Opinion

Five veterans the Chiefs could keep on the practice squad

The NFL and NFLPA recently agreed to expand practice squad rosters for the 2020 NFL season. The practice squad roster was already set to be expanded before the pandemic going from 10 to 12 players, but now the number is going up to 16 players which is a positive for this unprecedented season. Kansas City will thus have many more choices to keep veterans players in the practice squad and prepare them for any setbacks during the season.

In addition to expanding the practice squad, there are two new rules that are beneficial to teams. The first rule is that six players can have an unlimited number of accrued seasons — meaning you could sign an 11-year NFL veteran to your practice squad.

The second change is the addition of a protected practice squad. Each Tuesday, NFL teams are allowed to protect four players on their practice squad for the week. Those players cannot be signed by other teams for the whole week.

And those new rules could be beneficial for many veterans signed by the Kansas City Chiefs.

The obvious first one that could be protected in the practice squad is Matt Moore, the veteran quarterback.

The Chiefs recently brought back Matt Moore — the hero backup quarterback of 2019. He should be clearly number 3 behind Patrick Mahomes and Chad Henne. However, he’s also a player that the Chiefs front office wants to keep around just in case. It could be easier to keep him in the practice squad rather than having a three quarterback classroom in the classic roster.

Taco Charlton has been signed by the Chiefs in the offseason and could be another veteran to keep in the practice squad. He has no guaranteed money in his year contract, so the Chiefs could release him very easily. Plus, the defensive end room is already very competitive and crowded. Everything will depend on his performance during the training camp.

Extra offensive linemen are always useful down the road, especially with the numerous injuries they often have during the season. Keeping Greg Senat in the practice squad could be a good idea. He suffered a turf toe injury during the 2019 season that sent him to injured reserve. Some teams could be turned away by the injury and not claim him, which would allow the Chiefs to keep him and develop his game in the practice squad.

Elijah McGuire is also an option. He has been with the team since last November after his release from the Jets. The running back room is crowded, but keeping an ace up their sleeves to run it back in 2021 could be a good thing to do. And most certainly, he won’t be able to make it in the roster this year and could use this odd year to rebound next year.

“We’re lucky that we have a pretty good nucleus of running backs there,” Coach Reid said. “If you have to pick a position where you’ve got some talent, that’s a position that we can work with. … I think Brett (Veach) and his guys did a great job with that, stockpiling in that position.”

Dark Horse Linebacker Emmanuel Smith spent the 2019 season on the practice squad in Kansas City, and he should stay on the practice squad this year. Hitchens is the number one guy in the linebacker locker room, but keeping Smith as a backup plan among others could give some relief to other key players to finish up the season strong.

The practice squad roster expansion comes with some interesting provisions that could benefit the Chiefs and the veteran players. Keep an eye on these names during training camp and as we head closer and closer to Week 1.

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