Chiefs Rumors

Chiefs Activate LDT, Cut Parker

The Chiefs activated guard Laurent Duvernay-Tardif in advance of Sunday’s AFC Championship tilt against the Patriots (Twitter link via Sam Mellinger of the Kansas City Star). To make room for him on the roster, the Chiefs cut safety Ron Parker

Duvernay-Tardif was forced to go on injured reserve in early October with a fractured fibula. In late December, however, he was designated for return.

Andrew Wylie has been Kansas City’s primary starter in Duvernay-Tardif’s absence. Things have gone well enough with Wylie in the front five, but the Chiefs’ best offensive line configuration has LDT, a recent medical school graduate, in the mix.

Parker, 31, has been with the Chiefs since 2013, although his KC run was briefly interruped in the offseason when he was released from a five-year, $30MM deal and later brought back at a lesser rate.

In the 2018 regular season, Parker wound up starting 14 of his 15 games and amassed 77 tackles, two interceptions, and a sack.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

2019 Proven Performance Escalators

According to the NFL’s contractual bargaining agreement, players drafted in rounds three though seven are entitled to raises during the fourth year of their respective rookie contracts. The pay bumps are tied to playing time — a player must have played in 35% of his team’s offensive or defensive snaps in two of his first three seasons, or averaged 35% playing time cumulatively during that period.

If one of these thresholds is met, the player’s salary is elevated to the level of that year’s lowest restricted free agent tender — that figure should be around $2MM in 2019. Players selected in the first or second round, undrafted free agents, and kickers/punters are ineligible for the proven performance escalator.

Here are the players who will see their salary rise in 2019 courtesy of the proven performance escalator:

Bears: RB Jordan Howard, LB Nick Kwiatkoski

Bengals: LB Nick Vigil

Broncos: G Connor McGovern, S Will Parks, S Justin Simmons

Browns: S Derrick Kindred, LB Joe Schobert

Buccaneers: G Caleb Benenoch, DE Carl Nassib, CB Ryan Smith

Chargers: LB Jatavis Brown

Chiefs: CB Kendall Fuller, WR Tyreek Hill, S Eric Murray, WR Demarcus Robinson

Colts: QB Jacoby Brissett, T Joe Haeg

Cowboys: CB Anthony Brown, DT Maliek Collins, QB Dak Prescott

Dolphins: RB Kenyan Drake

Eagles: CB Jalen Mills, T Halapoulivaati Vaitai

Falcons: LB De’Vondre Campbell, TE Austin Hooper, G Wes Schweitzer

Jaguars: DE Yannick Ngakoue

Jets: LB Jordan Jenkins, CB Rashard Robinson, T Brandon Shell

Lions: C Graham Glasgow

Packers: LB Kyler Fackrell, DE Dean Lowry, LB Blake Martinez, LB Antonio Morrison

Patriots: G Joe Thuney, LB Elandon Roberts

Rams: G Austin Blythe, TE Tyler Higbee

Ravens: DE Matt Judon, OL Alex Lewis, CB Tavon Young

Saints: DT David Onyemata

Steelers: DT Javon Hargrave

Texans: DT D.J. Reader

Titans: S Kevin Byard, WR Tajae Sharpe

OverTheCap.com was essential in the creation of this post. Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images. 

Chiefs Unlikely To Tag Dee Ford

Chiefs outside linebacker Dee Ford is set to hit unrestricted free agency this offseason, and after racking up 13 sacks for the No. 1 seed in the AFC while also earning his first Pro Bowl nod, Ford looks primed to cash in.

Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports tweets that Kansas City is leaning against using the franchise tag on the 2014 first-round pick, which will only help Ford’s earning potential, especially given that the free agent market is largely bereft of game-changing pass rushers. After a 10-sack campaign in 2016 that suggested he was ready to start living up to his draft status, Ford’s 2017 season was cut short due to a back injury, and he may have only been with the Chiefs this season because his fifth-year option that was guaranteed for injury would have vested if he were unable to pass a physical last March, meaning the team would have had to pay him even if it cut him.

But it all worked out for Kansas City and Ford, who finished this season as Pro Football Focus’ eighth-best edge defender. His 77 quarterback pressures was the best mark among all of those players.

