Chiefs’ Former Draft Pick Departs KC After Career Year: Report

Getty Kansas City Chiefs defensive tackle Khalen Saunders.

The Kansas City Chiefs have lost one of their big personalities on the defensive side of the football.

Defensive tackle Khalen Saunders is signing with the New Orleans Saints, according to NFL Media’s Tom Pelissero on March 15.

Saunders, 26, went to high school at Parkway Central in Missouri and played his college ball at Western Illinois. He entered the NFL as a third-round pick by the Chiefs in 2019.

Over the last four seasons, Saunders accumulated 25 total pressures (16 QB hurries, 5 sacks, 4 QB hits) and 39 stops in 38 regular season games played, according to PFF. He is coming off of a career year, however, as he registered 15 total pressures (7 QB hurries, 4 sacks, 4 QB hits) and 20 stops in 16 regular season games during the 2022 season.

During Kansas City’s recent Super Bowl run, Saunders recorded 3 total pressures (2 QB hits, 1 sack) and 2 stops in three games played.

Current State of Chiefs Defensive Line

On March 14, the Chiefs re-signed defensive tackle Tershawn Wharton to a one-year, $2 million deal, which was first reported by Ari Meirov of The 33rd Team. Then late in the night of March 14, Kansas City signed former San Francisco 49ers defensive end Charles Omenihu two a two-year deal that will give him a maximum of $20 million, according to Jordan Schultz of the Score.

Prior to Tuesday, Chris Jones was the only defensive tackle on the Chiefs’ roster that played meaningful snaps during the 2022 season and was also under contract through the 2023 season. Khalen Saunders, Brandon Williams, and Derrick Nandi were free agents heading into the legal tampering period, and Saunders is currently the only one that has signed a new deal.

After the release of Frank Clark, the defending Super Bowl champions’ defensive end room is now led by George Karlaftis, Mike Danna, Malik Herring, and Omenihu.

Khalen Saunders Reacts to Signing With Saints

After news broke of Khalen Saunders signing with the Saints, Saunders took to Twitter to react to the news.

“And that’s right there is what i like to call GODDDDDDD,” Saunders wrote.

Other Twitter users reacted to Saunders signing with New Orleans.

“Congrats on all your success. Went to Parkway North, loved watching you play for the Chiefs,” another user wrote. “Wish you could have stayed, but happy for you and your family! Good Luck in NOLA!”

“I will deeply miss you in KC, but I’m so proud to have watched you the last few years,” another user wrote. You’ve earned this [money]! Best of luck! Thanks for everything”

“Congratulations on your payday! You deserve it! So gonna miss you on the Chiefs but I can still cheer for you on the saints! And you get to play with Honey badger again!” another user wrote.

“I wish you weren’t leaving bro, but go crush it in NO! You got a lot of fans for life from chiefs Kingdom,” another user wrote. “Good luck! And tell them to get you an offensive TD! Sad we weren’t able to get you one in KC lol.”

“You’re always going to be a Chief Big Man. Go do your thing in the BIG Easy. Hope we see you in the Super Bowl soon. Much love,” another user wrote.

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