The Kansas City Chiefs have to make some tough decisions this offseason. Unfortunately, a fan favorite is set to hit free agency in March.
The Kansas City Chiefs have an offseason full of questions ahead of them. They have to get better on the defense end in preparation for the 2018 season. Unfortunately that means they may have to make some tough decisions with their roster.
The Chiefs announced on Tuesday that Derrick Johnson will be allowed to enter free agency when his contract voids on March 14, the first day of the league year. Johnson has spent his entire 13-year career in Kansas City, and it is definitely sad to see him in anything other than a Chiefs uniform.
Johnson is the Chiefs all-time leader in tackles, and was one of the best defensive players in the history of the franchise. A franchise that has had guys like Derrick Thomas, Bobby Bell, Buck Buchanan, Willie Lanier and Emmitt Thomas.
Coming from the University of Texas the Chiefs drafted him 15th overall in 2005. After spending the first couple years on the outside, Johnson was kicked inside by defensive coordinator Romero Crennel and never looked back. All told, he earned four Pro Bowl nods and two All-Pro honors, including First-Team in 2011.
Even as the physical capabilities began to diminish with age, and the injuries began to pile up, Johnson’s football IQ steadily increased. Even after two ruptured Achilles, Johnson came back in the ’17 season and got stronger as the season went on. Though his snaps were limited this past season, he remained terrific in pass coverage.
The Chiefs could technically bring him back because he will be a free agent but that remains to be seen. Kansas City needs cap space to improve a defense that was in the bottom half of the league, especially struggled against the run. Nonetheless the Chiefs locker room, and their fans will almost certainly miss the leadership of Derrick Johnson.