Chiefs Rumors

Vikings’ Bashaud Breeland Had Surgery

Cornerback Bashaud Breeland was on the free agent market for a while, finally inking a one-year deal worth up to $4MM with the Vikings earlier this month.

One reason for his delayed signing may have been that he underwent shoulder surgery shortly after playing in the Super Bowl with the Chiefs, the veteran corner revealed earlier this week, via Andrew Kramer of the Star Tribune. Kramer notes Breeland still remains sidelined, and although the Clemson product said he’s “on track,” he also said “doctors tell me when I’m ready to get on the field.” It sounds like he should be ready for the start of the season but will end up missing a good amount of practice time with his new team.

Interestingly, Breeland also said his original plan was to return to the Chiefs for a third season. Breeland said his “heart was sold” on returning to Kansas City, but a couple weeks after his visit to the Vikings’ facility Minnesota came in with a financial offer he couldn’t pass up.

Originally a fourth-round pick of Washington in 2014, Breeland started 11 games for the Chiefs last year after serving a four-game suspension to start the season. He’s started both of the Chiefs’ recent Super Bowl appearances, winning Super Bowl LIV with the team.

The Bears also expressed interest in him last month. After having a very youthful group of corners that often struggled last year, Mike Zimmer made overhauling the position a priority this offseason. In addition to signing Breeland, the team traded away former first-rounder Mike Hughes and signed Patrick Peterson.

In his seven-year career, Breeland has made 88 starts and racked up 81 passes defended to go with 14 interceptions.

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Chiefs’ Kyle Long Suffers Knee Injury

4:25pm: Andy Reid said Thursday afternoon Long might need surgery on his latest injury. That said, Reid does not think the veteran blocker sustained ligament damage, per Sam McDowell of the Kansas City Star (Twitter links). This update makes Long’s setback sound a bit more serious, but avoiding ligament damage would be key for his chances at being ready for his new team by Week 1.

9:44am: Chiefs guard Kyle Long suffered a lower leg injury that could keep him out of training camp (Twitter link via NFL.com’s Tom Pelissero and Ian Rapoport). Fortunately, it doesn’t appear to be too serious. There’s a chance that Long could be ready by Week 1, even if he’s forced to sit out much of training camp and the preseason. 

[RELATED: Chiefs’ Charvarius Ward Signs Second-Round Tender]

Long joined the defending AFC champs on a one-year deal worth up to $5MM in March. Previous to that, the 2013 first-round pick spent his entire seven-year career with the Bears, earning three Pro Bowl appearances and a second-team All-Pro nod in 2014. However, he dealt with a long list of injuries between 2016 and 2019, averaging only 7.5 games per season over that four-year span. After being limited to only four games in 2019, Long announced his retirement last offseason. The Bears subsequently declined his option.

Now, he’s set to make his NFL return, once he’s healthy. He’s just one piece of the Chiefs’ revamped offensive line, starting a few spots over from fellow guard Joe Thuney and big-ticket acquisition Orlando Brown.

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Chiefs’ Charvarius Ward Signs Second-Round Tender

Charvarius Ward has officially signed his second-round tender (Twitter link via ESPN.com’s Adam Schefter). Now, the Chiefs have the cornerback locked in for 2021 at a salary of ~$3.4MM. 

[RELATED: Chiefs Promote Mike Borgonzi To Asst. GM]

Ward joined the Chiefs as an undrafted free agent out of Middle Tennessee in 2018. After seeing time in 13 games as a rookie, Ward ended up starting 16 games in 2019 for the eventual Super Bowl champs. Ward finished that season with 74 tackles, ten passes defended, and two interceptions. He also added another nine tackles in three postseason games.

The 25-year-old started 13 of his 14 games in 2020, finishing the year with 51 tackles, one sack, and six passes defended. Then, he started in each of Kansas City’s three playoff games, collecting 18 tackles. Needless to say, the Chiefs didn’t want to let him get away. The second-round tender was enough to scare away would-be suitors, so he’ll return to KC and the starting lineup again this year.

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Chiefs Promote Mike Borgonzi To Asst. GM

The Chiefs have promoted Mike Borgonzi to assistant GM, per a team press release. The club also elevated Brandt Tilis to Vice President of Football Operations and Ryan Poles to Executive Director of Player Personnel.

All three executives have been in the mix for GM jobs elsewhere. But, with Brett Veach installed as the Chiefs’ GM, that job won’t be available anytime soon.

The Panthers met with all three executives in this last cycle before ultimately landing on ex-Seahawks VP Scott Fitterer. It’s safe to say that they’ll garner consideration again in the 2022 cycle, but the Chiefs might be able to hang on to them for a while longer with these pay/title bumps.

