Chiefs Rumors

NFL Draft Rumors: Taylor, Ford, Sweat

Florida offensive tackle Jawaan Taylor met with the Bengals on Tuesday, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (Twitter link). Taylor, who stands 6’5″ and 328 pounds, certainly has the size requirements favored by new Cincinnati offensive line coach Jim Turner, but it’s unclear if the ex-Gator will be available when the Bengals make their first-round selection at No. 11. Along with Jonah Williams (Alabama), Andre Dillard (Washington State), and Cody Ford (Oklahoma), Taylor is considered one of the best tackle prospects available in the 2019 draft. If selected by the Bengals, Taylor could immediately take over at right tackle, displacing the recently re-signed Bobby Hart, and would be a long-term option to replace Cordy Glenn on the blindside.

Here’s more on the 2019 NFL draft:

  • Speaking of Ford, the Oklahoma offensive lineman has been extremely busy during the pre-draft season. Per Aaron Wilson the Houston Chronicle, Ford has met with and/or worked out for the Patriots, Eagles, Buccaneers, Vikings, Texans, Cardinals, and Falcons. That’s in addition to his previously-reported stops with the Bengals and Panthers. Ford was a first-team All-Big 12 selection in 2018 and helped Oklahoma win the Joe Moore Award, given to the country’s best offensive line. A left guard in both 2016 and 2017, Ford shifted to right tackle for the 2018 campaign.
  • The Texans are meeting with Mississippi State edge rusher Montez Sweat on Wednesday, reports Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (Twitter link). Sweat is considered of the best defensive ends in the draft (especially after blowing up the combine), so Houston would likely need to trade up from No. 23 overall in order to land him. After starting his collegiate career at Michigan State, Sweat spent two years with the Bulldogs, racking up 22.5 sacks and 30 tackles for loss during that time.
  • Washington cornerback Byron Murphy has met with the Panthers, Chiefs, and Cardinals in addition to his visit with the Steelers, tweets Wilson. In 2018, Murphy earned a spot on the first-team All-Pac-12 list after putting up 37 tackles, four interceptions, and 13 interceptions. Regarded as a first-round pick by most observers, Murphy is the No. 6 overall player on Pro Football Focus’ draft board after allowing only a 47.7% completion percentage against and forcing 17 incompletions.
  • The Rams hosted Mississippi State safety Johnathan Abram on Tuesday, per Tom Pelissero of NFL.com (Twitter link). Abram, who has also met with the Cowboys and Cardinals, is part of a closely-clustered safety class that could start coming off the board at the end of the first round. Daniel Jeremiah of NFL.com, notably, ranks Abram as the No. 1 safety prospect of 2019. Arbam posted two interceptions, three sacks, and nine tackles for loss last year.

Minor NFL Transactions: 4/17/19

Today’s minor moves:

Arizona Cardinals

  • Signed: OL Brant Weiss (Alliance of American Football)

Chicago Bears

Kansas City Chiefs

Los Angeles Chargers

Los Angeles Rams

New York Giants

Oakland Raiders

Pittsburgh Steelers

San Francisco 49ers

Chiefs’ Tyreek Hill Present For Workouts

Chiefs wide receiver Tyreek Hill was in attendance for the start of the Chiefs’ offseason workout program on Monday, a source tells Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (on Twitter). Hill’s status for the 2019 is in jeopardy, but the wide receiver appears to be proceeding as though he’ll be cleared to play. 

Police are investigating claims of child abuse at Hill’s home and there’s a possibility that the wide receiver will face NFL discipline in connection with the incidents. However, the league is not expected to weigh in until child protective services concludes their investigation, which could mean that Hill’s fate will be in limbo for a while as authorities sift through the accusations.

Hill’s three-year old son is said to have suffered injuries, including a broken arm, at Hill’s home. Authorities are looking into Hill’s involvement in that incident, plus another where officers were called to Hill’s home to investigate a different incident of “child abuse or neglect.” 

The accusations are troubling, particularly in light of Hill’s pre-NFL track record. If there is concrete evidence against Hill, it’s hard to imagine him taking the field for Week 1.

