Necessary Roughness: Chiefs players that may become a surprise camp casualty in 2020

Who will be looking for a new team when preseason cuts start happening?

We are less than two months away from actually witnessing real football being played (barring any COVID-19 setback). The Kansas City Chiefs first preseason game will be at Arrowhead against the Bengals on August 15th. This will be the first time that the Chiefs will take the field as the defending Super Bowl champions. With 20 of 22 starters returning for the 2020 season, most of the roster is made up of the team that hoisted the Lombardi trophy the year before.

But how many will stay on the 2020 roster?

The preseason is also filled with players who are fighting to get noticed and to take a spot from an incumbent veteran. If those players can prove that they can get the job done better and most likely cheaper, then the veteran usually finds himself unemployed.

With that in mind, let’s dive into the players on the Chiefs roster that could be looking for work after the preseason cuts are made.

Eric Fisher – Tackle

Big Fish will be entering his eighth season as the starting LT for the Kansas City Chiefs. In that time, he has had some ups and downs protecting the blind side for Chiefs QBs. In 2018, Fisher was selected to the Pro Bowl for the first time. That season, Fisher was Pro Football Focus’ highest-rated tackle from week 11 to the end of the season. In that timeframe, his overall grade was 83.2. Last season, the former first overall pick only played in eight games due to a groin injury. In those eight games, his PFF rating dropped to 64.5.

This past NFL draft, the Chiefs selected offensive tackle Lucas Niang from TCU. It appears that Niang was brought in to eventually become a starting tackle with the Chiefs. The Chiefs also brought in Mike Remmers in free agency. Remmers is coming off of 14 starts in New York as the Giants RT. However, he has been a starter at every position along the offensive line, except center.

Niang and Remmers providing stout competition isn’t the only reason that Fisher could become a casualty. Eric Fisher is on the final two years of his 4-year, $48,000,000 contract. According to Spotrac, cutting him in preseason would result in the Chiefs saving $9,250,000 in 2020.

Damien Wilson – Linebacker

Damien Wilson came to the Chiefs before last season as a free agent. He signed a two-year deal worth $5,750,000. Cutting Wilson in preseason would save the Chiefs $4,500,000 in 2020, but why would they cut a guy who they just exercised a club option for in the offseason? Well for starters, they drafted Willie Gay Jr. in the second round of the draft, and he is already drawing comparisons to Derrick Johnson. Another reason could be that if Gay Jr. becomes the starting WILL LB, then Wilson will become the SAM. This would reduce his playing time, which might make Wilson seem too expensive.

Tanoh Kpassagnon – Defensive End

Kpassagnon is entering the final year of his rookie contract. He is in a deep defensive line rotation that consists of Frank Clark, Alex Okafor, Breeland Speaks, newly signed Taco Carlton, and just drafted Mike Danna. Ideally, Speaks should be the odd man out here, but he is still trying to get a shot to prove himself since he spent last season on IR. Plus, Speaks still has another year on his contract. That leaves us with Kpassagnon. By cutting him, the Chiefs would save $1,054,257.

Damien Williams – Running Back

Damien Williams was a vital part of the Chiefs offense during last season’s playoff stretch. In fact, most people believe that he should have been the Super Bowl MVP instead of Patrick Mahomes. However, the writing is already on the wall with Williams, since the Chiefs drafted Clyde Edwards-Helaire this past April. Sure, both players can exist on the same roster, and all signs point to Williams still being the starter. The team does already have Darwin Thompson and Darrel Williams though, and cutting Damien Williams would save the Chiefs $2,175,000 this season.

Daniel Sorensen – Safety

Dirty Dan is another fan favorite that also provided some big plays during the playoff stretch. However, he is the oldest player in that secondary, and Juan Thornhill and Armani Watts are up-and-coming youngsters at the safety position. He is in the final year of his contract and cutting him would save the team $3,750,000 this season. With Tyrann Mathieu, Thornhill, and Watts getting most of the playing time, Sorensen may be too expensive to be a safety who becomes rarely used.