At 11 a.m. Monday, NFL teams were allowed to begin contracting the agents of pending free agents. Nothing can be made official until 3 p.m. Wednesday, the start of the new league year, but this is where I’ll keep a running tab of interesting tidbits that leak out over the next few days or so.
2:43 p.m.: I recently spoke to Chiefs defensive end Mike DeVito, who is set to become a free agent on Wednesday. DeVito, 31, said he intends to return to the NFL for a 10th season.
“I do (want to keep playing),” DeVito said. “I still have a passion for the game, and I don’t want to leave the game with that passion.”
DeVito is a smart guy, someone who will probably fare well when he transitions to the next part of his life, but he says sitting out the 2014 season due to an Achilles’ injury showed him he wasn’t ready to hang up his cleats yet.
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“I saw what life was like away from football,” DeVito said. “Gosh, I can’t imagine just sitting around watching, and that’s one thing I really gained from injury, is recognizing that.”
DeVito showed he still had plenty left in the tank in 2015, too. Always a stout run stuffer, the 6-foot-3, 305-pounder maintained that part of his game and also set a career-high with three sacks in 13 games. He made it clear he’d like to return to Kansas City — and a source told The Star a few weeks ago that the Chiefs interested in bringing him back — though DeVito says he’s anxiously waiting to see how his free-agency pans out.
“You let it play out,” DeVito said. “The criteria when you get older is a little different, as far as how you pick teams. Hopefully I have options, but obviously KC has been incredible to me and my family.
“I love John Dorsey, Coach (Andy) Reid, Bob Sutton, the team and organization. Those things weigh in heavy when you make a decision.”
12:27 p.m.: No surprise here, but I’m hearing cornerback Sean Smith is already garnering significant interest on the market, and that multiple teams — but not the Chiefs — have already expressed interest since the tampering period began at 11 a.m. It’s important to remember, however, that the Chiefs had discussions with Smith’s representative at the combine about a new deal; they just haven’t reached out since the start of the tampering period. Smith and Marcus Peters formed one of the league’s best duos at corner last year, so losing him would be a tough blow. It would appear things are setting up for Smith to receive a nice contract in free-agency.
11:50 a.m.: I’m hearing the Chiefs have expressed interest in former Oakland Raiders receiver Rod Streater. Streater, 28, is a big body (6-3, 216) whose best season came in 2013, when he caught 60 passes for 888 yards and four touchdowns. He’s dealt with a fractured foot since then, in addition to a coaching change, and the Raiders opted to lean on Amari Cooper, Michael Crabtree and Seth Roberts last season, when Streater caught one pass for 8 yards in one game. But Streater is gifted, and if the Chiefs are looking for a veteran to compete with youngsters Albert Wilson and Chris Conley for the No. 2 receiver spot, his addition would make some sense.
11 a.m.: The tampering period has begun. Let’s see what happens today. I put together a preview of the the Chiefs’ key free agents here. You should read it.