Chiefs expected to add strongside linebacker, part with corner in free agency

Chiefs offseason free agent signings and roster moves

The Kansas City Chiefs are expected to be active in free agency this offseason, and here are all of the moved they have made so far.
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The Kansas City Chiefs are expected to be active in free agency this offseason, and here are all of the moved they have made so far.

The Chiefs addressed another major need with an impending free-agent signing on Tuesday.

Kansas City intends to sign linebacker Damien Wilson, formerly of the Dallas Cowboys, when the new league year opens Wednesday, a source confirmed to The Star.

Wilson is the second player to agree to terms with the Chiefs during the NFL’s legal tampering period. Safety Tyrann Mathieu agreed to terms with the Chiefs on Monday. Over the weekend, the Chiefs also signed running back Carlos Hyde.

The 25-year-old Wilson is a traditional strongside linebacker in a 4-3 system, giving the Chiefs their first true strongside linebacker on the roster.

With Wilson anchoring the SAM position, fellow former Cowboy Anthony Hitchens is expected to start at weakside linebacker. Reggie Ragland would man the middle. That would make 2018 third-round pick Dorian O’Daniel the team’s top linebacker substitute.

Wilson, originally a 2015 fourth-round pick by Dallas, appeared in all 16 games last season for Dallas, but started just seven. A season ago, he also saw action in all 16 games and started nine.

Because Dallas frequently used the nickel package — one that didn’t feature Wilson — the Minnesota product played on just 28 percent of the team’s snaps in 2018.

He finished this season with 32 tackles and one sack. That lone sack, which came against the New York Giants, was the fastest sack in the NFL in Week 2. Wilson sacked quarterback Eli Manning for a loss of eight yards on the play and knocked the ball loose. According to ZebraSports, it took Wilson just 2.04 seconds to get to Manning from snap to sack.

While Wilson’s addition to the Chiefs is imminent, their defense also lost a starter on Tuesday.

Cornerback Steven Nelson, who will be a free agent when the league year begins, agreed to terms with Pittsburgh, according to a report from NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport. Nelson put together a solid season in his contract year, grabbing four interceptions to go with a career-high 68 tackles.

Nelson is receiving a three-year, $25.5 million deal, per Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle. Nelson was previously on a four-year, $2.9 million deal with the Chiefs. The Oregon State product’s $8.5 million average salary with the Steelers is a significant increase from his previous average salary of $729,363.

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