The Kansas City Chiefs currently sit atop the AFC West with a two-win lead over the Los Angeles Chargers but heading into their Sunday Night Football showdown in LA, general manager Brett Veach is leaving no stone unturned on the roster front.
Less than a week after the Chargers waived defensive lineman Jerry Tillery, Kansas City was named by Adam Schefter of ESPN as one of eight teams to put in a claim for him. The former first-round pick ended up staying in the division, but it was the 2-7 Las Vegas Raiders that ended up obtaining his services. Due to the Chiefs' record and subsequent standing on the waiver wire, they didn't stand much of a chance given how many other clubs attempted to snag Tillery.
On Wednesday morning, it was reported by Field Yates of ESPN that Kansas City put in yet another claim on a recently waived player. This time around, it was former Arizona Cardinals running back Eno Benjamin. The Chiefs were one of four clubs to make that effort, but the 1-7-1 Houston Texans ended up winning the Benjamin sweepstakes due to their standing. Two waiver claims in one week isn't an uncommon development but given the profiles of Tillery and Benjamin, it's a testament to Veach's constantly-evolving process in rounding out his roster and practice squad.
Tillery, still only 26 years old, had his fifth-year option declined by the Chargers. As a result, all the Raiders had to inherit by claiming him was his remaining 2022 salary which sat at $2.05 million heading into the year. Now in Las Vegas, that averages out to just over $900,000 for the final stretch of the year. That's a relatively small price to pay for a player whom the NFL will likely continue to give chances to due to his college pedigree. Veach is known for his affinity for former first-round draft selections, and this marks another attempt at bringing one into the fold.
Benjamin's situation is interesting. The Cardinals waiving him was viewed as a serious surprise, especially given that he'd just seen double-digit touches in four straight games in the month of October. Only 23 years old, Benjamin was a 2020 seventh-round pick whom many believed would remain in Arizona for the entirety of his rookie contract. The idea of what he brings to the table (and a year-plus of team control) appeared to entice the Chiefs enough to put a waiver claim in and while they didn't get awarded Benjamin, that inquiry does potentially raise minor questions about the fringes of the running back room.
At any rate, the Chiefs simply did what smart teams do: try. A player piqued their interest for one reason or another and while it was always unlikely that a waiver claim from one of the best teams in the league would go end up working out, trying to do so is always worth it. Veach and company did their due diligence and as the 2022 campaign winds down, these two waiver claims could be an indication that Kansas City will remain aggressive in its pursuit of players who could help improve the team.