1:01pm: The Chiefs have officially released Avery, and have also waived former first-round wideout A.J. Jenkins, tweets BJ Kissel of KCChiefs.com. Jenkins, who had just nine receptions last season, had been on the books for a non-guaranteed $1.337MM cap hit. He’ll have to clear waivers before he becomes an unrestricted free agent.
12:12pm: The Chiefs are nearly ready to begin making cap-clearing moves in advance of this year’s free agent period, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com, who reports (via Twitter) that the team is cutting wide receiver Donnie Avery. As a six-year NFL veteran, Avery won’t pass through waivers, and will immediately be free to sign with another club once the move becomes official.
Avery, who had started 14 games for the Chiefs in 2013, acting as the team’s No. 2 wideout behind Dwayne Bowe, was sidelined for most of the 2014 campaign due to a groin injury. He played in six games, grabbing just 15 passes for 176 yards, and was held without a touchdown for the first time in his career.
Of course, Avery was hardly alone in Kansas City when it came to being held touchdown-less. The Chiefs’ entire wide receiving corps improbably went the whole 2014 season without catching a single TD pass. Given the lack of production from the group last season, and the fact that there’s a chance Bowe could join Avery on the open market, wide receiver figures to be a primary area of focus for the team this offseason.
Because Avery had been scheduled to earn a $2.7MM base salary and $700K in combined roster and workout bonuses, the Chiefs will create $3.4MM in cap savings by cutting him. With less than $2MM in projected cap space, and a number of their own players to re-sign – most notably Justin Houston – Kansas City will have to make a few more moves before they’ll have enough room to comfortably negotiate new deals with those free-agents-to-be