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Chiefs Extend HC Andy Reid, GM Brett Veach, President Mark Donovan

The Chiefs have put together a leadership group that helped the team go to six straight AFC Championship games, advance to the Super Bowl four times in five years, winning three of them, and become the first franchise to win back-to-back Super Bowls since the Patriots did so 20 years ago. As a result, Chiefs chairman and chief executive officer Clark Hunt announced today that head coach Andy Reid, general manager Brett Veach, and team president Mark Donovan have all received contract extensions.

The trio has been responsible for one of the biggest franchise transformations over the last couple of decades. The three came together in 2013 following a 2-14 2012 campaign that tied with 2008 as the team’s worst-ever win percentage in a season. Kansas City had just finished dead last in the AFC West for the fourth time in five years when Reid and Veach arrived, and since their arrival, the Chiefs have missed the playoffs just once.

Donovan has been with the team the longest of the three. A graduate and quarterback from Brown University, Donovan failed to ever make an impact in the NFL as a professional athlete. Instead, he went the executive route in professional sports, landing the job of director of sales and marketing for the National Hockey League in 1997. Three years later, he transitioned to the similar role of senior director of marketing and sales for the NFL. In 2003, he decided to attach to a team, serving as senior vice president/operations for the Eagles until 2009. In 2009, he made the move to Kansas City, where he became the Chiefs’ chief operating officer. Two years later, he earned his current role, which he’s held for the last 13 years.

After rolling through head coaches Herm Edwards, Todd Haley, and Romeo Crennel, Donovan played a role in reaching out to a familiar face, the head coach of his old franchise in Philadelphia, Reid. Reid has just finished his 14th season as the skipper for the Eagles, an almost unprecedented tenure for a first-time head coach matched only by the likes of Bill Cowher, Marvin Lewis, Sean Payton, Mike Tomlin, and John Harbaugh. Reid had been expecting an extension from Philadelphia, but when no contract came, he entertained the efforts of multiple teams that pursued him.

Reid settled with the Chiefs on a five-year contract. In Philadelphia, Reid had made the playoffs in nine of 14 seasons, lost four NFC Championship games, and lost the only Super Bowl the team made it to. In Kansas City, Reid would settle for no such mediocrity. Only in his second season at the helm did the Chiefs miss the playoffs under Reid, and that year, they finished second in the AFC West at 9-7. It was the only season under Reid in which they failed to reach double-digit wins. Now, the franchise has established utter dominance. Winning the AFC West each of the last eight years, winning the AFC four times, and winning three Lombardi Trophies.

Reid wasn’t the only piece poached away from the Eagles, though. Donovan not only stole Reid, but he also stole a young, 35-year-old scout by the name of Veach. Veach had gotten his first NFL job as a coaching intern for the Eagles in 2004. Four years later, his title was upgraded to coaches’ assistant. After two years of that, Veach got his turn as a scout in 2010. Donovan and Reid lured Veach away from Philadelphia with the position of pro and college personnel analyst. After two years in that role, Veach spent another two years as co-director of player personnel before officially earning his current job title of general manager in 2017.

Veach’s input was obviously valuable over the years, as the team drafted the likes of Eric Fisher and Travis Kelce in his first season in Kansas City. In the two years before he was promoted to his current role, he contributed to a personnel department that drafted players like Marcus Peters, Chris Jones, and Tyreek Hill. His first draft pick as general manager of the Chiefs is maybe the biggest reason the three executives are earning new contracts. He selected Texas Tech quarterback Patrick Mahomes 10th overall and the team hasn’t looked back. Since then, he’s overseen a personnel department that has drafted Kareem Hunt, L’Jarius Sneed, Creed Humphrey, Trent McDuffie, Isiah Pacheco, Rashee Rice, and several other contributors.

Aside from his draft hits, Veach has made a name for being unafraid to trade off top assets like Peters, Hill, and Sneed for draft compensation. He also has made a number of deft moves over the years in free agency, bringing in players like Joe Thuney and Jawaan Taylor in recent years and Marquise Brown this year.

The results of the efforts of this brain trust don’t leave much up to interpretation. Turning around the AFC West’s perennial bottom-feeder in an annual playoff team, then turning yearly playoff appearances into annual labels as a contender, then turning their contender status into three rings including two in the past two years, it’s hard to argue with the results. It was all enough to convince the Hunt family that all three team leaders needed to be around for years to come.

