The Kansas City Chiefs cut down their roster to 53 players. Here are the three biggest surprises.
The Kansas City Chiefs had an eventful offseason following their elimination by the Cincinnati Bengals in the AFC Championship Game. They lost key players like Tyreek Hill and Tyrann Mathieu but made a bevy of additions, such as safety Justin Reid and wide receivers JuJu Smith-Schuster and Marquez Valdes-Scantling. Not to mention the players they selected in this year’s NFL Draft.
But, much like the other 31 teams in the league, the Chiefs had to trim down their roster to 53 players on Tuesday, Aug. 30. With that, there are going to be some surprise moves made by front office and coaching staff.
Here are three of the biggest surprise cuts the Chiefs made this summer.
3. Chiefs shocking roster cut: Jermaine Carter, LB
One of the low-key free agency signings by Kansas City at the start of the league year was linebacker Jermaine Carter, who joined on a one-year, $1.77 million contract. The move was obviously made to bolster their linebacker depth, and now he is gone after a few months on the team.
Carter had spent the first four years of his career with the Carolina Panthers, where he was primarily used on special teams. But last season, he received 78 percent of his snaps on defense, per Pro Football Reference.
Yet, Carter was unable to catch on in Kansas City. Carter played in all three preseason games, logging 11 total tackles.
One would imagine that the team would hold onto him due to his contract. Instead, general manager Brett Veach decided that the team will eat $1.77 million in dead cap space.
2. Chiefs shocking roster cut: Lonnie Johnson Jr., CB
The Chiefs secondary did have other huge losses besides Tyrann Mathieu. Cornerback Charvarius Ward signed a multi-year deal with the San Francisco 49ers. Mike Hughes also left, joining the Detroit Lions. The Chiefs did address the void at the position by using one of their two first-round picks on Washington corner Trent McDuffie. But shortly afterward, the team made a move to reunite a former teammate of Justin Reid in the secondary.
On May 2, the Chiefs acquired cornerback Lonnie Johnson Jr. from the Texans in exchange for a conditional 2024 seventh-round pick. It was a move to add depth to their secondary, and it certainly helped that Johnson had a connection with Reid. The thing is, his stint with Kansas City did not last long.
Johnson played in just one preseason game for the Chiefs, where he tallied three solo tackles in the team’s 19-14 loss to the Chicago Bears.
That would be the only game that Johnson played for the Chiefs, as he was waived by the team on Aug. 15. Shortly afterward, Johnson was claimed off waivers by the Tennessee Titans.
It is always shocking to see a player a team just traded for getting released. But after three months, the Chiefs parted ways with Johnson.
1. Chiefs shocking roster cut: Daurice Fountain, WR
Perhaps the move that universally surprised the Chiefs fanbase and media alike was the team cutting wide receiver Daurice Fountain.
After spending the first three years of his career with the Indianapolis Colts, Fountain joined the Chiefs in 2021, where he primarily played on special teams. But this summer, Fountain made a name for himself and put himself in serious contention to make the team.
In the preseason opener against the Bears, Fountain caught all three of his targets for 24 yards. Against the Washington Commanders, Fountain recorded a 27-yard reception. Then, in their final game against the Green Bay Packers, Fountain recorded two receptions for 36 yards on three targets, with one of those receptions measuring at 29-yards and was nearly a touchdown.
Ultimately, on Aug. 30, the Chiefs opted to part ways with Fountain. That leaves Kansas City with a receiving corps of Smith-Schuster, Valdes-Scantling, Mecole Hardman, Skyy Moore, and Justin Watson.