Chiefs Sign Former Division-Rival TE Ahead of Regular-Season Finale

Arrowhead Stadium

Getty Arrowhead Stadium, where Armani Watts played for the last four seasons.

The Kansas City Chiefs added yet another tight end to their practice squad ahead of their regular-season finale.

The Chiefs signed tight end Matt Bushman to their practice squad, according to the sports agency that represents him, Endurance Management.

“Once of the hardest working Tight End’s in football, @mbush89 has signed with the @Chiefs! A number of teams had reached out to Matt! Congrats Matt! Endurance Sports Management: ‘It’s not just representation, it’s Family!'” Endurance Management wrote on Wednesday, January 4. 

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As a former BYU product, Bushman entered the NFL as an undrafted rookie in 2021. Bushman, 26, had his first stint in the NFL with the Las Vegas Raiders. After playing with the Chiefs’ division rivals over the summer, Bushman was cut and then added to Las Vegas’ practice squad at the transition of the preseason to the regular season.

Bushman remained in Las Vegas for a majority of the season and was active for the Raiders’ games in Weeks 7 and 13. In Week 7 he played 11 total offensive snaps, and in Week 13 he didn’t see the field, per Pro Football Reference.

The Raiders then released Bushman from the practice squad on December 23.


Why Are Chiefs Stocking up on Tight Ends?

Before Kansas City brought Bushman aboard, they had three tight ends on the 53-man roster — Travis Kelce, Blake Bell, and rookie Noah Gray — and another two on the practice squad — Nakia Griffin-Stewart and Mark Vital. So why add a sixth tight end to the team?

None of the tight ends on the active roster appeared on Kansas City’s first injury report of Week 18. So injuries likely aren’t the reason for the addition of Bushman. Practice squad cornerback Josh Jackson tested positive for COVID-19 on Wednesday, January 5, which opened up a temporary spot on the practice squad for another player. But again, that didn’t create a need for another tight end.

However, the Chiefs are potentially anticipating sitting some starters in the regular-season finale.


Chiefs Preparing for Broncos

The Chiefs’ eight-game win streak came to an end in Week 17, and they were also de-throned as the No. 1 seed in the AFC courtesy of the Tennessee Titans. Now entering the regular-season finale as the No. 2 seed in the conference, Kansas City will face the division-rival Denver Broncos.

The Broncos are preparing for third-year quarterback Drew Lock to be under center against Kansas City, as Teddy Bridgewater was placed on injured reserve earlier in the week after suffering a gruesome concussion on December 19 against the Cleveland Browns.

Lock has struggled this season; in five games played he has completed 63% of his passes for 625 yards, two touchdowns, and two interceptions, per Pro Football Reference.

Due to his underwhelming efforts this season, the Broncos’ offense will likely be stagnant in Week 18, which may lead to an early, commanding lead for the Chiefs and could result in some of Kansas City’s starters being pulled before the game is over. That opens an opportunity for someone like Bushman or one of the other practice squad tight ends to be active for the regular-season finale.

If Kansas City wins in Week 18 and the Titans lose, then the Chiefs can re-claim the No. 1 seed in the AFC entering the postseason. However, depending on how the games for the Chiefs, Titans, Cincinnati Bengals, and Buffalo Bills play out, the Chiefs could finish anywhere between the No. 1 and No. 4 seeds entering the playoffs.

The Titans close out their regular season facing the Houston Texans. The Bengals play the Browns, and the Bills play the New York Jets.

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