Analyst: Chiefs Draft Pick Coming Off of Career Year Could be Cut

Getty Kansas City Chiefs defensive end Mike Danna.

The Kansas City Chiefs were diligent in adding edge rushers this offseason, which is evident through the signing of Charles Omenihu during free agency and drafting Felix Anudike-Uzomah and B.J. Thompson in the 2023 NFL Draft.

Due to several additions at the position, Chris Trapasso of CBS Sports believes fourth-year defensive end Mike Danna’s roster spot is now in jeopardy despite coming off of a career year.

“Of course, given their clear win-now status, Kansas City is much more likely to keep veteran pieces than let them go, and Danna has been a good soldier on outstanding Chiefs teams,” Trapasso wrote on May 11. “But clearing close to $3M could be enticing for GM Brett Veach, and we can’t forget Kansas acquired Charles Omenihu this offseason”

Mike Danna Has Shown Steady Improvement

Mike Danna, 25, was a fifth-round draft pick of the Chiefs in 2020. Since then, he has established himself as a solid role player for the defending Super Bowl champions and has steadily improved in each of his first three seasons in the league.

In 2020, Danna accumulated 15 quarterback pressures (9 QB hurries, 3 QB hits, 3 sacks) and 12 stops in 13 regular season games played according to PFF. In 2021, he registered 22 QB pressures (12 QB hurries, 7 QB hits, 3 sacks), 12 stops, and 2 forced fumbles in 17 regular season games played. In 2022, he recorded 35 QB pressures (25 QB hurries, 5 QB hits, 5 sacks), 17 stops, and 2 forced fumbles in 13 regular season games played.

The addition of Charles Omenihu and Felix Anudike-Uzomah has seemingly pushed Danna down the depth chart. And if B.J. Thompson develops into a key role player then Danna will be pushed down the depth chart even further. So, it would make sense for the Chiefs to at least consider parting ways with Danna — whether it’s through a release or trade — especially when considering their current cap situation.

According to Over The Cap’s effective cap space (the cap space a team will have after signing at least 51 players and its projected rookie class to its roster), the Chiefs are $470, 244 over the cap as it currently stands.

If Kansas City did cut Danna — whether it was pre or post-June 1 — the team would save $2.74 million in cap space per OTC.

As it stands, the Chiefs’ defensive end room consists of Omenihu, Anudike-Uzomah, Thompson, George Karlaftis, Joshua Kaindoh, Malik Herring, and Truman Jones.

Chiefs 2023 Free Agency Tracker

Here is a list of the players the Chiefs have signed during free agency thus far (excluding undrafted rookies), along with their contracts according to Over The Cap:

  • OT Jawaan Taylor (4 years, $80 million)
  • DE Charles Omenihu (2 years, $20 million)
  • S Mike Edwards (1 year, $3 million)
  • LB Drue Tranquill (1 year, $5 million)
  • DT Tershawn Wharton (1 year, $2 million)
  • OL Nick Allegretti (1 year, $2.5 million)
  • OL Prince Tea Wanogho (tendered)
  • TE Jody Fortson (tendered)
  • QB Shane Buechele (tendered)
  • DT Derrick Nnadi (1 year, $1.2 million)
  • TE Blake Bell (1 year, $1.1 million)
  • DT Byron Cowart (1 year, $1.08 million)
  • DT Phil Hoskins (1 year, $940,000)
  • S Deon Bush (1 year, $1.3 million)
  • WR Richie James (1 year, $1.2 million)
  • WR Justin Watson (2 years, $3.5 million)
  • QB Blaine Gabbert (1 year, $1.1 million)
  • RB Jerick McKinnon (1 year, $1.16 million)
  • OT Donovan Smith (1 year, $3 million)
  • OT Sebastian Gutierrez (1 year, $870,000)
  • CB Lamar Jackson (1 year, $940,000)

Here are the former Chiefs players that remain free agents:

  • DE Frank Clark
  • DE Carlos Dunlap
  • DT Brandon Williams
  • LB Darius Harris
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