New Orleans Saints guard Ben Grubbs (66) runs onto the field during pre-game introductions before an NFL football game against the San Francisco 49ers in New Orleans, Sunday, Nov. 9, 2014. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)
Gerald Herbert
March 12, 2015

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) The Chiefs released veteran wide receiver Dwayne Bowe on Thursday and acquired former Pro Bowl offensive guard Ben Grubbs from the Saints for a fifth-round pick in this year's draft, upgrading their questionable offensive line while giving New Orleans some roster flexibility.

Kansas City has been trying to upgrade its front after it battled injuries and ineffective play last season. The club agreed to terms with former Cardinals starter Paul Fanaika on a three-year deal Wednesday, then swung a trade with New Orleans less than 24 hours later.

It's the second time the Saints have sent an offensive starter and former Pro Bowl player packing in the past three days. On Tuesday, New Orleans shipped tight end Jimmy Graham to Seattle for center Max Unger and a first-round draft pick.

Now, along with breaking in a new center in Unger, the Saints will have to find a new left guard. One candidate is Tim Lelito, who is entering his third season and has filled in at both center and guard for New Orleans when injuries to others have pressed him into service.

Grubbs, an eight-year veteran out of Auburn, was due a base salary of $6.5 million this season. His trade helps clear some much-needed money off the Saints' books.

The Saints also recently released starting middle linebacker Curtis Lofton as part of an effort to gain the financial flexibility and draft picks needed to overhaul a squad that went 7-9 last season and ranked 31st in the NFL on defense.

Kansas City carved out money under its own salary cap to take on Grubbs' deal by parting with Bowe, who would have counted $14 million against the cap this season. The Chiefs have already signed a replacement in Jeremy Maclin, who was introduced during a news conference at Arrowhead Stadium on Wednesday.

Bowe, a former first-round draft pick, tweeted out a lengthy statement Thursday that indicated his time in Kansas City was over.

''I want to thank the entire Chiefs organization by the bottom of my heart,'' Bowe wrote. ''You believed in me and gave me my chance to play in the NFL. I will be forever grateful. There are so many people with the Chiefs and many that are no longer there that have had an impact on my life.''

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AP Sports Writer Brett Martel in Metairie, La., contributed to this report.

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