While we don’t have details on the length of Donovan’s extension, Tom Pelissero of NFL Network tells us that Reid’s contract now runs through the 2029 season and that Veach will also be under contract through the rest of the 2020’s. They embark on their search for a three-peat in the coming season, and the rest of the NFL will seemingly have to continue dealing with the success in Kansas City until, on paper, 2030.

Texans To Sign LB Jacob Phillips

The Texans did some linebacker work early in free agency, reuniting DeMeco Ryans with 49ers pupil Azeez Al-Shaair. More than a month later, the team is still doing work on its defensive second level.

Jacob Phillips came in for a workout earlier today, KPRC2’s Aaron Wilson notes, and ESPN.com’s Adam Schefter indicates that the parties have a deal in place. After four seasons in Cleveland, Phillips will make his way to Houston on a one-year deal. Phillips found his way to the Browns in 2020 thanks to a trade that sent running back Duke Johnson to the Texans. Now, four years later, that pick comes back to Houston.

As a third-round pick out of LSU, Phillips never quite panned out with Cleveland. Injuries were the primary factor for Phillips’ struggles throughout his rookie deal. Phillips missed seven games in his rookie season, 13 games in his sophomore campaign, and the last 10 games of the 2022 season before missing all of 2023. Out of a possible 67 career regular season games, Phillips has only appeared in 20, making eight starts.

Whether COVID-19 or a knee injury in 2020, a torn biceps muscle in 2021, a torn left pectoral muscle in 2022, or the torn right pectoral muscle that sidelined him for all of last year, Phillips’ struggles to stay on the gridiron have been unprecedented. Still, his ability to find his way into the starting lineup in the short windows when he’s healthy just shows the potential that lies in Phillips’ game.

While the Browns never got to see that potential fully develop and blossom, the Texans are hoping they’ll get to see it in 2024. Phillips will come to a Houston team that lost two starters at the position when Blake Cashman departed for Minnesota and Denzel Perryman returned to Los Angeles. Henry To’oTo’o, the only backup linebacker to see significant time on the defense as a rookie in 2023, is set to fill one of the starting spots alongside side returning starter Christian Harris.

The former 49er and Ryans disciple, Al-Shaair, was signed back in March to compete for the other starting spot. In a one-year deal with the Titans last year, Al-Shaair started every game of the season for the first time in his career and set a career high with an impressive 163 total tackles, good for fifth in the NFL in 2023.

With the starting lineup in 2024 assumed to be Harris, Al-Shaair, and To’oTo’o, Phillips will come in with less pressure to deliver right away. If healthy, Phillips could fill in To’oTo’o’s role from last year as the first man off the bench at the position in occasions of injury replacement or rotation. He’ll compete with fellow free agent addition Del’Shawn Phillips for that role. Phillips served a similar role with the Ravens over the last four years while also being a core special teamer in Baltimore.

It’s the start of a new opportunity for Phillips in Houston. After an injury-riddled start to his career, the 25-year-old has a chance to make an impact off the bench for the Texans without the pressure to do so right away. He’ll also embark on this journey with one of the league’s premier defensive minds as his head coach.

Ely Allen contributed to the post.

Jets To Trade QB Zach Wilson To Broncos

Zach Wilson‘s time in New York is set to come to an end. The Jets have found a trade partner for the former No. 2 pick in the form of the Broncos.

Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reports the Jets will send Wilson to Denver as part of a Day 3 pick swap. The teams will exchange sixth- and seventh-round picks, with New York acquiring No. 203 and the Broncos adding Wilson and No. 256. Both clubs will evenly split Wilson’s $5.45MM in 2024 compensation, per ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

Dianna Russini of The Athletic notes this agreement has been in the works “for weeks.” The Broncos have long been linked to a quarterback addition this offseason, with Russell Wilson unsurprisingly being released. That move left a vacancy under center, but in the lead-in to the draft Jarrett Stidham was in place atop the depth chart. That will remain the case for the time being, but Wilson represents a young depth option for Denver. One year remains on the latter’s rookie contract.

Having failed to secure a long-term answer under center with Sam Darnold, the Jets selected Wilson second overall in 2021. That made him one of five first-round QBs that year, but only one (Trevor Lawrence) is still with his original team. Wilson – who logged 33 starts in three seasons as a Jet – joins Trey Lance, Justin Fields and Mac Jones in having been dealt at a fraction of the cost relative to the draft capital used in their selection.

Following a rookie season in which Wilson struggled with accuracy and turnovers, he did not progress as hoped in Year 2. The 24-year-old was limited to nine contests in 2022 and saw Mike White take over as New York’s starter. That led to an aggressive pursuit of Aaron Rodgers last offseason, and while his Achilles tear prompted Wilson to once again see game action, things did not go as planned. Wilson in particular and the Jets’ offense as a whole struggled mightily.