The Chiefs are projected to have a fair amount of cap space, but as of right now it appears they are unwilling to tag Ford, who would earn just shy of $15MM if he were to play out the 2019 season under the tag. That is not to say, however, that Kansas City is unwilling to talk contract with him, which would be quite surprising.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Chiefs Without Eric Berry, Spencer Ware

  • Eric Berry, Spencer Ware and Malik Hooker are out for today’s ChiefsColts divisional-round game. Berry is still dealing with the heel trouble that has sidetracked his career, and Ware is out with a hamstring malady. Hooker started against the Texans but missed practice this week with a foot ailment.

WR Sammy Watkins Expected To Play Vs. Colts

Chiefs wide receiver Sammy Watkins is expected to play in today’s divisional playoff game against the Colts, reports ESPN’s Adam Schefter (via Twitter). The wideout was listed as questionable with a foot injury.

The 25-year-old had only appeared in a single game since injuring his foot in Week 9, but he was able to practice throughout the week. When healthy, Watkins has managed to play a relatively big role in the Chiefs offense. In 10 games (nine starts) this season, the receiver had hauled in 40 receptions for 519 yards and three touchdowns.

[SOURCE LINK]

  • While Watkins is set to play today, it sounds like one of his teammates will not. NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport tweets that Chiefs safety Eric Berry isn’t likely to play today against the Colts. The veteran has been dealing with injuries throughout the season, with a heel ailment being his latest issue. After playing in only one regular season game in 2017, the 30-year-old has been limited to only a pair of games in 2018, compiling 11 tackles. If there’s any silver lining, the Chiefs were reportedly preparing for Berry to miss today’s contest, as they adjusted their defensive packages to not include the veteran (via NFL.com’s Adam Maya).
  • We heard last night that Colts receiver Ryan Grant and defensive end Tyquan Lewis will not suit up for today’s matchup against the Chiefs.

NFL Reserve/Futures Contracts: 1/9/19

Here are the latest reserve/futures contract signings from around the NFL. These deals will go into effect on the first day of the 2019 league year, with players joining their respective clubs’ offseason 90-man rosters:

Kansas City Chiefs

New England Patriots

New York Jets

Philadelphia Eagles

Pittsburgh Steelers

West Rumors: Raiders, Chargers, Broncos

The 49ers aren’t the only club with interest in former Colts general manager Ryan Grigson, as the Raiders also want to speak to the ex-Indy exec about a front office role, according to Jason La Canfora of CBSSports.com (Twitter link). Oakland is rebuilding its front office after firing general manager Reggie McKenzie and top lieutenant Joey Clinkscales. Grigson would join a front office that now includes first-time GM — and former NFL Network analyst — Mike Mayock, who was hired earlier this week. The 46-year-old Grigson was fired by the Colts in 2016 after a tumultuous five-year term as GM, and has since worked with the Browns and Seahawks’ front offices.

Here’s more from the NFL’s two West divisions:

