In completely overhauling its offensive line this offseason, the Kansas City Chiefs addressed the biggest Achilles heel exposed by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Super Bowl LV. Perhaps the weakest remaining area of the roster standing in the way of a Super Bowl rematch next February is the Chiefs’ cornerback group.
Outside of trading for former first-rounder Mike Hughes from the Minnesota Vikings on May 13, the reigning AFC champions have not significantly improved a unit already down Bashaud Breeland — though FanSided’s Matt Verderame has since reported that the door isn’t yet closed on the team’s former No. 1 cover man returning in 2021. However, it now appears Kansas City won’t be retaining another defensive back from last season’s roster.
According to ESPN insider Adam Schefter on Sunday, May 16, former Chiefs cornerback and special teams ace Antonio Hamilton has agreed to a one-year contract to join the Buccaneers.
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Hamilton Was a Tryout at Bucs Rookie Minicamp
The 28-year-old free agent was one of five tryout players invited to Buccaneers rookie minicamp on May 13, effectively ending any chance of returning to Kansas City next season.
Hamilton signed a one-year, $1 million deal with the Chiefs last March and went on to tally 12 combined tackles and one pass breakup in 16 games while playing the second-most special teams snaps (330) on the team, trailing only Armani Watts. Excelling as a punt team gunner, he most recently played 24 special teams snaps against Tampa in Super Bowl LV.
The five-year veteran originally entered the league as an undrafted free agent out of South Carolina State University. Prior to joining the Chiefs, Hamilton spent two seasons with both the then-Oakland Raiders (2016-17) and New York Giants (2018-19). According to Pro Football Focus, Hamilton was the sixth-best overall special teamer in the NFL in 2019, earning a grade of 80.2 while playing 373 special teams snaps, seventh-most across the league.
Like his previous landing spots, Hamilton is expected to compete for a backup corner job under Bucs defensive coordinator Todd Bowles, though his primary role will come on special teams should he make the club’s final roster.
Following Hamilton’s departure, the Chiefs’ cornerback room now consists of L’Jarius Sneed, Charavius Ward, Rashad Fenton, DeAndre Baker, BoPete Keyes, Alex Brown, Hughes and three newly signed undrafted free agents: Marlon Character, Dicaprio Bootle and Jaylon McClain-Sapp.
Chiefs Reveal Rookie Jersey Numbers for 2021
With Chiefs rookies now taking part in live on-field action in preparation for upcoming OTA workouts (May 25-27, June 1-3 and June 8-11) and mandatory minicamp (June 15-17), the team has revealed jersey numbers for its newest additions via the 2021 NFL draft:
The Chiefs were the drivers behind an offseason rule change passed by NFL owners on April 21 in which running backs, wide receivers, tight ends, linebackers and defensive backs are now permitted to wear single-digit jersey numbers. However, neither Bolton, Gray or Powell will be taking advantage of the change in year one.
Chris Licata is an NFL contributor covering the Kansas City Chiefs from enemy territory in Denver, Colorado. Follow him on Twitter @Chris__Licata or join the Heavy on Chiefs Facebook community for the latest out of Chiefs Kingdom!