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Chiefs re-sign Manny Patterson after original contract disapproved

This is something you don’t see every day — but the new Chiefs defensive back’s situation is unique.

Maine v Georgia Southern Photo by Chris Thelen/Getty Images

Something odd happened on Tuesday: the official NFL transactions report noted that the Kansas City Chiefs had signed former Maine defensive back Manny Patterson to a contract. In itself, that wasn’t unusual. At his time of the year, dozens of free-agent signings appear on every day’s report.

What was unusual that on Monday, Patterson had also appeared on NFL transactions report as being signed to the Chiefs.

As KSHB/41’s Nick Jacobs noted, this was partially explained by another notation in Tuesday’s report: that the league had disapproved the original contract that had been reported on Monday.

Jacobs was correct: this was very unusual.

So what happened? OverTheCap’s Jason Fitzgerald offered one possible explanation.

Fitzgerald’s explanation is likely correct — although he could have it backward: the Chiefs tried to sign Patterson to a three-year UDFA contract, but the NFL said that because he had been on an NFL practice squad, he could only be signed to a normal free-agent deal.

But I think Fitzgerald has it right.

Patterson — who went undrafted in 2020 after tearing an ACL the previous November — was never offered a standard three-year undrafted free agent contract at the league minimum salary. After recovering from his ACL injury, he was signed to the Washington Football Team’s practice squad in late September. After Washington released him, the Houston Texans signed him to their practice squad in December.

But neither team ever activated him to their main roster. If they had, they would have signed him to the same three-year deal every other UDFA NFL player got during the 2020 offseason. But since they didn’t, he’d still be classified as an unsigned undrafted free agent. So his first NFL contract would have to be a standard UDFA deal that lasts three years.

The Chiefs simply may not have realized that Patterson had never signed a UDFA contract last season. It wouldn’t have been an unreasonable assumption, since players who are signed to team practice squads have previously been signed to NFL contracts — and after those deals are terminated (in the case of rookie UDFAs, usually on final cutdown day), players then become free agents who may sign any kind of deal.

But because Patterson had been rehabbing his ACL injury in the spring and summer, he was never offered a three-year UDFA deal — until now.

If Patterson doesn’t make the 53-man roster this fall, this will all be just a footnote; Patterson will just try to find another team where he can stick. But if he does earn a spot with the team, the Chiefs should have his rights through the 2023 season.