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Chiefs announce signing of 8 undrafted free agents

Just before their minicamp, Kansas City adds eight new rookies to the team.

East Carolina v SMU Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

The Kansas City Chiefs have signed eight undrafted free agents to their active roster. With Thursday’s reported trade for former Minnesota Vikings cornerback Mike Hughes, this brings their total roster to 90 players — the maximum allowed until final cutdown day at beginning of the regular season. With the six players the Chiefs drafted, this brings the number of rookies on the roster to 14.

Shane Buechele • QB • SMU • 6-0 • 210 pounds

After spending two full seasons with the Texas Longhorns, Buechele (BOO-shell) transferred to SMU, where in 23 games, he completed 549 passes on 860 attempts (63.8%) for 7,024 yards for 57 touchdowns and just 16 interceptions — becoming a first-team All-American Athletic Conference honoree.

Malik Herring • LB • Georgia • 6-3 • 275 pounds

Herring (his full name is Al’Malik Demichia Herring) played in 34 games over a four-year career with the Bulldogs, collecting 70 tackles (36 solo, 11.5 for loss), four sacks, a forced fumbler and four passes defensed. He suffered an ACL tear during practice leading up to the Senior Bowl in January.

Devon Key • S • Western Kentucky • 6-1 • 210 pounds

A four-year starter for the Hilltoppers, Key accumulated 344 tackles (188 solo and 10 for loss), six interceptions (two of them returned for touchdowns) and 19 passes defensed over 48 games. He was named second-team All-Conference USA in 2020.

Dicaprio Bootle • CB • Nebraska • 5-10 • 195 pounds

The first known NFL player with the first name “Dicaprio” (or the last name “Bootle”) played in 39 games — starting the last 32 straight — at both corner and safety. He collected 110 tackles (70 solo, 1.5 for loss) an interception and five passes defensed for the Cornhuskers — and was named All-Big 10 in both 2018 and 2019.

Marlon Character Jr. • DB • Louisville • 6-1 • 195 pounds

After redshirting at Auburn, Character transferred to Louisville in 2018. In 26 Cardinals games over three seasons, he had 83 tackles (64 solo and three for loss), a sack, an interception and seven passes defensed.

Zayne Anderson • LB • BYU • 6-2 • 210 pounds

The 24-year-old Anderson appeared in 39 Cougars games — in which he also played some cornerback — during a six-year career that included both a redshirt season and a medical redshirt season. He came up with 162 tackles (105 for loss and 1.5 for loss), three interceptions, three forced fumbles and five passes defensed.

Riley Cole • LB • South Alabama • 6-2 • 225 pounds

After deciding not to play for the Crimson Tide (his original intention), Cole instead played five seasons with the Jaguars, accumulating 218 tackles (124 solo and 18 for loss), five sacks, three forced fumbles and a pass defensed over 38 games. He went to the Senior Bowl after receiving All-Sun Belt honors in 2020.

Jaylon McClain-Sapp • DB • Marshall • 5-11 • 181 pounds

In a five-year career with the Thundering Herd (including a redshirt junior season), the highly-recruited Jacksonville native appeared in 27 games — including eight as a true freshman — collecting 67 tackles (44 solo, 2.5 for loss), a pair of interceptions and 16 passes defensed.

All of these newly-signed players have agreed to three-year contracts that will pay them $660,000 if they make the final roster and play for the entire year. Under top-51 salary-cap rules that are in place until the season begins, none of their contracts will have an immediate impact on the team’s cap space, because the 51st-highest salary on the Kansas City roster is currently $850,000.

Teams are allowed to add signing bonuses and guarantee portions of an undrafted rookie’s salary in order to entice a particular player to sign with them instead of another team. Here is what we currently know about those:

According to a report, the Chiefs gave Buechele the biggest total guarantee: $175,000, including a $15,000 signing bonus. Herring is reported to have received a $25,000 signing bonus with another $100,000 guaranteed. Key’s deal is reported to have a $15,000 signing bonus, which is part of $65,000 in guaranteed money. Bootle‘s contract reportedly has $45,000 guaranteed, including a $20,000 signing bonus. Per a report, Character received $10,000 in guaranteed salary, while Anderson reportedly received a $10,000 signing bonus.

In addition to these undrafted players now signed to the roster, teams will be allowed to invite undrafted players to rookie minicamp, which will be held May 14-16. Before the coronavirus pandemic, it wasn’t uncommon for teams to invite 10-20 players to these rookie tryouts — but since rookie minicamps were canceled last season, no invitations were given. This year, teams have been informed that they may invite no more than five unsigned players to minicamp tryouts.

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