  • Two of Sean McVay‘s top assistants will take their interviews with the Bengals on Friday. Rams quarterbacks coach Zac Taylor and pass game coordinator/tight ends coach Shane Waldron will meet with Cincinnati ownership tomorrow, tweets Tom Pelissero of NFL.com. Nearly every candidate in which the Bengals have expressed interest thus far have come from the offensive side of the ball, with the only exception being former Broncos head coach (and ex-Cincy defensive backs coach) Vance Joseph. The Bengals were turned down by Josh McDaniels, but they’ve also asked to meet with Bucs OC Todd Monken and Chiefs OC Eric Bieniemy, among others. Bieniemy’s interview with the Bengals — originally scheduled for Friday — will now take place on Saturday, tweets Pelissero.
  • After being designated for return from injured reserve and participating in seven-on-seven drills at the end of December, Chargers tight end Hunter Henry took first-team snaps in practice this week, Los Angeles announced. However, Chargers head coach Anthony Lynn still declined to commit to Henry playing against the Ravens in the first round of the NFL postseason, as Eric D. Williams of ESPN.com tweets. If Henry does play, he’ll be on a “pitch count,” meaning fellow tight ends Antonio Gates and Virgil Green will still see time. Henry tore his ACL in May, but Los Angeles held out hope he’d be available if the club made it to the playoffs.
  • Rams center John Sullivan collected a $1MM bonus by being active for at least 15 games and Los Angeles ranking as a top-five scoring offense and making the playoffs, per Field Yates of ESPN.com (Twitter link). Sullivan, 33, actually started all 16 games for the Rams in 2018, and has started 31 contests since joining the club last offseason. LA’s line was elite in 2018, finishing No. 1 in adjusted line yards and No. 6 in adjusted sack rate, but Sullivan graded as just the NFL’s No. 32 center, per Pro Football Focus. The Rams hold a 2019 option on Sullivan which would pay him $1.75MM in base salary in addition to a $2.5MM roster bonus.
  • Currently being run by a trust headed by team president Joe Ellis, the Broncos are in need of a permanent owner. That’s likely to eventually be Pat Bowlen‘s youngest daughter, Brittany Bowlen, tweets James Palmer of ESPN.com, who notes Brittany will join the organization “at some point.” Bowlen, 28, could potentially take over in 2021 after a new collective bargaining agreement is put into place, speculates Mike Klis of 9News.
  • 49ers left guard Laken Tomlinson suffered a torn MCL on Sunday, according to a team announcement. That’s relatively good news since the longtime starter was carted off of the field, leading to fears that he had suffered a torn ACL. Tomlinson will not need surgery, so he should be good to go for offseason activities. Tomlinson is under contract with San Francisco through 2021 thanks to the three-year, $18MM extension he signed last summer.

NFL Workout Updates: 1/3/19

Today’s workout updates, all courtesy of veteran NFL reporter Howard Balzer (on Twitter):

Chicago Bears

Detroit Lions

Green Bay Packers

Houston Texans

Indianapolis Colts

Kansas City Chiefs

Los Angeles Chargers

New England Patriots

  • WR Jordan Williams-Lambert

New Orleans Saints

New York Jets

Pittsburgh Steelers

Seattle Seahawks

Eric Bieniemy Declines Cardinals Interview

Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy declined an opportunity to interview with the Cardinals, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (on Twitter). He’s set to interview with the Jets and Buccaneers on Wednesday, the Dolphins on Thursday, and the Bengals on Friday, so he has a full plate as he also gets set for the Chiefs’ Divisional Round game on Jan. 12.

Bieniemy has been a popular candidate early in this cycle and it seems awful likely that he’ll land a job behind the strength of the Chiefs’ offense and Andy Reid‘s strong recommendation.

In 2017, the Chiefs ranked fifth in total offense under Matt Nagy’s command. Bieniemy had big shoes to fill as he took over for him but Patrick Mahomes & Co. exceeded all expectations. The Chiefs finished first in total offense in 2018 by averaging an eye-popping 425.6 yards per game.

Bieniemy, who enjoyed a nine-year playing career before entering the coaching ranks, has been with Kansas City since 2013. Prior to that, the 45-year-old served as the offensive coordinator at Colorado, so he has call-playing experience despite the fact that Reid is hands-on with his team.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Bucs, Dolphins Request Interviews With Eric Bieniemy

The Buccaneers and Dolphins have requested interviews with Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy, according to Terez Paylor of Yahoo Sports (on Twitter). Bieniemy, 49, was among those recommended by the Fritz Pollard Alliance for head coaching consideration this year and should be a hot candidate given the success of the Chiefs’ explosive offense in 2018.

The Jets also requested an interview with Bieniemy on Monday, a job that could hold more appeal than the Bucs or Dolphins. Aside from the Jets playing in the country’s biggest market, they have a young and promising quarterback in Sam Darnold. The draft could bring new QBs to Tampa Bay and Miami, but Darnold could be closer to NFL success than any prospect in the 2019 class.

Bieniemy’s first NFL coaching gig came between 2016-2010 with the Vikings as a running backs coach. He dipped back into the college ranks as Colorado’s offensive coordinator, but returned to the pro level in 2013 as the Chiefs’ running backs coach. When Matt Nagy left for Chicago, Andy Reid promoted him to the OC post.