On March 16, just two days before the official opening of NFL free agency, the Kansas City Chiefs picked up the $2.3 million club option on their starting RB Damien Williams. This move ensured that the team’s Super Bowl LIV star would return to Kansas City for the 2020 season and provide some stability in the backfield.
Andy Reid’s stable of rushers will likely take on a much different look next season, as part-time starter LeSean McCoy and backup Spencer Ware remain on the open market and are unlikely to return. Kansas City currently has six running backs under contract, three of whom – Elijah McGuire, Mike Weber and Marcus Marshall – are on future/reserve contracts and spent time on the practice squad in 2019.
According to Yahoo Sports senior NFL writer Terez Paylor, the Chiefs have agreed to bring in another running back to compete for snaps this offseason, and potentially beyond.
Washington originally entered the league in 2016 when the then-Oakland Raiders drafted him in the fifth round (No. 143 overall) out of Texas Tech. That’s right – the 27-year-old was college teammates with Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes. In four pro seasons, the 5’8,” 210-pound back has primarily functioned as a complementary option, before receiving the opportunity to start in place of injured rookie RB Josh Jacobs for three games last season.
Washington has compiled 1,122 rushing yards and seven touchdowns on 282 carries in 55 career games (five starts). The fifth-year playmaker is also a capable receiver, having caught a career-best 36 passes for 292 yards in 2019, bringing his career total to 88 receptions for 613 yards. Washington has fumbled just four times on 370 total touches.
While the Chiefs remain in the bottom five in available salary cap space among the league’s 32 teams, Washington is a versatile, low-cost option with limited tread on the tires. Terms of the short-term deal with the Chiefs were not immediately available, but Washington’s rookie contract paid out $2.6 million over four years with the Raiders. Over The Cap pegs the Chiefs’ available funds at approximately $3.2 million as of writing.
Patrick Mahomes Welcomes His Newest (Old) Teammate
Whenever players and coaches are allowed back into the team facility, Washington will be reunited with Mahomes. The two played together for two seasons (2014-15) at Texas Tech before the veteran running back entered the NFL Draft following his senior campaign.
Upon receiving word of the signing on Wednesday afternoon, the Chiefs MVP passer took to Twitter to give his friend a warm welcome.
The Houston, Texas native spent five years with the Red Raiders after redshirting his second year in 2012. After limited action as a true freshman in 2011, Washington took a larger roll in 2013, rushing for 485 yards on 107 carries in 12 games. He truly broke out during his final two seasons while posting back-to-back 1,000-yard campaigns, the first back to achieve the feat for the school since 1995-96.
For more NFL updates, follow Chris Licata on Twitter: @Chris__Licata