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Chiefs release 2 veteran linebackers on final cutdown day

One of the two Kansas City linebackers is likely to end up back in the building — and the other will still get paid.

NFL: JUN 15 Kansas City Chiefs Minicamp Photo by Scott Winters/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

As the NFL’s 53-man roster deadline approached on Tuesday afternoon, the Kansas City Chiefs released two veteran linebackers: Elijah Lee and Jermaine Carter Jr.

According to The Kansas City’s Star’s Herbie Teope, Lee should be back on the roster as soon as another move is made following the cutdown deadline.

But Carter — whose release was first reported by the Star’s Sam McDowell — is likely gone for good.

This is especially interesting because when the Chiefs signed the former Carolina Panthers linebacker in late March, all of his $1.77 million contract was guaranteed; in 2021, Carter started all of the team’s games. This means Kansas City will continue to carry Carter’s cap hit on its books throughout the season.

We did expect that Lee would be rated ahead of Carter on the depth chart — during the preseason, he was often paired with Nick Bolton and Willie Gay Jr. in the Chiefs’ base 4-3 defense — but we weren’t sure if general manager Brett Veach would be willing to give up $1.8 million in cap space in order to release Carter.

Now, however, we know that he is willing to do that — and also that the team is happy with the young linebacker corps it is developing.

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