Not since Ryan returned to Scranton and Creed dyed his hair with toner from the copier has there been more anticipation of a youth movement. As explained by Sam Mellinger of the Kansas City Star, Chiefs G.M. Brett Veach is expected to make dramatic changes to the roster in an effort to make it “younger, faster and in certain spots cheaper.”
Mellinger writes that the changes will be “significant,” especially on defense.
“Veach’s emphasis on youth and the Chiefs’ institutional stance that their problems on defense are the fault of the players and not coordinator Bob Sutton mean a massive roster turnover is likely,” Mellinger explains.
Already (and not surprisingly), cornerback Darrelle Revis has gotten a pink slip. Other fairly obvious candidates for a wrong-side-of-30 purge include 35-year-old linebacker Derrick Johnson and 34-year-old linebacker Tamba Hali. (33-year-old quarterback Alex Smith will be traded, unless the deal falls through.)
Linebacker Justin Houston is only 29, but he has a salary of $14.5 million and a cap charge of $20.6 million for 2018. Cutting or trading him would result in more than $12 million in dead money hitting the cap, but with Houston having 21 total sacks in the three seasons combined since getting 22 in 2014, the Chiefs need to ask the hard question of whether his best days are behind him — and whether the cash and cap space can be better devoted to other needs.
If the Chiefs believe last year’s failings on defense trace to the players, and as the time to get new players (and get rid of existing ones) approaches, the Chiefs could indeed be a hot spot for change.
And then a bunch of those former Chiefs may end up with former Chiefs G.M. John Dorsey in Cleveland.