As a result, it came as no surprise when the BYU alum was given permission to seek out a trade partner. Wilson’s cap charge ($11.1MM) and poor play hindered his value, and as expected the Jets have needed to attach draft capital to him to land a pick in return. Considering the gap between when New York began fielding offers and today’s agreement being reached, this marks a miniscule (but nevertheless expected) price from the Jets’ perspective.

New York has Rodgers and veteran backup Tyrod Taylor on the books, but the team could use the upcoming draft to add a developmental third option. Denver, meanwhile, will add Wilson to a depth chart featuring Stidham and Ben DiNucci. The lack of proven passers has led to considerable speculation tying the Broncos to an aggressive trade up the board for a first-round quarterback. Head coach Sean Payton himself is believed to be on board with such a move.

This deal has not tangibly taken away the draft capital which would be needed for Denver to move into the top five or top 10 in the first-round order. With Wilson in place, though, Payton has a depth signal-caller to work with for at least the 2024 campaign. Where Wilson slots on the Broncos’ depth chart following the draft – and as such the opportunities for playing time he receives in the Mile High City – will be interesting to watch.

Commanders Release DE Shaka Toney

Shaka Toney was one of five players recently reinstated from a year-long gambling suspension. The defensive end and special teamer will not be with the Commanders in 2024, though; the team announced his release on Monday.

Toney had two years remaining on his rookie contract, something which distinguished him from the other players who were reinstated (C.J. Moore, Quintez Cephus, Rashod Berry and Demetrius Taylor) but are currently free agents. A fresh start under new Washington head coach Dan Quinn and general manager Adam Peters could have been in play for Toney, but instead he will join the others on the open market.

The 2021 seventh-round pick recorded 1.5 sacks during his rookie season. Toney added eight QB pressures in 10 games that year, but his defensive playing time took a step back in 2022. Playing primarily on special teams, the 26-year-old was held to just eight tackles. Last April, he received an indefinite ban stemming from one of several violations of the NFL’s gambling policies which was noted during the offseason.

Toney’s rookie pact tolled as a result of the suspension, and he was due base salaries of $1.06MM and $1.1MM over the next two years. Washington will not save any cap space with the decision to release him, but the team will incur a dead cap charge of only $23K in 2024, since that was the value of his signing bonus for this year. The Commanders will move forward with a new-look edge group which no longer features Montez Sweat or Chase Young but has seen a number of free agent signings and could include a rookie drafted this week.

A new agreement for Toney will no doubt come about only during the post-draft wave of free agency. His age could lead to interest from teams as an upside addition, but a lack of production along with the suspension will likely leave him taking a one-year flier this spring or summer.

Broncos To Sign CB Levi Wallace

APRIL 22: Wallace is set to head back to Denver today with the intention of signing a one-year deal, Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reports. His free agent visit obviously went well, and Rapoport notes Wallace had other offers but he preferred to play under Broncos defensive coordinator Vance Joseph. Cornerback could still be a position of interest in this week’s draft, but the team now has a starting-caliber veteran in the fold.

APRIL 11: Preparing to go into last season with Damarri Mathis as the boundary starter opposite Patrick Surtain, the Broncos made a switch by moving veteran Fabian Moreau into that starting spot. Moreau is a free agent, and the team is looking into other options at cornerback.

One prospective addition has emerged. Ex-Buffalo and Pittsburgh corner Levi Wallace is visiting Denver on Friday, according to Bleacher Report’s Jordan Schultz. Wallace spent the past two seasons with the Steelers.

[RELATED: Broncos To Pick Up Patrick Surtain‘s Fifth-Year Option]

Wallace, 28, started 18 games for Pittsburgh but played a regular role in Buffalo. For his career, the former UDFA has 70 starts under his belt. He would certainly supply the Broncos with some experience and profile as an option opposite Surtain. The Broncos still roster Mathis and traded back into last year’s third round to draft Iowa’s Riley Moss. The latter did not see much playing time as a rookie.

Even before Tre’Davious White‘s seminal ACL tear, the Bills used Wallace as a regular starter. The Alabama alum started every game he played with Buffalo from 2018-21. Wallace never allowed a passer rating north of 86 in his first five NFL seasons, posting sub-77 numbers as the closest defender in 2018 and ’21. Pro Football Focus rated Wallace as the NFL’s fourth-best corner in 2018, marking a surprising emergence given his draft status. Wallace’s PFF marks steadily declined over the next five years, and the Steelers demoted him in 2023.

