Although it remains unclear when the NFL may return to its normal operations, the roster improvement process continues on. For the Kansas City Chiefs, that has looked a bit different than most other organizations this offseason. With an emphasis on retaining much of their in-house talent, the defending Super Bowl champions have made minimal outside additions to date.
On Wednesday, Kansas City did come to terms with a pair of free agents, headlined by former Las Vegas Raiders RB DeAndre Washington, who is expected to compete for snaps behind starting RB Damien Williams.
With the second move, the Chiefs have opened the door for a possible competition at the punter position. As first reported by NFL Draft Diamonds and later confirmed by Kansas City Star beat writer Herbie Teope, Kansas City has agreed to a one-year deal with free agent punter Tyler Newsome.
Newsome’s most recent NFL experience came last season in the form of a tryout with the Los Angeles Chargers. The 24-year-old lost out on a preseason competition to Ty Long, who went on to punt 48 times and even convert 7-of-9 field goals in emergency kicking duty during the 2019 regular season.
Newsome has posted a career average of 44.0 yards per punt with 75 punts landing inside the 20-yard line during his four-year collegiate career at Notre Dame. A power-based punter standing at 6’3,” 219 pounds, Newsome finished top-10 in the nation in hang time and posted 30 – yes, 30 – bench press reps of 225 pounds during the pre-draft process. Per NFL.com, he also overcame some significant obstacles during his high school days.
Newsome is lucky to be alive. He spent 17 days in the hospital after a car accident in May 2012, where he suffered several injuries including a fractured tailbone and ruptured spleen. He spent many months rehabbing those injuries, however, and eventually became an all-state kicker in Georgia. Notre Dame offered him a punting scholarship before he took over that position as a senior.
Newsome will now presumably challenge the Chiefs’ longest-tenured player, Dustin Colquitt, for punting duties. The 15-year veteran is coming off of another solid performance in 2019, but will enter his age 38 season in 2020 carrying a $2.65 million salary cap hit (Spotrac). The two-time Pro Bowler is scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent following the upcoming season.
With the rise of the Chiefs’ Patrick Mahomes-led offense, Colquitt has seen nearly 20 fewer attempts in each of the past two seasons as his previous career-low of 65 punt attempts (2005 and 2017). The addition of Newsome marks the second consecutive offseason that Kansas City has brought in competition for their 2005 third-round pick, who beat out undrafted free agent Jack Fox last year.
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