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One week to go! What to expect from the Chiefs before the season opener

Just seven days remain until the the Chiefs begin to defend their championship.

Oakland Raiders v Kansas City Chiefs Photo by Peter G. Aiken/Getty Images

The Kansas City Chiefs will begin their #RunItBack campaign in one week, facing the Houston Texans in the NFL season opener on Thursday, September 10.

Following Tuesday’s Super Bowl ring festivities at Arrowhead, the team dialed it back for a couple of days. On Friday, the team will settle into its normal game-week routine — which always begins with a press appearance from Chiefs head coach Andy Reid, who is scheduled to meet with reporters at noon Arrowhead Time.

Up in the executive suite, however, things will be a little different than a normal game week.

On Saturday — specifically at 3 p.m. Arrowhead Time — the Chiefs (and the rest of the NFL’s teams) will have to have their 80-man rosters trimmed to the usual 53 players. At that time, each team’s full active roster will count against the salary cap; all teams must be under the cap at final cutdown.

Under the normal “Top 51” rules of the offseason, we presently calculate the Chiefs likely to have no less than $9.5 million in cap space — probably about $9.7 million.

At the final cutdown, any vested veterans who have been released — that is, players with at least four years of NFL service — will immediately be available to be signed to other teams. (This is the way the Chiefs acquired running back LeSean McCoy one year ago). The remaining released players may not be signed to other teams until 3 p.m. Arrowhead Time on Sunday.

That will be the moment that teams will begin to construct their practice-squad rosters. Under the new Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) signed by the league and the NFL Players Association (NFLPA) in March, practice squads were set to increase from 10 players to 12 in 2020. But under an addendum signed just before training camp, that number was increased to 16.

In a substantial departure from the previous agreement, the March CBA allowed up to two of the 12 players to be players with any number of accrued seasons. Under the addendum, however, teams will be able to carry as many as four such players on their practice squads.

So it’s entirely possible that when building their practice squads, teams will be shopping for just-released veterans to fill a couple of their practice-squad positions — thereby giving them more depth in case some of their active-roster players have to miss time with COVID-19 infections. But since the new CBA requires a mandated weekly salary — rather than a mandated minimum salary — they will have to be players who don’t believe they have an immediate opportunity to be signed to another team’s active roster.

The CBA’s COVID-19 addendum also allows teams to protect up to four practice-squad players from being “poached” by other teams. This will be done on a week-by-week basis; teams will have to specify their protected players by 3 p.m. (Arrowhead Time) on Tuesday — and then every Tuesday through the season.

But while Chiefs general manager Brett Veach and his team ponder these moves, the players will be back to work on Sunday. Reid — along with quarterback Patrick Mahomes and some other players — are expected to speak with reporters before Sunday afternoon’s practice. At some point on Sunday, we also expect to hear from Veach.

Reporters will question the team’s coordinators — along with safety Tyrann Mathieu and other selected players — before Monday afternoon’s practice. Reid (and other Chiefs players) will face the press on Tuesday.

The season’s first Red Friday will fall on Wednesday — click here for details on how to get this season’s Chiefs flag — and then the Chiefs will play the Texans at 7:20 p.m. (Arrowhead Time) on Thursday.

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