After starting five of the Steelers’ first six games, Wallace dropped to a backup role for the next several weeks. Injuries in the secondary prompted Pittsburgh to insert Wallace back into the lineup to close the season, but after he had signed a two-year deal worth $9MM, the Steelers had made other plans. On the whole, Wallace allowed six touchdown passes last season. After signing Patrick Peterson and drafting Joey Porter Jr. 32nd overall last year, the Steelers swapped out Peterson for Donte Jackson this offseason. Going into the draft, Pittsburgh has Porter, Jackson and Josiah Scott positioned as their top three CBs.

In Ja’Quan McMillian, the Broncos found a promising rookie in the slot. But they are still in need of an answer opposite Surtain. The team may well look to the draft to address this role as well, with Moss presumably set to factor into a potential competition. With Moreau unsigned, the team will see if Wallace proves a low-cost fit.

Texans Re-Sign RB Dare Ogunbowale

The Texans have re-signed running back Dare Ogunbowale, per Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network. It is a one-year deal, with no financial details available at this time.

Houston was connected to a running back addition this offseason, and while the team did not land a premier free agent like Saquon Barkley, it did swing a trade for longtime Bengals RB Joe Mixon. While it is fair to question the wisdom of trading for a back with Mixon’s mileage while allowing Devin Singletary — who played well in 2023, his first and only season in Houston — to depart in free agency, the fact that the Texans subsequently extended Mixon underscores their faith in him.

The club currently has third-year pro Dameon Pierce as its RB2. Pierce played well in his rookie campaign but cratered last season, mustering a meager 2.9 yards-per-carry average on 145 rushing attempts after boasting a 4.2 YPC rate on 220 totes the year before. Rounding out the RB depth chart are J.J. Taylor, who did not play a single snap in 2023, and Gerrid Doaks, who has yet to see any regular season action since being selected by the Dolphins in the seventh round of the 2021 draft.

Clearly, then, there was a need for the Texans to add to the running back room, and they did so by reuniting with Ogunbowale, who just finished the two-year, $3.3MM deal he signed with the club in March 2022. Though he carried the ball just eight times last season, he will at least reprise his role as a core special teams player — he appeared in 68% of Houston’s third phase snaps in 2023 and 61% in 2022 — even if he does not get more looks on offense.

Ogunbowale, who will turn 30 next month, does have some kickoff returns on his resume, and it is possible he will compete for work as a returner in light of the league’s revised kickoff rules. Of course, he made headlines last season when he converted a 29-yard-field goal attempt as the Texans’ emergency kicker in a Week 9 victory over the Bucs.

Houston, which clinched the AFC South by a one-game margin in 2023, defeated Tampa Bay 39-37 in that contest.

Minor NFL Transactions: 4/19/24

Today’s minor transactions from around the league:

Jacksonville Jaguars

Seattle Seahawks

  • Invited to rookie minicamp: QB Kory Curtis

Shatley will continue his run as the Jaguars’ longest-tenured player with a new contract. The long-time Jacksonville sixth man on the offensive line has continued to play a big role into his 30’s. In the first seven seasons of his career, Shatley started 25 games as an injury fill-in or replacement starter. In the three seasons since he’s turned 30 years old, Shatley has 26 starts. He isn’t projected to be a starter in 2024, but he should continue to be the first man off the bench in situations of injury or ineffectiveness.

Curtis is a name that’s been around college football for a while. After spending two years backing up J.T. Barrett and Dwayne Haskins at Ohio State, Curtis transferred to Bryant University, where he started for two more seasons. Utilizing his redshirt season and his extra year of eligibility as a student during the COVID-19 pandemic, Curtis played two more seasons at Gannon University. Playing his final season with the Golden Knights in 2022, Curtis returns to the football world via a rookie minicamp invitation to Seattle.

Colts TE Andrew Ogletree Removed From Commissioner’s Exempt List

Last month, domestic violence charges against Andrew Ogletree were dropped. At that time, the Colts tight end remained under investigation by the NFL, but he has been cleared to return.

During a Friday press conference, general manager Chris Ballard said Ogletree has been removed from the commissioner’s exempt list. As a result, he is back on Indianapolis’ active roster ahead of his third season in the NFL. Ogletree was arrested in December on a pair of charges: domestic violence committed in the presence of a child less than 16 years old and domestic battery resulting in moderate bodily injury.

Both of those charges were dismissed with prejudice, though, which brought an end to the 25-year-old’s legal situation. The league’s investigation continued, but in that case as well no discipline has been found necessary. Ballard added that Ogletree is taking part in the Colts’ offseason program.

