Chiefs

Free-agency tracker: Chiefs interested in retaining one of their own

The so-called legal tampering period for NFL free agency started at 11 a.m. Tuesday. Here is the latest news and rumblings surrounding the Kansas City Chiefs.

Tuesday, 1:07 p.m.: The Chiefs have expressed interest in retaining free-agent quarterback Tyler Bray, a source tells The Star.

Analysis: It makes sense. If the Chiefs can't lure a veteran backup like, say, Chase Daniel, the club should retain Bray, who they've spent the last five years investing time in. He knows the offense, too. Heck, you could argue they should bring him back as the No. 3 quarterback, even if Daniel returns to Kansas City. But we'll see. Perhaps they sign Daniel or draft a smart late-round developmental quarterback.

Tuesday, 8:40 a.m.: The Chiefs are saying farewell to veteran receiver Albert Wilson. The Miami Dolphins are set to sign him for three years, $24 million, a source confirms. But the morning has brought news of two important additions to the Chiefs.

Both are being made with an eye toward getting faster. On offense, the Chiefs are adding deep-threat receiver Sammy Watkins. On defense, they've landed former Cowboys run-stuffing linebacker Anthony Hitchens.

You can read about both of these signings here.

Analysis: That's a lot of money for Wilson, but I get it for Miami. Miami traded Jarvis Landry away and Wilson is a smart dude who will be able to grasp the offense immediately.

Watkins is a good signing, in my opinion. He's only 24, he's big (6 feet 1, 214 pounds) and he's fast (4.3 40). He's making a lot (three years, $48 million) and he has an injury history, but he'll do a lot for the offense. Teams won't be able to double him or Ty Hill and I believe their deep speed will open up things underneath for the run game. The Chiefs will have a truly dynamic offense if everyone stays healthy. They're trying to give Patrick Mahomes everything he needs to be a star and Mahomes fulfills his promise. If he does, I think there's a chance that by 2020, the Chiefs could have an offense reminiscent of Dallas' triplets in the early 90s. Between Watkins, Hill, Travis Kelce, Kareem Hunt and Mahomes, that's a ton of skill talent.

As for Hitchens, he's the best run-stopping inside linebacker on the market, according to Pro Football Focus. The Chiefs were an awful 28th against the run last season, so he'll improve them there. He'll cost a lot — the deal is worth $9 million a year over five seasons — but he's a 25-year-old run-and-hit linebacker who will play on all three downs next to Reggie Ragland. He'll add more speed and run-stop ability and it's tough to say the Chiefs won't be better there with him.

Monday, 4:12 p.m: The Chiefs won’t pursue a new contract with free-agent cornerback Phillip Gaines, a source told The Star on Monday.

Analysis: Gaines, 26, has lots of physical tools for the position; he’s long (6 feet 1, 185 pounds) and athletic, but the former third-round pick in 2014 has recorded only one career interception and has also had some bad luck with injuries during his tenure in Kansas City. It’s possible a fresh start could do wonders for him. Keep an eye on the Indianapolis Colts, whose general manager is Chris Ballard. The Chiefs’ former assistant general manager was a champion for Gaines during the pre-draft process, and the rebuilding Colts wouldn’t have much to lose by taking a chance on him.

12:41 p.m.: The Chiefs are releasing Tamba Hali, a source confirms.

Analysis: This one will be painful for longtime Chiefs fans. Just like Derrick Johnson, few players have ever enjoyed being a Chief as much as Hali, whose release clears $7.7 million in needed cap space. The decision to release him could be linked to his desire to keep playing, but I believe he'd need a good situation to keep on going. Money, playing time and Super Bowl chances will all affect whether Hali keeps playing. He's very passionate about his music career and I wouldn't be surprised if he decided to focus all his energy on that if the right opportunity to keep playing doesn't present itself.

11:47 a.m.: Multiple teams are in the mix to sign center Zach Fulton, a source told The Star.

Analysis: NFL Network's Ian Rapoport tweeted that the Texans are the leaders to sign Fulton at an average of $7 million a season. I'm hearing though that multiple teams remain in the mix for Fulton, who is a young interior player with good size, strength and versatility. He'll make a good center for somebody, and it may be the Texans, but we'll see how it shakes out.

10:44 a.m.: The Chiefs are expected to release safety Ron Parker on Monday, a source tells The Star.

Analysis: This will be an underrated loss. The Chiefs will save about $5.3 million on the salary cap. Parker leads the free-agent class with 40 pass breakups and nine interceptions over the last four years and has started 63 of 64 games. He also grew as a leader and became a respected locker room voice. Recently released safety Kurt Coleman got a three-year contract worth an average of $5.5 million a year, so that's a good initial start for safety market.

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