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Chiefs waive two players, getting active roster back down to 53

On Thursday, Kansas City waived kick returner Montrell Washington and defensive tackle Keondre Coburn

Denver Broncos v Kansas City Chiefs Photo by Perry Knotts/Getty Images

On Thursday, friend-of-the-site Matt Derrick of Chiefs Digest reported that the Kansas City Chiefs had waived two players from their active roster: wide receiver Montrell Washington and defensive tackle Keondre Coburn.

As Derrick noted, these are the corresponding moves we were expecting to make room for defensive lineman Charles Omenihu — whose six-game NFL suspension ended after the team’s game against the Denver Broncos a week ago — and wide receiver Mecole Hardman, for whom the Chiefs traded in a deal with the New York Jets on Wednesday.

Omenihu was already on the roster — and practicing with the team — under an exemption that temporarily allowed Kansas City to have 54 players on its active roster. The Hardman trade wasn’t yet official — it didn’t appear on Wednesday’s NFL transactions report — so he didn’t yet need a roster spot. We expect Hardman’s trade — and these releases — to be made official on Thursday.

While Washington — a second-year player who spent his rookie season with the Broncos — has been a welcome addition to the team as a kick and punt returner, it wasn’t hard to imagine the Chiefs were thinking that Hardman could return to that role while also contributing as a wide receiver. Washington, however, hadn’t yet recorded a single offensive snap — so if necessary, Kansas City can now cover two jobs with one roster spot.

Coburn has appeared in just one game during his rookie season: the Week 1 matchup against the Detroit Lions, while defensive tackle Chris Jones was still staging his contract holdout. Coburn had just 15% of the defensive snaps during the 21-20 loss to the Lions — and has been inactive for every game since then.

We should not expect, however, that this is the last we will see of either of these players. On Thursday, special teams coordinator Dave Toub indicated he wants to have Washington on the practice squad — and defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo said the same about Coburn, who was a sixth-round selection in the 2023 NFL Draft.

So should these players clear waivers, we should expect the Chiefs to bring them back into the fold as members of the practice unit. While the team currently has 16 players on the taxi squad, they have an exemption for International Pathways Program player Chukwuebuka (Jason) Godrick. So the Chiefs can sign one more without making another move — and we wouldn’t be surprised if they released another player to make room for either Washington or Coburn.

This could be especially useful for Washington, who could be elevated to the active roster as many as three times during the regular season. As Hardman gets reacquainted with the Kansas City playbook — or if he ends up getting more work with the offense than we expect — Washington’s availability could be important.

Finally... yet another move could be coming. It has been reported that former Chiefs (and Broncos) defensive end Frank Clark is in town for a physical on Thursday. Should Kansas City decide to bring him aboard — which could be on either the active roster or the practice squad — another move will likely be required.

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