KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Safety Eric Berry joined the Kansas City Chiefs in 2010 as their first-round draft pick. He was far from being the longest-tenured player on the team in 2017, as he arrived five years after linebacker Derrick Johnson and punter Dustin Colquitt and four after linebacker Tamba Hali.
Berry could well be the senior Chiefs player in terms of years of service in 2018. The Chiefs could be headed for a roster purge of big names that they haven’t seen in one year under coach Andy Reid.
The list of players who may have played their last game for the Chiefs includes Colquitt, 35 and a potential free agent, as well as Johnson, Hali and quarterback Alex Smith. Those three players are under contract for next season, but Johnson, 35, and Hali, 34, saw their roles diminish last season while the 33-year-old bSmith -- the NFL's top-rated passer this past season -- could be relinquishing his starting spot to Patrick Mahomes.
The Chiefs have generally sought roster continuity since Reid arrived as their coach and John Dorsey as their general manager in 2013 (Brett Veach took over as GM last July). In each of the past four seasons, they’d brought back at least 40 players to play for them again the next year.
The exception was 2013, when the roster went through the kind of upheaval that can be expected under a new coach and general manager. They brought back 24 players from a team that had gone 2-14 the season before.
The Chiefs may bring back a similar number of players next season as they have in recent years. It’s the number of big names that don’t return that could be unusually large.
In 2013, the Chiefs dumped quarterbacks Matt Cassel and Brady Quinn, but no one else of major consequence. In 2014, they parted with tackle Branden Albert and cornerback Brandon Flowers, among others. The biggest name to leave the Chiefs in 2015 was wide receiver Dwayne Bowe. The Chiefs lost cornerback Sean Smith in free agency in 2016.