In 2017, Hill’s second NFL season, he amassed nearly 1,200 receiving yards with seven touchdowns. Then, last year, he set new career highs with 87 catches for 1,479 yards and 12 touchdowns, cementing himself as one of the very best wide receivers in the game.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Earl Thomas Committed To Chiefs Deal Prior To Ravens Offer

Well known to have pursued Earl Thomas, the Chiefs were incredibly close to having one of the highest-profile safety tandems in recent NFL history.

Thomas committed to sign with the Chiefs the night before he agreed to terms with the Ravens, the new Baltimore defender said during an appearance on the Rich Eisen Podcast this week (video link). Thomas provided details on what was a one-year Kansas City offer.

I had committed there on a one-year deal worth like $12MM,” Thomas said, “and the next morning I woke up, my agents called me and told me I had a better offer with the Ravens, so I definitely took that offer real quick.”

Having recently seen money become available after C.J. Mosley accepted a monster Jets offer, the Ravens swooped in with a four-year, $55MM Thomas proposal. Thomas said he was on the phone with Andy Reid the night before he agreed to the Ravens’ terms and indicated his family was packing up for a flight to Missouri. While more low-key, with no agreement having been widely reported, Thomas’ free agency appears to have unfolded in a fairly similar fashion as Anthony Barr‘s.

The Chiefs actually were about to send me a private jet and me and the family were packing up, getting ready to go, get on the jet, go to Kansas City, and I woke up the next morning and my agents told me that Baltimore really wanted me and they offered me a megadeal, and I took that,” Thomas said.

The Chiefs opened free agency by authorizing a $14MM-AAV deal for Tyrann Mathieu. They were clearly quite close to pairing him with Thomas. Eric Berry was still on Kansas City’s roster at that point, but the team released its three-time All-Pro safety hours after the Ravens pried Thomas away. Before going down with a season-ending injury, Thomas was rumored as a Chiefs trade target as well. It is not known if Thomas gave the Chiefs a chance to match the Ravens’ offer, though they certainly could have given that the subsequent Ravens agreement occurred before the new league year began.

Thomas added that the Cowboys, who offered a second-round pick for him last year, did not seriously pursue him in free agency. The Cowboys did not come forward with the kind of money the Ravens or Chiefs did, per Thomas.

Kansas City has made some major changes to its defense, cutting Berry and Justin Houston and trading Dee Ford. Lower-profile defensive ends Alex Okafor and Emmanuel Ogbah have since signed, joining Mathieu, Damien Wilson and Bashaud Breeland as notable K.C. offseason defensive additions. But a Chiefs team that ranked 31st against the pass (though 12th in pass-defense DVOA) still could use some help in the secondary.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Chiefs To Sign Jeremiah Attaochu

The Chiefs will add another player to their edge rush mix, bringing in former Chargers and Jets pass rusher Jeremiah Attaochu, Field Yates of ESPN.com tweets.

Attaochu joins Alex Okafor and Emmanuel Ogbah as new defensive ends in Kansas City’s post-Justin Houston/Dee Ford era. While Attaochu did have some success getting to quarterbacks in San Diego, he has not lived up to his second-round billing.

Registering six sacks for the 2015 Chargers, Attaochu has notched just four since. He collected two with the Jets, before his season ended in mid-December due to injury. Injuries also limited the Georgia Tech product to just four games in 2017.

Just more than a year ago, Attaochu caught on with the 49ers via one-year deal with $2.5MM guaranteed. Attaochu’s Chiefs contract likely does not include that much guaranteed, considering the 49ers cut the edge defender after their preseason slate.

The Chiefs are transitioning from their 3-4 look, which they used for 11 seasons, to Steve Spagnuolo‘s 4-3 defense. Its edge rush figures to be further augmented in the upcoming draft, when the Chiefs hold four picks in the first three rounds. But Attaochu, 26, stands to likely supply depth for the new-look edge corps — one that already houses recent second-round picks Breeland Speaks and Tanoh Kpassagnon.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Jaguars Sign OL Leonard Wester

The Jaguars have signed free agent offensive lineman Leonard Wester, the club announced today.

