visible veteran acquisitions might actually be more significant, as they build the quality depth championship teams must have to continue their success. And it allows them to simply sit back on draft day, following their boards to take the best players that become available. It may result in a boring offseason — but if it works as I believe it will, I’ll take it.

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