Chiefs Signal Departure of $31 Million Defender After Key Draft Pick

Getty Kansas City Chiefs safety Justin Reid (#20).

The Kansas City Chiefs, like every other NFL team, build for the future through the NFL Draft. That’s why it should come as no surprise that they took advantage of the value on the draft board when they selected safety Jaden Hicks in the fourth round.

Hicks was one of the best players still on the board come day three of the draft. But the selection was much more than just a “best available player” approach by Kansas City’s front office. The draft pick also signaled that veteran safety Justin Reid‘s time with the Chiefs could be over after the 2024 season.

Justin Reid’s Contract Status Made Jaden Hicks Pick a No-Brainer

Reid, 27, signed a three-year, $31.5 million contract with the Chiefs in 2022. Over the last two seasons, Kansas City has gotten its money’s worth from Reid, as he’s been a versatile chess piece for defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo on the backend and has been effective at everything he’s been asked to do.

But Reid’s contract expires after the 2024 season. And based on how some of the highest-paid safeties in the NFL were devalued (AKA cut) this offseason, and the fact that the Chiefs drafted Hicks, Kansas City isn’t expected to re-sign Reid.

Hicks, much like Reid, can do a little bit of everything, which Chiefs regional scout Greg Castillo explained during his press conference on April 27.

“I was surprised, and I’m happy he did,” Chiefs regional scout Greg Castillo said on of Hicks falling to the Chiefs in the Draft. “He fell to us and I think with Spags and Donald (D’Alesio), they’re going to utilize his skill set very well. He’s very versatile. He can play at the linebacker depth, he can play the deep middle free safety, he can play half, he can play quarters, and he did that at Washington State too. He can do a lot, and he can do a lot effectively. That’s what we’re looking for.”

That’s why, from a financial standpoint, drafting Hicks was a no-brainer for Kansas City.

Instead of paying Reid — who will be 28 years old during the 2025 offseason and one of the top free agent safeties available — the Chiefs can make Hicks, who projects to be on a multi-year rookie deal worth in the $4-5 million range, a starter in 2025. The two-time defending Super Bowl champions can then use the cap space saved from moving on from Reid to potentially give new deals to players such as center Creed Humphrey, starting right guard Trey Smith, or linebacker Nick Bolton, to name a few.

The decision to draft Hicks was not only a great value addition by Chiefs general manager Brett Veach, but it also addressed a big roster concern in 2025.

Bravo, Veach!

Twitter/X Reacts to Chiefs Drafting Jaden Hicks

Users on X, formerly Twitter, reacted to the Chiefs drafting Hicks 133rd overall in the 2024 NFL Draft.

“I had Jaden Hicks as my Safety 2 in this draft class. A top 50 player,” Daniel Harms of RGR Football wrote. “One of the underrated areas that he’s got an opportunity to improve is the coverage drop off with Willie Gay in New Orleans. Hicks can fill the dime backer role and still fit the run. Just food for thought.”

“Jaden Hicks to KC is gonna be scary btw. One of the best safety’s in the draft, in the fourth round,” another user wrote.


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