Wester spent the past three seasons with the Buccaneers before being non-tendered as a restricted free agent, and he’ll reunite with former Tampa Bay offensive line coach George Warhop, who now holds the same title in Jacksonville. While the Jaguars are set at left tackle with Cam Robinson, the club has a wide open slot on the right side following the release of Jermey Parnell, so Wester could compete for a starting job.

Wester, 26, went undrafted out of Missouri Western State in 2016. He’s appeared in 27 NFL games (all with the Buccaneers), but hasn’t been asked to play much of a significant role, as he’s made only one start during his career. In 2018, Wester played 116 offensive snaps, which marked a career-high, but Pro Football Focus assigned him a poor grade of 46.6 for his performance.

Before signing with the Jaguars, Wester also worked out for the Lions, Chiefs, and Falcons, according to Greg Auman of The Athletic (Twitter links).

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

First Two AAF Players Sign NFL Deals

That didn’t take long. Just a few hours after the AAF announced it would allow players to start signing NFL contracts effective immediately, two players have already inked deals. 

The Chiefs are signing cornerback Keith Reaser, while the Panthers have added receiver Rashad Ross, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (Twitter links). In a separate tweet, Schefter notes that Reaser is getting $100K upfront guaranteed in the form of various bonuses. That’s a significant chunk of change, and indicates Kansas City likely had competition for Reaser’s services.

Reaser comes from the Orlando Apollos, the team coached by Steve Spurrier that had the best regular season record before the AAF suspended operations. Ross comes from the Arizona Hotshots, and was one of the best players in the league before it shut down. He had multiple huge games, and was dominating AAF defenses.

Reaser spent parts of the 2017 and 2018 seasons with the Chiefs, so there’s some familiarity there. He was originally drafted by the 49ers in the fifth round back in 2014. He spent most of the 2017 season on the practice squad, and was released with an injury settlement early last season. Ross was a 2013 undrafted free agent, who received his most run with the Redskins back in 2015 when he returned kicks and caught eight passes for 184 yards. The Arizona State product was with the Cardinals for part of last offseason, but hasn’t appeared in a regular season game since 2016.

The two are likely the first of many who will sign NFL contracts in the coming days and weeks. While the league was ultimately unsuccessful, it clearly was helpful to a good number of players in getting them back on NFL radars. Reaser has already landed more than an AAF salary, and there will surely be more to follow.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Minor NFL Transactions: 4/3/19

Today’s minor moves:

Atlanta Falcons

Cleveland Browns

Green Bay Packers

Kansas City Chiefs

  • Re-signed (ERFA): WR Marcus Kemp
  • Waived: CB Step Durham

New York Giants

New York Jets

Miami Dolphins

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Browns Trade Emmanuel Ogbah To Chiefs

Emmanuel Ogbah stayed away from the Browns’ voluntary workout on Monday with the expectation that he would be traded in the near future. As it turns out, the near future arrived in a matter of hours. The Browns have traded the defensive end to the Chiefs in exchange for safety Eric Murray, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (on Twitter). 

After a foot injury ended his 2017 season, Ogbah suffered an ankle malady early in 2018. The former second-round bounced back, however, and delivered three sacks in 14 games (all starts).Ogbah has 12.5 career sacks to his credit and will have an opportunity to make an impact in KC.

There was no room for Ogbah in Cleveland with Myles Garrett and Olivier Vernon as the starting bookends and Chad ThomasChris Smith, and Anthony Zettel supporting the high-profile duo. He follows wide receiver Ricardo Louis and safety Derrick Kindred, other relics of the Sashi Brown era, out the door.

In the swap, the Chiefs and Browns each traded from a surplus to fill a weakness. The Browns were able to part with a DE after adding Vernon and the Chiefs have extra ammo at safety thanks to the addition of Tyrann Mathieu. Even without Eric Berry, the Chiefs were able to part with a supporting safety, enabling them to bolster a pass rush that no longer features Dee Ford or Justin Houston.

Murray, 25, made a career-high nine starts last season as he logged 55 tackles and two pass deflections. He graded out as Pro Football Focus’ No. 50 ranked safety in the NFL out of 93 eligible players, positioning him as a starting-caliber player.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.