It has recently been reported that the Kansas City Chiefs don’t plan on re-signing long-time star middle linebacker Derrick Johnson. The veteran has stated that he plans to play “several more years”. With that, he’ll be hitting the open market on March 14th. The decision makes sense for the Chiefs, as Johnson is up there in age, and the Chiefs have grabbed two younger guys they hope are future investments in both Reggie Ragland and Kevin Pierre-Louis.
What does the future hold for both Johnson and the franchise he played under for the last thirteen years? The Chiefs recently traded quarterback Alex Smith, and that, along with this move, will free up some cap space. In all reality, there are multiple teams that would accept Johnson on a short-term basis.
Statements have been released by Johnson and Kansas City’s front office left and right. This past year, Johnson was the longest tenured player on the Chiefs, along with punter Dustin Colquitt. This was obviously a tough business decision, as Johnson will be forced to represent a different jersey.
The Chiefs could use improvements on both sides of the ball, and are without a first-round pick this year. This now leaves Kansas City with some money to throw at potential upcoming free agents. The top potential free agents include Andrew Norwell, Allen Robinson, Malcom Butler and Jarvis Landry. These options all seem unlikely, but the Chiefs are at least showing willingness to make cap moves.
What about Johnson? Well, there are a host of teams that need an interior linebacker that may throw offers his way. These teams include the Indianapolis Colts, Oakland Raiders, Miami Dolphins, and more. Most of these teams have higher draft picks, but could utilize Johnson to their advantage.
This will be an interesting chapter in this year’s free agency process. Personally, I’m excited to see what Kansas City will be able to do, and where Derrick Johnson will opt to play.
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