Just hours ahead of a potential Super Bowl preview against the New Orleans Saints, the Kansas City Chiefs put some finishing touches on the Week 15 roster on Saturday.
Highlighting a flurry of moves by the team, former first-round CB DeAndre Baker, who signed with Kansas City one month ago on November 19, is on track to make his much-anticipated Chiefs debut on Sunday. Joining him on the game day roster from the practice squad is LB Emmanuel Smith, while Super Bowl LIV starter OL Stefen Wisniewski and WR Byron Pringle have been elevated to the now-full 53-man roster.
In addition, Patrick Mahomes and company will be without starting RT Mike Remmers, who was downgraded from doubtful after missing the entire week of practice. His likely replacement, undrafted rookie Yasir Durant, would be in line for his first career start after filling in for 24 snaps for the veteran late in last week’s win over the Miami Dolphins.
While starting LT Eric Fisher is still listed as questionable to play, clearing Saturday’s update likely bodes well for the former No. 1 overall pick to suit up against the Saints’ second-ranked defense.
Follow the Heavy on Chiefs Facebook page for the latest breaking news, rumors and content out of Chiefs Kingdom!
Baker Cleared on All Charges From May Incident
The Chiefs emerged as contenders in the Baker sweepstakes — along with the San Francisco 49ers, Cincinnati Bengals and Jacksonville Jaguars — after all charges against the former New York Giants defensive back were dropped on November 16.
The 23-year-old had been facing four counts of robbery with a firearm and a mandatory minimum 10-year sentence stemming from a May incident (detailed here by Bleacher Report) allegedly involving fellow NFL player Quinton Dunbar.
Instead, Florida’s Broward State Attorney’s Office determined that the 2019 first-round pick was being extorted by attorney William Dean, the representative for three of Baker’s four alleged victims. According to ESPN, Dean was then arrested on extortion charges for attempting to coerce Baker to pay more than $266,000 to each of his clients.
Last week, defensive backs coach Sam Madison provided an update on Baker’s progress after nearly a month of learning the “Kansas City Chiefs way.”
“He’s moving along, he’s been coming in here early mornings getting a lot of different coaching points and understanding the defense and throwing a lot of different things at him,” Madison told reporters on December 10, via Chiefs Wire.
“[We] put him out there against our number one wide receivers by being that he’s on the practice squad and he’s answered the call,” said Madison. “Just trying to make sure that he’s on the same page, and like I told you guys before trying to do it our way, the Kansas City Chiefs way and he’s responding. So we’re just going to keep repping him and getting him work, getting his legs back up under because a lot of these guys have a number of weeks on him, because he was out so long.”
Pringle’s Return Marks Latest Change to WR Corps
Pringle, 27, has been sidelined on injured reserve since November 24 with an ankle injury suffered against the Las Vegas Raiders in Week 11. He was back on the practice field this week and has now been fully cleared for action.
His return, while a boost to the Kansas City receiving corps, is hardly the first change to hit the unit this week. On Tuesday, the team waived fourth-year receiver and special teamer Marcus Kemp, who then landed on the Miami Dolphins practice squad a day later.
Wednesday saw the defending Super Bowl champions host workouts for another pair of receivers — Tajae Sharpe and Chad Williams — both of whom were then reportedly signed to the practice squad in the two days following.
Sharpe, a 2016 fifth-round pick of the Tennessee Titans, was recently cut by the Minnesota Vikings after falling behind breakout rookie WR Justin Jefferson and others on the depth chart. More of a possession receiver than a burner, the 25-year-old did show some promise early in his career, catching 41 passes for 522 yards and a pair of touchdowns in 10 starts as a rookie before losing his entire 2017 season to a significant foot injury.
Williams, 26, is more familiar with Andy Reid’s system after a nearly three-week stint on the Chiefs practice squad back in November. The decision to add the aforementioned Baker ultimately came at Williams’ expense when the team parted ways with the fourth-year pass-catcher on November 19. Once a third-round draft pick of the Arizona Cardinals, Williams has compiled 20 receptions for 202 yards and one touchdown in 17 career games (eight starts).
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!