After the Chiefs pared their roster down from 75 to 53 men on Saturday, the second part of a busy weekend — the close of the waiver claim period — commenced on Sunday.
The Chiefs quickly jumped into the fray, too, claiming former Green Bay inside linebacker Sam Barrington and former Dallas offensive tackle Bryan Witzmann off waivers. To make room for each player, the club released inside linebacker Ramik Wilson and guard Jordan Devey.
Barrington, 25, spent most of last season on injured reserve due to an ankle injury. In 2014, he appeared in 14 games for the Packers, making seven starts, while recording 53 total tackles and a sack.
He adds a veteran component to an inside linebacker corps that recently absorbed a blow when projected starter Josh Mauga was placed on injured reserve due to a hip injury.
That said, the release of Wilson, 24, is a bit of a surprise. Not only was he taken in the fourth round a year ago, the 6-foot-2, 237-pounder recorded 20 tackles in 10 games (two starts) as a rookie and also started the first preseason game this year at inside linebacker next to Derrick Johnson.
Wilson, however, eventually surrendered the job to Justin March-Lillard — an undrafted rookie a year ago — the next week, and never regained it. Still, he remained ahead of another young inside linebacker, 2015 fifth-round pick D.J. Alexander, on the depth chart. But Alexander, unlike Wilson, is a core special teamer, and that may have made the difference.
Witzmann, 26, is a 6-foot-7, 320-pound swing tackle who could potentially fill a need behind starters Eric Fisher and Mitchell Schwartz. He spent the 2014 season with the Houston Texans on injured reserve, and spent time on the New Orleans Saints’ practice squad in 2015.
He will take the roster spot of Devey, 28, who has played 22 games (13 starts) in New England and San Francisco. He logged playing time with the second team throughout the preseason, primarily at guard and center.
Players claimed off waivers after the 53-man roster deadline have to be on the active roster for at least three weeks. The Chiefs were 28th out of 32 teams in waiver priority, which means 27 teams passed on Barrington and Witzmann.
The Chiefs also lost a player to waivers as well, as their fifth tight end, Brian Parker, was claimed by the New York Jets. He was the only player the Chiefs cut over the weekend that was claimed off waivers.
The Chiefs did lose a pair of quarterbacks they released at the deadline, however, as 2014 fifth-round pick Aaron Murray signed with Arizona’s practice squad while fifth-round rookie Kevin Hogan signed with Cleveland.
Murray failed to surpass Tyler Bray on the depth chart over the last several months, while Hogan saw his reps diminish after the Chiefs landed current No. 2 quarterback Nick Foles in training camp.
NFL teams could also start bringing players back to the practice squad at noon, and at several players the Chiefs cut before the 53-man roster deadline will return, including offensive lineman Jarrod Pughsley, inside linebacker Terrance Smith, defensive lineman David King, center Daniel Munyer and safety Shak Randolph, sources told the Star on Saturday.
The Chiefs also announced later in the day that they’ve added receiver Frankie Hammond, safety Brock Vereen, inside linebacker Tyrell Adams, running back Darrin Reaves and receiver Seantavius Jones to the practice squad, as well.
Hammond and Vereen are the team’s “veteran” exception to the practice squad. Per NFL rules, each team can have two.