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Bengals claim former Chiefs defensive back Chris Lammons on waivers

Cincinnati is blocking what looks like a clever roster move Kansas City intended to make.

NFL: Denver Broncos at Kansas City Chiefs Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

On Monday, the Kansas City Chiefs waived defensive back (and special teams ace) Chris Lammons. On Tuesday, we learned from the official NFL transactions report that Lammons was claimed off waivers by the Cincinnati Bengals, who will be in Kansas City to play the Chiefs for the AFC Championship on Sunday.

Normally, we might wonder if the Bengals would hope to gain some intelligence about the Chiefs before Sunday’s game.

But there are special rules about waiver claims made by teams still active during the postseason. These waiver claims are not officially processed until the season ends — that is, the day after the Super Bowl. So Cincinnati will not have access to whatever information Lammons has until it won’t do them any good.

So why do it?

As we noted on Monday, we believe Kansas City waived Lammons to create a roster spot it could use to activate either tight Jody Fortson or running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire to the active roster. The Chiefs were likely hoping that Lammons — who led the team in special teams snaps during 2022 — would not be claimed on waivers. Even in the postseason, that would make Lammons a free agent who could then be signed to Kansas City’s practice squad.

In the postseason, practice squad players can be elevated to the roster an unlimited number of times. So the Chiefs would have been able to elevate Lammons to the roster for Sunday’s game — and potentially to their Super Bowl roster — while using his old roster spot to activate another player (probably Fortson) from the Reserve/Injured (injured reserve) list.

This is similar to Kansas City's other moves with cooperative players. You may recall that on May 5, the team released reserve center Austin Reiter and wide receiver Gary Jennings from its 90-man roster. That was right before the team conducted its rookie minicamp. This allowed them to sign two more rookies they could work out in camp. On May 10 — after the team made up its mind about which rookies it wanted to keep — both players were re-signed.

Kansas City apparently wanted to do the same thing with Lammons — but Cincinnati has blocked the move.

In the end, the Chiefs may get the last laugh. As we told you on Monday, the team has one of their other favorite special teams players on the practice squad: wide receiver Marcus Kemp. It’s a safe bet that Kemp will be elevated to the roster for Sunday’s game — and hopefully, to the Super Bowl game day roster.

Meanwhile, the Bengals will likely pay Lammons a week’s salary — or maybe two weeks' salary — and then release him. It’s likely that he will then be signed to a 2023 Reserve/Futures contract in Kansas City.

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