Chiefs Veteran Ditches KC for Sean Payton & Rival Broncos

Michael Burton

Getty Former Kansas City Chiefs fullback Michael Burton warms up before a game in 2022.

The Kansas City Chiefs lost a veteran member of their roster to the AFC West rival Denver Broncos on March 14.

NFL Network insider Ian Rapoport reported the news, informing: “Fullback news! The Broncos are signing FB Mike Burton to a 1-year deal, source said. He reunites with Sean Payton, who he was with in New Orleans.”

Burton had been an active contributor the past two seasons in Kansas City, appearing in 16 games in 2021 and 17 in 2022 according to Pro Football Reference. He didn’t touch the ball much over that span but was utilized successfully as a short-yardage blocker in key situations.

In the end, the eight-year NFL fullback finished his Chiefs career with 165 snaps on offense and 445 on special teams, with 33 rushing yards, one rushing touchdown, 12 first downs, and five of six receptions for 42 yards. Burton also left with a Super Bowl ring after the 2023 victory over the Philadelphia Eagles.

The experienced blocker and special teamer played under Payton for one season with the Saints in 2020.

Sean Payton Is Remodeling Broncos Quickly in Free Agency

New Denver head coach Sean Payton hasn’t wasted much time with the Broncos, making several moves in the early stages of free agency. As we know, the former Super Bowl champion with the Saints has done this a very long time, coaching his way to a .631 winning percentage over 241 games in the process.

So far, it appears Payton is trying to beef up the ground game and the blocking unit — inking offensive linemen Mike McGlinchey and Ben Powers to go along with Burton and former Cincinnati Bengals running back Samaje Perine. The well-respected head coach also brought in a blocking tight end in Chris Manhertz to accompany these integral tools of a strong rushing attack.

Over the course of his partnership with Drew Brees, Payton’s offenses were typically known for their ingenuity in the passing game, but NOLA did lean into running the ball during his final four seasons with the Saints. During that stretch, New Orleans ranked top five in rushing attempts three out of four years, but never finished higher than sixth in yardage.

In 2017, Payton posted the best rushing offense of his head coaching career, finishing fifth in yardage with Mark Ingram and Alvin Kamara leading the way. He also revolutionized Taysom Hill and a tight end-quarterback hybrid position that relied heavily on the read option.

Chiefs Media Reacts to Michael Burton, Broncos News

After Rapoport broke this story, several KC media members commented on it.

The Athletic’s Nate Taylor wrote on the evening of March 14: “The Chiefs needing a new fullback this offseason was not something I anticipated.”

“Another surprise with the Chiefs not bringing back FB Mike Burton,” Chiefs Digest reporter Matt Derrick also chimed in. “Will be interested to see if the Chiefs still stick with a traditional fullback or not. Burton was useful as a blocker in short yardage.”

Finally, USA Today Chiefs Wire editor Charles Goldman replied: “Burton is a great dude. Wish him the best outside of two games next season. Will link with him for a little Chiefs send-off article soon. Still need to ask him about that split back look in the Super Bowl.”

The loss of Burton is not necessarily a major one, but it does pose two interesting questions. One — will Kansas City be in the market to sign another fullback? And two — are the Broncos a team to watch out for under the tutelage of Payton?