Tilis has been a key cog in Chiefs contract matters since starting with them in 2010. Among his CV highlights: squeezing in extensions for Patrick Mahomes, Chris Jones, and Travis Kelce to keep one of the NFL’s strongest teams in tact. Poles, 36 in September, has served as the assistant player personnel director since May 2018.

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Chiefs Weren’t In Julio Jones Mix

The Chiefs were “never truly in” the Julio Jones sweepstakes, according to Peter Schrager of NFL.com (on Twitter). Like every team in the league, the Chiefs would have loved to have him, but it just didn’t make sense financially. Instead, Jones is en route to the Titans, who landed him on Sunday morning.

[RELATED: Titans Trade For Julio Jones]

The Titans shipped a 2022 second-round pick and a 2023 fourth-round pick to the Falcons for Jones. Meanwhile, the Falcons also sent their 2023 sixth-round pick to the Titans in the swap. That’s a far cry from the Falcons’ initial ask of a first-round pick, but that was the best they could do given Jones’ age (32) and contract.

The veteran is owed a $15.3MM base salary for 2021 and still has some guaranteed dollars for 2022. That would have been tough to swing for the Chiefs, who have less than $8MM to work with heading into ’21.

Needless to say, the Chiefs are already well-set on offense with Tyreek Hill, Travis Kelce, and Mecole Hardman in the fold. Jones would have been one heck of a replacement for Sammy Watkins, but it would have come at a great expense.

If I could play alongside Julio Jones, that would be amazing,” Hill said recently (via FOX 4). “I used to be in high school when he was doing his thing at Alabama and I’ve been a fan ever since.”

The Chiefs have other plans for those dollars, including a 2022 extension for Orlando Brown. Meanwhile, Jones is said to be aiming for a new deal of his own.

The Ravens — who could have teamed Jones with Watkins — reached a similar conclusion, backing out of talks last week. Ditto for the Seahawks, who already traded their 2022 first-round pick for star safety Jamal Adams. The 49ers and Rams also had varying degrees of interest in the multiple-time Pro Bowler, but the Titans ultimately topped every other offer.

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Chiefs Release LB Kamalei Correa

Less than a month after signing with the Chiefs, Kamalei Correa has been handed his walking papers. ESPN’s Field Yates reports (via Twitter) that Kansas City has released the veteran linebacker.

The 27-year-old signed with the Chiefs in May after splitting the 2020 campaign between Tennessee and Jacksonville. He started the season with the Titans, but he was traded to the Jaguars in mid-October. He ultimately finished the season having seen time in nine games (six starts) with nine tackles and a pair of QB hits.

After spending the first two seasons of his career with the Ravens, the former second-round pick was traded to the Titans in 2018. He spent two-plus seasons in Tennessee, collecting 8.5 sacks and 10 tackles for loss in 32 games.

Correa joined the Chiefs as a potential depth piece that could bounce around the front seven. Since the start of camp, the team has presumably liked what they’ve seen from their young pass rushers, including second-round pick Nick Bolton. This could also mean that Taco Charlton, who was limited to only seven games in 2020, is on the mend.

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This Date In Transactions History: Chiefs Release Jeremy Maclin

Four years ago today, the Chiefs shocked everyone with their release of Jeremy Maclin. Despite a down 2016, Maclin still profiled as one of the most talented wide receivers in the NFL and was slated to enter the year as the Chiefs No. 1 wideout. Instead of waiting to see what the 29-year-old could do, they opted for more cap space and more targets for their younger receivers, including second-year pro Tyreek Hill

At the time of his release, Maclin was not far removed from his 1,000+-yard 2015 season, or even his stellar 2014 with the Eagles, when he set a career high of 1,318 yards. His 2015 debut with Kansas City was, in some respects, even more impressive – Maclin caught 70.2% of his targets, easily topping his career 61.3% mark.

Still, the Chiefs saw an opportunity to save in an area where they already had a surplus of talent. Dropping Maclin saved the club $10MM in cap room with just $2.4MM left in dead money. The move made sense from a club perspective, but the timing was less-than-fair for the veteran.

Had he been released in March, Maclin would have had an opportunity to secure a solid multi-year payday. The league wasn’t all that juiced about the free agent WR market that offseason – Alshon Jeffery led the way with a one-year, $14MM deal and Terrelle Pryor settled for a one-year, $6MM deal, despite his camp’s best efforts to position him as an eight-figure salary player. In June, he was viewed as the bell of the ball, ahead of options like Anquan Boldin, Steve Johnson, Eddie Royal, and Marquess Wilson. But, most of the money had already dried up. He wound up signing with the Ravens on a two-year, $11MM deal.

Maclin never got the opportunity to justify his hefty five-year, $55MM pact in KC, and he clearly wasn’t the same player when he moved on to Baltimore. He finished out with just 40 catches for 440 yards for an average of eleven yards per grab – all career lows. Then, an injury wiped out his 2018 season. In 2019, Maclin wasn’t able to scare up much interest as a free agent, so he retired at the age of 30.

