As the team trimmed its roster to the required 53 players on Saturday, the Kansas City Chiefs waived wide receiver Gehrig Dieter.
Normally, this would be routine news about Dieter, who was signed as an undrafted free agent shortly after the Chiefs drafted quarterback Patrick Mahomes in 2017. While he has been promoted to the active roster often enough to have played in six regular-season (and two postseason) games for the Chiefs, he has spent most of his time on the practice squad — and he could easily be named to the practice squad again.
But the Chiefs could be on the verge of moving on from the 27-year-old Alabama product — despite Dieter’s celebrated close friendship with Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes.
This is because the team also waived wide receiver Jody Fortson on Saturday. Fortson raised some eyebrows among reporters allowed to observe training camp practices — and also drew praise from Chiefs players assigned to cover him.
“We got to see Jody on the scout team last year,” recalled Chiefs safety Daniel Sorensen two weeks ago. “He’s a big body — physical, athletic and can go up and challenge the ball. He gave us really good looks last year on the scout team.”
Safety Tyrann Mathieu made a point to bring up Fortson on Twitter.
Me & Jody Went at it yesterday. He caught a one hander on me then looked at me... he know me, he know I’m trying one up him. Proud of that kid! He getting better & Tougher!— Tyrann Mathieu (@Mathieu_Era) August 24, 2020
“It’s a great challenge for the guys that match up on him,” said Sorensen, “because he is a big, athletic wide receiver that you have to deal with.”
This was enough buzz for many to consider Fortson a prime candidate to make the active roster as the sixth wide receiver, but that job reportedly went to wide receiver Marcus Kemp.
Marcus Kemp has made the #Chiefs' initial 53-man roster, per source.— Nate Taylor (@ByNateTaylor) September 5, 2020
Kemp, who has 2 years of NFL experience, rejoined the team in the middle of camp after he sustained a torn ACL & MCL in his left knee a year ago. A remarkable return for Kemp.
Still, if camp chatter is any indication, Fortson is very likely to return to the team’s practice squad after he clears waivers.
Depending on how many wideouts the Chiefs want to keep on the expanded practice squad, there could be room for Dieter, too. But now you have to wonder about whether Dieter would actually make it through waivers to give the Chiefs that opportunity. If you were an AFC West opponent, what easier way would there be to get intelligence on the Chiefs’ offensive scheme and tendencies — not to mention the star quarterback who runs it?
It will be very interesting to see whether Dieter will once again return to the Chiefs’ taxi squad. Stay tuned.