The Kansas City Chiefs are poised to head into the regular season with a defensive backfield that bears very little resemblance to the one that spent the offseason and training camp together.
The Chiefs released eight players from their secondary on Saturday, including underperforming cornerback David Amerson, as they trimmed their roster to the NFL's 53-man limit. They also were poised to add safety Ron Parker, who spent the past four seasons with Kansas City before joining Atlanta.
He was released by the Falcons this past week and was visiting the Chiefs on Saturday.
Throw in a trade with Dallas on Thursday night that landed cornerback Charvarius Ward, and another with Miami on Friday for safety Jordan Lucas, and that's quite the secondary overhaul.
"I think with every position we're always going to be looking to get better," Chiefs general manager Brett Veach said. "We're not going to look at a position and say, 'We're good there.' "
Especially one where the Chiefs dealt away one of the league's biggest stars, Marcus Peters.
Amerson was released by the Raiders before signing with Kansas City, where he was expected to solidify the secondary after Peters was sent to the Rams. But he was often burned in preseason games, and his release appeared imminent when the Chiefs traded for Ward during their preseason finale.
They also added Kendall Fuller earlier this year, grabbing him from the Redskins in the trade for quarterback Alex Smith, and signed veteran Orlando Scandrick late in camp. Late-round pick Tremon Smith has shown flashes, too, giving the Chiefs an intriguing but unproven mix of talents.
"Kendall is a very talented player and can do a bunch of stuff, and Stevie (Nelson) is healthy. Last year he was hurt the first eight games," Veach said. "Tremon has shown he's making strides and if Charvarius can follow on that path, you have two young guys moving forward and a lot of arsenal in regards to picks and the salary cap moving forward."
The Chiefs kept safety Daniel Sorensen on the 53-man roster, an indication they expect him back at some point this season. He broke a bone in his leg but was not placed on injured reserve.
With the status of Eric Berry a bit uncertain — he missed most of training camp with a stubborn heel injury — it made sense that Veach would bring in Parker to solidify the safety spot.
"We're working through the process," Veach said, "but anytime you can add a guy who played here, knows the system, it's always going to be advantageous."
Here are some of the other big takeaways from the Chiefs' roster cuts Saturday:
The Chiefs kept undrafted rookie Ben Niemann over Ukeme Eligwe at middle linebacker, even though Eligwe was a fifth-round pick last year and started Week 17. Eligwe was among the players who protested during the national anthem, though it appears that had nothing to do with his release.
"We had two teams call us about Ben," Veach said, "so we knew he wasn't going to get to the practice squad. If there was any indecision, the dialogue with teams basically told us there's no way we can move this guy because he's done so much."
The Chiefs cut Jace Amaro and Tim Wright, leaving them only Travis Kelce and Alex Ellis for their Week 1 game against the Chargers. Demetrius Harris is suspended for the opener for violating the NFL's substance-abuse policy, and Veach said the Chiefs are content with three tight ends when he returns.
Quarterback Matt McGloin was released and undrafted rookie Chase Litton was added to the practice squad. Damien Williams and undrafted rookie Darrel Williams joined Kareem Hunt and Spencer Ware at running back, where Kerwynn Williams, Ray Lawry and Algernon Brown were released. The final wide receiver spot went to Marcus Kemp, who beat out a group that included Jehu Chesson, Gehrig Dieter and Jordan Smallwood.
The only player placed on IR was wide receiver Byron Pringle, an undrafted rookie who surprised in training camp. In what might have been a fortuitous injury for the Chiefs, Pringle hurt a hamstring in their preseason finale, allowing them to keep him on IR this season.