Chiefs Rumors

Reid Expects Hill To Play In Week 15

  • With a home game against the Chargers and a road tilt in Seattle, the Chiefs have a tough back-to-back assignment coming up. Their top wide receiver likely will not be 100 percent for those games. Tyreek Hill said Sunday, via NBC Sports’ Peter King, his foot was “bad.” Hill left Sunday’s overtime win because of injury but returned, and Andy Reid expects the deep threat to play against the Bolts on Thursday. The Chiefs possessed a top-flight skill-position quartet, powering Patrick Mahomes‘ MVP candidacy, this season. But they are now without Kareem Hunt and Sammy Watkins, the latter likely out until the playoffs. Hill has not missed an NFL game due to injury. A Hill absence would make Kansas City vulnerable against a Chargers team that would move into an 11-3 tie atop the AFC West with a win. That said, the Chiefs would still hold the divisional-record tiebreaker and keep the top spot.

Chiefs CEO On Release Of Kareem Hunt

Speaking for the first time publicly on the release of Kareem Hunt, Chiefs CEO Clark Hunt admitted the team knew about all three of the running back’s offseason incidents (via Brooke Pryor of the Kansas City Star). The CEO also hinted that the organization was instructed by the NFL to allow the league office to handle the investigation.

We did know about that, yes, we were familiar with all three of the incidents that he had had in the offseason,” said Clark Hunt. “They’d all been reported to the NFL, and the NFL was investigating them.”

At the start of the season, two known offseason incidents involving the running back were known – an altercation at a Kansas City nightclub and the ugly hotel brawl in February. The Chiefs have been long aware that Hunt also allegedly punched a man in the face in June, even though that did not surface publicly until earlier this month. Of course, the Chiefs say they did not see the footage of the hotel incident until it was leaked on Nov. 30, which is why Hunt was on the roster until that fateful day.

I don’t think we were necessarily trying to make a statement, we just felt that the best thing for the Kansas City Chiefs moving forward was for us to part ways with Kareem,” Clark Hunt said. “We were obviously shocked by the video, like anybody who saw it, and we’d had some issues with Kareem not being truthful with what happened that night, and we just really felt for everybody’s best interests we needed to head in a different direction.”

Now a free agent, Kareem Hunt is undergoing counseling for anger management and alcohol use and attending women’s group sessions. It’s unlikely that Hunt will be signed until he is formally suspended by the NFL, but several teams have already reached out to him and will continue to monitor his progress. Ray Rice was not given a second chance in the NFL after video of his assault made international headlines, but league sources expect him to suit up in 2019, according to Jason La Canfora of CBSSports.com.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Eric Berry Expected To Return In Week 15

  • The Chiefs and Chargers will play each other in a pivotal Week 15 bout this Thursday. La Canfora tweets that Kansas City safety Eric Berry and Los Angeles running back Melvin Gordon will both be on the field for that game, although both are inactive today.
  • Former Chiefs running back Kareem Hunt is undergoing counseling for anger management and alcohol use, and he is also being mentored by a pastor and attending women’s group sessions as he attempts to prove to the league that he is ready for another opportunity. La Canfora says that no one is expected to sign Hunt until the league announces his suspension for three separate incidents, but that several teams have already reached out to him and will continue to monitor his progress and recovery. JLC’s sources say they expect Hunt to play in 2019, and Hunt himself is reportedly eager to assist the league in its investigations.

Berry Set To Return Against Chargers

  • The Chiefs have been very patient with star safety Eric Berry, and he appears to finally be nearing a return. Berry has sat the entire season with a heel injury, but the team never placed him on injured reserve. While Berry is unlikely to play tomorrow against the Ravens, he is “very likely” to make his season debut on Thursday against the Chargers, according to Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports (Twitter link). One of the best safeties in the NFL when he’s healthy, it would be the first game Berry has played in since Week 1 of last season if he’s able to return for the pivotal AFC West clash that could determine who wins the division.

Owners To Revisit How NFL Conducts Investigations?

In the wake of the Kareem Hunt incident, some NFL owners want to reconsider how the league handles its investigations into criminal allegations made against players, The Washington Post’s Mark Maske writes

Sources tell Maske those owners would like to revise the league’s investigative methods with the possibility of considering if it should be conducting those investigations in the first place. Though some are interested in rehashing the process, it is not expected to be a large contingent and there is not believed to be a specific agenda item on the issue at the upcoming owners’ meeting in Dallas on Wednesday.

“It’s certainly an issue that needs discussion,” said one of those people with knowledge of those owners’ views, speaking on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the topic. “Is there a way to do this better? If not, should the NFL even be in the investigative business?”

The NFL faced heavy scrutiny after security footage from a February 2018 incident at a Cleveland hotel surfaced last week of Hunt shoving a woman to the ground and kicking her. In its original investigation, the league was unable to obtain the footage to review and did not question the running back about the incident. Hunt was not punished when the incident first came to light, but after the release of the video he was placed on the Commissioners’ Exempt List and was released immediately by the Chiefs.

Maske notes the hurdles the NFL faces in conducting these independent investigations since it does not have subpoena power.

