With Thursday night’s season-opening kickoff fast approaching, the Chiefs released running back CJ Spiller and offensive lineman Jordan Devey.
For Spiller, 30, it was the second time in less than a week that he found himself released by the Chiefs.
The unexpected move left the Chiefs with just two running backs — rookie Kareem Hunt and veteran Charcandrick West — on their active roster for Thursday night’s game at the New England Patriots.
Here’s why the move happened: As veterans, Spiller and Devey’s contracts would become guaranteed for the entire season if they were on the 53-man roster for the Chiefs’ first game. The Chiefs could conceivably re-sign both players on Friday for the same deals, non-guaranteed.
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A different procedure was at play the first time the Chiefs cut Spiller this preseason (last weekend). Cornerback Steven Nelson is nursing a core-muscle injury that includes a 6- to 8-week timetable for recovery, meaning he won’t miss the season but wouldn’t be included on the active roster, either. Players can only be placed on injured reserve with a designation to return if they make the 53-man roster at the end of the preseason, and Spiller’s release created a spot for Nelson.
The Chiefs have two running backs stashed on their practice squad: the newly acquired Akeem Hunt, formerly of the Texans, and Devine Redding. But neither were expected to be activated for Thursday night’s game.