One of the surprises of the Kansas City Chiefs’ initial 53-man roster was the presence of five wide receivers — rather than the six we expected to see.
While it isn’t unknown for head coach Andy Reid’s Kansas City teams to carry only five wideouts on its initial roster — the team has had five in three of Reid’s nine previous seasons, including 2021 — six has been the usual number. And with so many talented players vying for a roster spot at the position, it seemed like 2022 might be the year to have one more.
It was also a bit of a surprise that the team kept six defensive ends. Rather than deciding between them, the team chose to keep two 2021 acquisitions who were thought to be on the bubble: fourth-round draft pick Joshua Kaindoah and undrafted free agent Malik Herring.
“Yeah, we went back and forth,” acknowledged Kansas City general manager Brett Veach in a Wednesday Zoom call with the media. “I think sometimes, there is that game within the game — knowing how waiver wires work and knowing the trends of claims and knowing where we’ve been exposed over the years.”
As Veach saw it, one of the places where the team had been exposed was at edge rusher, where he said the team always seems to accumulate injuries.
“We’re always a little short at the defensive end position,” he noted. “We have a couple [of] older, veteran guys at that position as well — and we thought that there would be a good chance to go heavier on that.”
The general manager recognized that chance because he believed that wide receiver Daurice Fountain would clear waivers, allowing the team to go with just five wideouts on the initial roster.
“It’s never easy,” he observed. “You kind of go back and forth, trying to work the system to get all these players. We had a lot of good guys that we cut who we thought were 53-man-roster-caliber players.”
In Veach’s estimation, Fountain was one of them. And in the end, the three-year veteran did clear waivers, allowing the team to sign him to its practice squad on Wednesday.
“We had a good conversation,” said Veach of Fountain. “It’s just a matter of time before we’re going to need him. He’ll be on the team at some point — [because] it’s such a long season.”