Indianapolis drafted the Youngstown State product in the sixth round of the 2022 draft. Ogletree’s rookie campaign ended before it began due to an ACL tear, however. His first regular NFL action came this past season, and he made a total of 12 appearances (nine starts). In that span, he recorded 147 yards and a pair of touchdowns on nine receptions.

Ogletree is joined on the Colts’ depth chart by the likes of veteran Mo Alie-Cox and 2022 third-rounder Jelani Woods. He will spend this offseason aiming to cement a roster spot with two years remaining on his rookie pact knowing the matter which halted his 2023 season has been resolved.

Minor NFL Transactions: 4/18/24

Today’s minor moves:

Houston Texans

  • Placed on exempt/international list: OT Kilian Zierer

Los Angeles Chargers

  • Placed on exempt/international list: DL Basil Okoye

Minnesota Vikings

San Francisco 49ers

  • Placed on exempt/international list: OT Isaac Alarcon

Each team is allowed an extra practice squad spot in 2024 if they carry an international player. By placing a player on the exempt/international list, these teams are all but declaring which international player they’re choosing to roster next season.

Packers Sign Andre Dillard; T Met With Chiefs

The Titans bailed on their Andre Dillard contract after one season, making the former first-round pick a cap casualty in March. Dillard has not justified his draft status, but the five-year veteran tackle will have another chance in 2024.

Dillard is signing with the Packers; the team announced the move Thursday. The Packers parted ways with 11-year veteran David Bakhtiari, amid a run of knee trouble, and will bring in a player who has experience as a left tackle starter and swingman. Prior to making this Packers commitment, Dillard met with the Chiefs, ESPN.com’s Jeremy Fowler notes.

[RELATED: David Bakhtiari Not Planning To Retire]

Bakhtiari’s latest effort to return from the lingering knee trouble — brought on by the ACL tear sustained during a December 2020 practice — lasted all of one game. The Packers cut Bakhtiari shortly after the legal tampering period began. The Packers are taking on $18.1MM in dead money via the release, which was not a post-June 1 cut; all the Bakhtiari dead cap will hit Green Bay’s payroll in 2024.

Dillard, 28, represents a potential starting option, though his career to this point may make a swing role more appropriate. The Pack also lost swingman Yosh Nijman in free agency; Nijman signed with the Panthers in March.

Known for aiming to move ahead of the curve on their offensive line, the Eagles traded up for Dillard in 2019. But the team’s hopes of having the Washington State alum become Jason Peters‘ heir apparent did not come to fruition. In a lower-profile case that reminds of the 49ers’ Trey LanceBrock Purdy development, the Eagles found their Peters successor in 2018 seventh-rounder Jordan Mailata. The latter took over, while Dillard became the swingman. Teams inquired about Dillard at multiple trade deadlines, and while he fared well at points replacing Mailata on the left side, the Titans season brought another setback for the former No. 22 overall pick.

The Titans gave Dillard a three-year, $29MM deal to replace Taylor Lewan, but the team wound up benching the free agency pickup midway through the season. Another Titans injury-plagued season involved a number of O-line setbacks, and the team’s plan to slide Nicholas Petit-Frere to the left side preceded an immediate injury. Dillard received another chance but saw rookie Jaelyn Duncan play in front of him as well. Pro Football Focus ranked Dillard 71st among tackles in 2023.

The Chiefs are set to return four members of a quality offensive line. While Jawaan Taylor went through a rocky first season, Kansas City still rosters an elite interior trio (Joe Thuney, Creed Humphrey, Trey Smith). But the team has not re-signed Donovan Smith, who joined the team as a post-draft stopgap last year. The two-time reigning Super Bowl champs likely will add a left tackle — through free agency or the draft — but Dillard will end up in Green Bay.

As for the Packers, they turned to former seventh-round pick Rasheed Walker as their primary blind-sider (15 starts) in 2023. Bakhtiari suited up for 11 games in 2022 but was done after one last year. With Elgton Jenkins entrenched at guard (after being Bakhtiari’s replacement in 2021), the Pack received interesting work from Walker despite his late-round pedigree. PFF rated Walker just outside the top 40 at tackle and viewed the 2022 draftee as a top-25 pass blocker at the position.

A competition between Walker and Dillard could commence, which would almost definitely — given the latter’s value at present — bring a low-cost matchup. If nothing else, Dillard provides some insurance for a team that saw its LT plan change thanks to Bakhtiari’s run of surgeries.