C.J. Spiller: Chiefs have versatile running backs
The Chiefs have to pare their roster from 90 to 53 players by 3 p.m. Saturday. Here’s a running tracker of their cuts with some analysis.
3:49 p.m. — The Chiefs made their final roster moves to get to 53 men. In addition to the cuts outlined below, the Chiefs released receiver Gehrig Dieter, kicker Sam Ficken, offensive lineman Joe Cheek, cornerback Jacoby Glenn, offensive tackle Don Hawkins, receiver Seantavius Jones, guard Damien Mama, outside linebacker Earl Okine, offensive lineman Mike Person and receiver Tony Stevens.
The also traded offensive tackle Isaiah Battle to Seattle for a conditional 2018 draft pick, and placed cornerback Ashton Lampkin and running back Spencer Ware on injured reserve.
Analysis: No terribly surprising moves here. I thought Jones could make the roster, but I think he can be a prime practice squad candidate. Battle didn’t play well at times in the games but he impressed at times with his size and strength in practice and Seattle might be able to unlock his talent.
Some additional notes of interest:
▪ The Chiefs only have two running backs on the roster right now in Kareem Hunt and Charcandrick West. I don’t expect that to last long.
▪ These cuts mean Demarcus Robinson and Jehu Chesson are the Nos. 5 and 6 receivers.
▪ I’d also be surprised if the Chiefs go into the season with only three tight ends.
▪ Jordan Devey makes the roster as a ninth offensive lineman. Might have something to do Parker Ehinger’s readiness.
▪ The Chiefs kept six defensive linemen (excluding Tanoh Kpassagnon), as I predicted. Jarvis Jenkins and Roy Miller give their run defense some heft.
▪ The Chiefs kept six inside linebackers, with the last guy being Terrance Smith. I did not see that coming but I see why they kept him. Still has some upside.
▪ D.J. White beat out Bausby for the sixth and final cornerback spot. I get it, especially with Terrance Mitchell and Steven Nelson battling injuries all preseason.
2:27 p.m. — The Chiefs have released running back C.J. Spiller, a source told The Star.
Analysis: This is surprise because Spiller looked great in camp and absolutely deserves to make to the team out of camp. The Chiefs still need a third running back though, so either there’s another back they like out there or Spiller comes back at some point. After a few injury-marred years, Spiller showed in the preseason that he has plenty of juice left so I expect him to be fine.
1:26 p.m. — The Chiefs have released receiver Robert Wheelwright, a source told The Star.
Analysis: Wheelwright is a good athlete who didn’t get much of a chance to show what he can do. Kansas City has lots of options at receiver, though.
1:20 p.m. — The Chiefs have released safety Leon McQuay, a source told The Star.
Analysis: McQuay, a sixth-round pick this year, is still a young player who has a chance to latch on somewhere. With the release of McQuay and Terrell, it looks like the Chiefs are rolling with four safeties.
11:43 a.m. — The Chiefs have released safety Steven Terrell, a source told The Star.
Analysis: I thought Terrell has a chance to make it. They liked him, and he logged lots of snaps in the preseason. This means the Chiefs probably go with four safeties — I think — but we’ll see.
11:39 a.m. — The Chiefs have released cornerback Larry Scott, a source told The Star.
Analysis: Like Swain, Scott didn’t have much of a chance to show his stuff in preseason games.
11:19 a.m. — The Chiefs have released defensive lineman Maurice Swain, a source told The Star.
Analysis: Swain’s reps were limited after the first preseason game.
11:10 a.m. — The Chiefs have released defensive lineman Cam Thomas, a source told The Star.
Analysis: Thomas spent most of time in camp as a backup nose tackle but the hunch here is the Roy Miller III signing hurt him.
10:58 a.m. — The Chiefs have released inside linebacker Justin March-Lillard, a source told The Star.
Analysis: Not a surprise given how little he’s played in the preseason, but someone is going to get a good player here. March-Lillard has a nose for the ball and a great story, to boot. I’m sure he’ll land on his feet somewhere.
10:29 a.m. — The Chiefs have released tight end Orson Charles, a source told The Star.
Analysis: Charles has enough versatility to play fullback so I expect him to end up on the practice squad.
10:19 a.m. — The Chiefs have released offensive guard Andrew Tiller, a source told The Star.
Analysis: Tiller is an experienced guy who could land elsewhere.
10:16 a.m. — The Chiefs have released offensive lineman Josh James, a source told The Star.
Analysis: I think James has a chance to be a practice squad guy. We’ll see.
10:06 a.m. — The Chiefs have released receiver Marcus Kemp, a source told The Star.
Analysis: Rough one here. Kemp flashed some big-play potential in camp, particularly when he got a chance to work with quarterback Patrick Mahomes. I’d keep him around on the practice squad, but that’s just me.
10:01 a.m. — The Chiefs have released defensive lineman Ricky Ali’ifua, a source tells The Star.
Analysis: Ali’ifua had a nice preseason and has flashed some quickness. I think he’s ticketed for the practice squad if he clears waivers.
10 a.m. — The Chiefs have released outside linebacker Marcus Rush, a source tells The Star.
Analysis: Rush has some natural pass-rush ability. It will be interesting to see where he lands next.
9:46 a.m. — The Chiefs have released running back Devine Redding, a source tells The Star.
Analysis: Redding seems ticketed to the practice squad. The Chiefs like to keep a running back there in case someone gets hurt.
9:41 a.m. — The Chiefs have released cornerback Trevon Hartfield, a source tells The Star.
Analysis: Hartfield is a young corner who didn’t play a ton in exhibition game No. 3.
9:26 a.m. — The Chiefs have decided to keep Tamba Hali on the physically-unable-to-perform list to start the season, a source tells The Star.
Analysis: Nailed that one. Hali hasn’t practiced or played all preseason, and this will allow him to essentially rest and train for the first six weeks of the season before joining the team in October. It’s a way to conserve a veteran who can still contribute.
9:12 a.m. — The Chiefs have released quarterback Joel Stave, a source tells The Star.
Analysis: Not a surprise. I’d expect Stave to have a shot at ending up on the practice squad. Smart guy with some pro-style potential. My guess is this means Tyler Bray’s spot is secure for now.
9:03 a.m. — The Chiefs have released tight end Gavin Escobar, The Star has confirmed.
Analysis: Minor surprise. Escobar has good red-zone receiver skills and the Chiefs typically keep four tight ends on the roster. Maybe they still will somehow.
8:57 a.m. — The Chiefs have released receiver Tevin Jones, a source told The Star.
Analysis: Not a surprise, but keep an eye on this kid for the practice squad. He’s been running past people all camp and had a nice showing in the Chiefs’ final preseason game Thursday, when he scored on a 68-yard touchdown.
8:45 a.m. — The Chiefs have released cornerback De’Vante Bausby, a source told The Star.
Analysis: Minor surprise here. Bausby is from Hogan Prep, had some nice moments in the preseason and has game experience. I thought he’d make the team based on the Chiefs’ assortment of banged-up corners.