Tuesday, Arrowhead Pride Editor-in-chief Pete Sweeney released his initial predictions for the Kansas City Chiefs’ 53-man roster. Pete sees bosses being overburdened in the use of offensive weapons – which could force the team to sacrifice depth elsewhere.
In recent seasons, the Kansas City front office has developed a solid reputation for finding talent—particularly late in the draft and in unformulated free agency. But the downside to this comprehensive work is the loss of talented players to the league assignment system at the end of training camp. In last season’s roster reduction, Leaders quarterback Bopete Keyes – the 2020 seventh-round pick – lost to the Indianapolis Colts. Defensive end Tim Ward claimed by the New York Jets.
When they make the final cuts on August 30, the chiefs could lose out on more young talent — though All The team will face an ongoing crisis and demands for concessions are much rarer than fans in general expect.
One way teams can protect their young assets may lie in updated coaching staff rules created under the 2020 Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) – which have been revised further over the past three seasons as the league has played through the COVID-19 pandemic.
In 2022 (and possibly later), teams can sign up with six players on the coaching staff who have more than four seasons of NFL experience — although those players will count on the total limit of 10 players appearing in nine career games or more. If needed as injury substitutions, these players can be promoted from the coaching staff to the active roster up to three times during the regular season – and an unlimited number of times during the playoffs. Remember, though: Only two players from the coaching team may be promoted to the roster in a particular game.
Since players with four or more NFL seasons aren’t subject to relinquishing until the mid-season trading deadline, the team can essentially cut a veteran backup on the understanding that they’ll join the coaching staff — assuming there’s no chance of joining another active roster.
Using Pete’s list prediction, let’s look at some of the ways chiefs can take advantage of these rules to keep young talent on the 53-man roster — without sacrificing inner depth.
offensive line depth
Many of the Chiefs’ fans – still reeling from the collapse of the offensive line at Super Bowl LV – likely stopped reading the moment he suggested sacrificing offensive line depth.
It’s important to remember, however, that while Pete’s roster show listed nine offensive linemen in its 53-man roster, the Chiefs typically wear only eight offensive linemen on their 47-man roster for game day. (This number has been increased from 46 players in CBA 2020; player number 48 can dress if at least eight men are active offensive linemen.)
Two Pete players expected the active roster – tackle Roderick Johnson and quarterback Austin Reiter – to be candidates for veteran coaching positions. (In fact, we’ve already seen Chiefs use Reiter to creatively manipulate off-season roster rules. Kansas City released the center on May 6—before the junior rookie camp began—and re-signed it four days later. This allowed the team to sign a rookie player. Extra for a mini camper look).
Kansas City could have a ninth (or even 10th) offensive lineman in the building, while still only having eight on his 53-man roster. This flexibility with Reiter and Johnson could come in handy if a young offensive lineman like Prince Teja Wanugu impressed him in pre-season – or if the team simply decided to bring together just eight of their attacking men due to numbers elsewhere.
Depth of offensive skill position
The Chiefs currently appear to be jam-packed on the run, wide reception and tight end – although camp injuries and pre-season performances sometimes prove that perception is a mirage. Ronald Jones and Gerek McKinnon, and wide receivers Josh Gordon, Justin Watson and Blake Bell, seem to have enough service time to avoid compromises if they are cut short at the end of camp.
Although these players appear firmly in the Chiefs’ plans for 2022, none of them are likely to generate much interest if they are cut back in August. Any candidate can be considered cut in order to create a roster space for injured players at the end of camp – only to be quickly re-signed when those players go to the injured reserve. (A player must be on the team’s opening roster of 53 players to be placed on the reserve/injured roster in the season.)
It would also not be surprising if one or two of these players would spend a few weeks in the coaching staff if they fell too low in the depth chart.
Veteran linebackers Jermaine Carter Jr. and Elijah Lee – and Dion Bush’s safety – will likely be looking over their shoulders from the moment they report to St. Joseph on Tuesday. In both draft and free agency, bosses invested severely in their positions.
If novice players such as linebacker Mike Rose or Salama Nazih Johnson play their part, their place on the list will come at the expense of a seasoned veteran. If Carter, Lee, and Bush are released in the final cut, they are unlikely to find an immediate market for their services — although Kansas City would be wise to consider keeping these veterans in the building.
Chiefs can also use the coaching staff to address their troubling lack of depth in EDGE. If no significant moves are made, it wouldn’t be surprising to see a player like the former Kansas City defender Alex Okafor end his signature with the coaching staff.
To be clear, this possibility is excessive Unlikely. But chiefs must be prepared to make a tough decision if full-back Shane Boychel edges out Chad Heaney as a long-back-up in pre-season.
Late last season, Kansas City signed Buechele to the active roster to prevent the Arizona Cardinals from stealing him from the coaching staff. On multiple off-season occasions, it has been He was seen working with rookie Patrick Mahomes.
In a league that never has enough quarterback talent to stick around, Buechele might be the boss probably To claim exemptions – or have the coaching team signed by another team. While Buechele on the roster would likely keep the team three quarterbacks in the 53rd, Henne could reasonably agree to stay with the team’s coaching staff — just as Matt Moore did in 2020. Chiefs would eat more than $3 million By cutting Henne, but Buechele’s minimum salary would make the repercussions of the cap fairly small. If cut, the 37-year-old would most likely retire – but as the saying goes, “Henny, it’s possible.”