Among the leaders of the charge by the owners could be Jerry Jones, who was openly dissatisfied with the way the league handled investigation into star Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott in 2017 that resulted in a six-game suspension and a drawn-out appeals process.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Latest On Chiefs, Kareem Hunt

In the wake of the leaked Kareem Hunt footage, many are questioning the thoroughness of investigations by the Chiefs and the NFL. According to one source who spoke with Kevin Van Valkenburg and Michael Rothstein of ESPN.com, the Chiefs were instructed to stand down on their fact-finding by the NFL, who insisted that the league office would handle the investigation. 

[RELATED: More Allegations Against Kareem Hunt]

The NFL’s protocol, according to the source, is for the league to handle such investigations. Of course, it’s fair to wonder if the security tape would have been discovered sooner had the Chiefs been directed to pursue it in tandem with the NFL. It’s also unclear whether the Chiefs’ hands were really tied in the matter – if they wanted to press the hotel for the video or further information, it’s unlikely that the league could have stopped them.

As Van Valkenburg and Rothstein note, the Hunt situation may be even messier for the NFL than the Ray Rice incident. The league built up its investigative arm after Rice’s assault to better handle serious off-the-field incidents, but that system clearly failed in the case of Hunt. Hunt, who is now unemployed, will have to answer for the disturbing February incident as well as two other allegations of violence in the last 13 months.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Chiefs WR Sammy Watkins To Miss Time

Chiefs wide receiver Sammy Watkins is expected to miss four-to-six weeks with a foot injury, according to Sam Mellinger of the Kansas City Star (on Twitter). That would explain why the Chiefs signed Kelvin Benjamin to a prorated one-year deal earlier this week. 

The Chiefs signed Watkins to a whopping three-year, $48MM deal this offseason with $30MM fully guaranteed at signing. In typical fashion, Watkins has provided glimpses of brilliance and ineffectiveness due to injury. At his best, Watkins is an absolute game-changer, as evidenced by his eight catches for 107 receiving yards and two scores against the Broncos in late October.

This, however, is the other side of the coin. Watkins will have to rest up the foot that has plagued him since 2015 and the Chiefs will hope that he’s ready to go in time for the playoffs.

The Chiefs, of course, still have plenty of firepower even without Watkins or embattled running back Kareem Hunt on the field. Patrick Mahomes has been sensation, Tyreek Hill is too fast for anyone to guard consistently, and Travis Kelce has been playing out of his mind lately. Benjamin may not be a proper one-for-one substitute for Watkins, but there’s upside there as well, and he’ll be motivated to showcase his skills before free agency.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Chiefs Waive DE Jarvis Jenkins

The Chiefs waived defensive end Jarvis Jenkins on Friday morning. The move created room for the newly-acquired Kelvin Benjamin, who is set to make his Chiefs debut on Sunday against the Ravens. 

Jenkins was a hot commodity after he notched four sacks in the 2015 season. He didn’t live up to his two-year, $7MM contract with $3MM guaranteed, but he found a role with the Chiefs after Gang Green let him go in November of 2016. Over the last two years and change, Jenkins has appeared in 30 games for the Chiefs, compiling 20 tackles.

Jenkins will be subject to the waiver wire since the trade deadline has passed. If no one picks him up in the next 24 hours, he’ll be free to sign with any club.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Austin Reiter Extension Details

  • Austin Reiter‘s two-year extension with the Chiefs has a maximum value of $5.5MM, tweets Ian Rapoport of NFL.com. Reiter, a reserve offensive lineman, will receive a $1MM signing bonus that, as Joel Corry of CBSSports.com notes (via Twitter) will prorate over three seasons given that Reiter signed his new deal before the close of the 2018 campaign. Reiter, 27, was projected to become a restricted free agent next spring, but he’ll now get a little more financial security instead of a non-guaranteed RFA tag. He started four games at center for Kansas City earlier this year while Mitch Morse was injured.

Chiefs To Sign WR Kelvin Benjamin

The Chiefs have agreed to sign free agent wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (Twitter links). Benjamin’s deal will run through the end of the 2018 season.

Kansas City had been on the lookout for wide receiver depth as Sammy Watkins continues to battle a foot injury. Watkins played only a handful of snaps in the Chiefs’ Week 11 loss to the Rams, and — even following a bye in Week 12 — was still unable to play in Week 13. He’s put in limited practice sessions so far this week, but Kansas City needed reinforcements behind Tyreek Hill, where the Chiefs are light on options outside out of Chris Conley.

Benjamin, 27, went unclaimed on waivers after the Bills cut him earlier this week, but that was hardly surprising given his contract. As a former first-round pick, Benjamin was locked into a guaranteed base salary that didn’t necessarily reflect his current market value. Any team that claimed him would have been responsible for the remainder of that salary, which would have come out to roughly $2MM. Now, the Chiefs are likely signing Benjamin at the league minimum rate, while the Bills — provided typical NFL contract language was used — will receive a small cap credit in 2019 thanks to offset language.

Even factoring in his draft pedigree, Benjamin doesn’t offer much in the way of upside and has historically had problems with his conditioning. Additionally, nearly every wide receiver metric has Benjamin near the bottom of the list. Among wideouts with at least 50 targets this season, Benjamin ranks dead last in catch rate (his 37.1% rate is more than eight percent greater than the next-worse pass-catcher). He’s 61st among 66 qualifiers in Football Outsiders’ DYAR, which measures value over a replacement level player, and 64th in DVOA, which measures value on a per-play basis.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.