The decision to drop Maclin was puzzling at the time, but it’s hard to argue with the call in retrospect. Hill went on to have a breakout 2017 with 75 catches, 1,183 yards, and seven touchdowns. And, in the last two years, their explosive offense has propelled them to two AFC titles and one Super Bowl ring.

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This Date In Transactions History: Chiefs Promote Chris Ballard, Brett Veach

Despite going 50 years between their second and third Super Bowl appearances, the Chiefs have become the AFC’s best team to start the 2020s. They became the only non-Patriots AFC team to reach back-to-back Super Bowls since the Broncos more than 20 years ago and, per BetOnline.ag, are slight preseason favorites to win Super Bowl LVI.

Although Andy Reid is rightfully associated with the franchise going from a 2-14 2012 season to seven playoff appearances over the next eight years, the Chiefs developed some front office talent during this span. The Reid-John Dorsey power structure included key lieutenants, and two of those — Chris Ballard and Brett Veach — took steps toward future GM posts on this day six years ago.

On May 29, 2015, the Chiefs promoted both to the jobs they held when GM offers came. Ballard rose from Chiefs player personnel director to director of football operations, and Veach climbed to a co-director of player personnel post. Both execs served as key Dorsey sidekicks, with Ballard in particular drawing frequent outside interest. Ballard and Veach came to Kansas City along with Reid in 2013.

The Bears, Ballard’s team before he joined the Chiefs, interviewed he and Ryan Pace for their GM post on the same day in January 2015. That job ended up going to Pace, who remains Chicago’s GM. Ballard also surfaced on the Jets and Lions’ GM radars and interviewed for the Titans’ GM post that went to Jon Robinson. The Chiefs denied the 49ers permission to speak with Ballard in early 2017. The Colts hired him months later.

Veach has worked with Reid since breaking into the NFL as an Eagles intern in 2004. A step behind Ballard in Kansas City, Veach did not interview for any outside GM jobs like his former coworker. But the Chiefs ended up promoting him to replace Dorsey, whom Clark Hunt fired in June 2017, shortly after Ballard left for Indianapolis. Both GM rises have produced success.

The Colts quickly rebounded from three straight playoff absences, having made the playoffs in two of the past three years. Indianapolis did so despite some stunning sequences — Josh McDaniels‘ bailing on a head coaching agreement and Andrew Luck abruptly retiring — proving temporary setbacks. Although measured in free agency, Ballard, 51, has been aggressive on the trade market in recent years — as deals for DeForest Buckner and Carson Wentz have shown.

Following the Chiefs’ Super Bowl LIV victory, the team gave Veach a six-year extension. Veach, 43, played a key role in the then-Dorsey-led Chiefs trading up for Patrick Mahomes in 2017 and as GM helped give the superstar quarterback help. After revamping Kansas City’s porous defense in 2019, Veach extended Mahomes, Travis Kelce and Chris Jones in 2020. The Mahomes deal remains the NFL’s richest pact, at $45MM annually, though its 10-year structure stands to benefit the Chiefs.

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Chiefs To Hire Katie Sowers

  • Katie Sowers made history by coaching in Super Bowl LIV. After her four-year 49ers tenure ended, Sowers will join the other team that participated in that game. The Chiefs are adding Sowers to their staff, via the Bill Walsh Diversity Coaching Fellowship. Sowers confirmed the move (Instagram link). Sowers, 34, caught on with the 49ers via this program. Sowers went to college near Kansas City, receiving a master’s degree from Central Missouri.

Patrick Mahomes To Participate In OTAs

A month ago, Patrick Mahomes proclaimed himself ahead of schedule in his recovery from a turf toe injury. The superstar quarterback will soon prove that. Mahomes is expected to participate in OTAs next week, James Palmer of NFL.com tweets.

Mahomes, who underwent surgery on his left foot shortly after Super Bowl LV, is not expected to take his usual number of reps in team drills, according to ESPN.com’s Adam Teicher. But the fifth-year passer will participate. He was initially not expected to be ready to return to work until the Chiefs’ mid-June minicamp.

Regardless of his participation level next week and in Kansas City’s minicamp, Palmer adds Mahomes is on track to be full-go by training camp. This is certainly positive news for the Chiefs, who made big moves to assemble a new offensive line for its franchise centerpiece this offseason.

The 25-year-old QB suffered the toe injury against the Browns in the divisional round. That became an afterthought after the concussion Mahomes encountered later in that game, but it has resulted in a few months of rehab. The Chiefs have Chad Henne under contract to return as Mahomes’ backup, with UDFAs Anthony Gordon (Washington State) and Shane Buechele (SMU) on the AFC champions’ 90-man roster as well.

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