Chiefs Bulk Trenches With 2 Veteran Signings, Cut Reserve RB

Andrew Billings, Patrick Mahomes

Getty Former Cincinnati Bengals defensive tackle Andrew Billings sacks Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes.

The Kansas City Chiefs cleared some roster space on January 18, releasing four reserves off the practice squad.

Those players were linebackers Shilique Calhoun and Elijah Sullivan, cornerback Josh Jackson, and tight end Nakia Stewart-Griffin — per Rob Collins of Fox 4 Kansas City.

At the time, we noted that Chiefs GM Brett Veach was likely freeing up room for some reinforcements and just one day later, that appears to be true.

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Chiefs Add 7-Plus Years of Experience

Kansas City decided to bulk up both sides of the trenches on January 19. According to NFL insider Field Yates, “the Chiefs have added a pair of veterans to their practice squad: DT Andrew Billings and OT Roderick Johnson.”

Running back Elijah McGuire was also cut from the practice squad during the exchange. The former sixth-rounder of the New York Jets has yo-yoed on and off the KC roster multiple times since 2019.

Between Billings and Johnson, Veach has supplemented his offensive and defensive line with seven-plus years of combined NFL experience. The former was drafted by the Cincinnati Bengals in the fourth round of the 2016 draft. The latter was a Cleveland Browns fifth-rounder in 2017.

Per KSHB 41 News producer Nick Jacobs: “Johnson spent a majority of his time with the Texans. Billings is a [one] tech DT that has spent time with the Browns, Bengals and Dolphins.”

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More on the Signings

Diving deeper, Billings accumulated 3.5 sacks in three active seasons with the Bengals from 2017-19. The defensive tackle totaled 80 tackles over that span, with 12 quarterback hits in 37 starts. That level of production earned him a one-year, $3.5 million deal with the Browns.

Unfortunately, things never really worked out for the former Baylor product in Cleveland. After opting out in 2020, Billings had virtually no impact in 2021 as a rotational piece. He logged one tackle in six appearances (72 defensive snaps) and was waived by mid-November.

Before taking a year off, the run-stuffer was turning into a solid NFL defender with Pro Football Focus grades of 71.1 and 69.3 in back-to-back campaigns (run defense: 68.8 and 68.4). Things seemed to fall off a cliff upon his return, however, with a 47.5 overall in 2021.

Billings will hope to get another opportunity with the Chiefs after the failure in Cleveland and a brief stint on the Miami Dolphins practice squad.

Johnson was a hulking 6-foot-6 figure out of Florida State. He spent his rookie season on the injured reserve, like Billings, and was waived by the Browns before his second training camp.

The Texans wasted no time claiming the offensive tackle, redshirting him most of 2018. Johnson finally received a taste of NFL action from 2019-20 with six starts and 28 appearances, as well as 610 offensive snaps.

The blocker split time between right tackle and left tackle over his two years of usage and had above-average run blocking marks on PFF (68.0 and 73.9). Pass protection was where he struggled, allowing four sacks and 28 quarterback pressures over 403 pass-blocking snaps.

The pair has shown potential throughout their time in the league. Perhaps, one or both can find a role with the Chiefs and a more permanent home in Kansas City.

Chiefs Make Things Official With Finke

Kansas City made one more move official today. Former Notre Dame undrafted wide receiver Chris Finke visited the Chiefs on January 18 and things must have gone well because Veach signed him to a futures contract on the 19th.

Jacobs detailed the transaction: “The Chiefs have signed WR Chris Finke to a reserve/future deal. He spent time with the team last offseason.”


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