Still fresh off a gut-punch Super Bowl loss on Sunday, the Kansas City Chiefs can now turn their full attention to an offseason that isn’t expected to feature as many big names as last year. On Tuesday, the team — which has already signed five players to future contracts in recent weeks — continued shaping the roster ahead of free agency, the NFL Draft and spring workouts.
According to the NFL’s official transaction report for February 9, the Chiefs have brought back an additional 10 players on reserve/future contracts.
Where Do They Fit In?
All 10 players spent time on Kansas City’s practice squad at some point during the 2020 campaign, including the group’s headliner Baker, a 2019 first-round draft pick of the New York Giants currently recovering from a broken femur suffered in Week 17.
While their return to the team is imminent, reserve/future contracts don’t officially take effect until the first day of the new league year on March 17, also the first day of free agency. The group will now join quarterbacks Jordan Ta’amu and Anthony Gordon, wide receivers Antonio Callaway and Chad Williams, offensive tackle Prince Tega Wanagho and the remainder of the team’s contracted players this offseason in hopes for a spot on the 2021 roster.
With Kansas City likely needing to shed somewhere between $17-22 million off their financial books in the coming months, there will almost certainly be one or more surprising veteran cap casualties, which could open the door for some younger, cost-effective players to step in. Given the level of familiarity with the Chiefs system that many of these new signings already possess, it’s very possible that at least a couple could battle their way into 53-man roster spots this summer.
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Chiefs Lose Key Assistant Coach to College Ranks
After another head coach hiring cycle gone by with offensive coordinator Eric Bieneiemy left on the (Chiefs) sidelines, Andy Reid’s staff is likely to remain mostly intact heading into next season.
However, the team did suffer its first coaching loss earlier this week when third-year running backs coach Deland McCullough departed for the University of Indiana, as confirmed by the school.
— Indiana Football (@IndianaFootball) February 8, 2021
Prior to signing on with the Chiefs in 2018, McCullough, 48, spent the majority of his career in the collegiate coaching ranks, including a previous stint as Indiana’s running backs coach from 2011-16. This time around, he’ll add associate head coach to his title working alongside the school’s current head coach Tom Allen.
“That was a main attraction outside of the bigger picture of IU,” McCullough told The Daily Hoosier this week. “Since I’ve been with the Chiefs I’ve had at least three opportunities to go back to college every year. It made no sense for me to go back and be a pure running backs coach, because I can stay where I was and do that at the highest level with the Chiefs. So the opportunity to be an associate head coach at IU specifically was very strong to me because I know Tom [Allen] and the administration would support me and I could continue to grow and have an impact beyond the running back room.”
Following the news on Monday, the former undrafted NFL running back took to Twitter give thanks to his supporters inside and out of Chiefs Kingdom.
— Deland McCullough (@coachdmc) February 9, 2021
McCullough was certainly a respected teacher during his time in Kansas City, and this 2018 ESPN feature highlighting his search for his biological parents speaks even more to the man he is off the field. Coming off of a 6-2 shortened season in 2020, the Hoosiers will now look to McCullough for helping stringing together a third consecutive winning season following 11 straight losing records from 2008-18.
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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!