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Report: Chiefs sign former Packers wideout; release Martinas Rankin

Darrius Shepherd tried out with the Chiefs during their just-completed minicamp.

NFL: OCT 27 Packers at Chiefs Photo by Scott Winters/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

According to a report from The Athletic’s Nate Taylor, the Kansas City Chiefs are signing another wide receiver to their 90-man roster.

As Taylor notes, the 25-year-old Shepherd prepped at Blue Springs High School in suburban Kansas City. Measuring 5 feet 11 and 186 pounds, he sat out his 2014 season as a redshirt at North Dakota State, following that with 36 starts for the Bisons over four years, collecting 2,841 yards (and 20 touchdowns) on 188 receptions over 57 games played. Starting all 15 games as a senior, he accumulated 1,065 yards (and nine touchdowns) on 62 receptions, averaging 17.2 yards a catch.

Signed as an undrafted free agent for the Green Bay Packers, Shepherd spent most of 2019 and 2020 on the Packers’ practice squad. But he was on the active roster for 14 games over those two seasons, collecting 47 yards on six receptions — along with 374 yards on 20 kickoff returns, averaging 18.7 yards for each.

Shepherd’s reported signing brought the Chiefs’ roster to 91 players on Thursday afternoon. According to a report from friend-of-the-site Matt Derrick of Chiefs Digest, the team has waived offensive lineman Martinas Rankin to get back to 90 players.

Rankin, 26, has been with the team since before the 2019 season, when the Chiefs acquired him by trading running back Carlos Hyde to the Houston Texans. Over his two seasons in Kansas City, Rankin has been plagued with injuries. He appeared in just seven games — starting six of them. All but one of those starts was in 2019. He is believed to have missed all of the team’s recent voluntary OTA sessions — and was absent for the two mandatory minicamp sessions for which reporters were present.

A third-round pick for the Texans in 2018, Rankin was still on his rookie contract. He had a salary-cap hit of $920,000 for 2021. We believe Shepherd’s cap hit will be $850,000, so the Chiefs will gain $70,000 in cap space with these two transactions.