The Chiefs have officially released two veteran defensive players. Safety Ron Parker and twelve year veteran linebacker Tamba Hali are now on the market, and the Chiefs end up saving $12.7 million in salary cap space. Today, we will look back at both player’s careers in a Chiefs uniform, and how this impacts the future.
First, let’s take a look at Tamba Hali. Hali has spent all of his entire twelve year career with the Chiefs. In the 2006 NFL Draft, the Chiefs selected Hali with the 20th overall pick out of Penn State. In Hali’s rookie season, he won the starting defensive end job out of camp and fared pretty well. Hali finished with eight total sacks, which was three and a half sacks more than the number one overall pick that year, Mario Williams. The Mack Lee Hill award, which is awarded to the Chiefs top rookie for a given year, was also an milestone Hali reached in his first NFL season.
Fast forward to 2010, Hali shined moving from defensive end to outside linebacker, and he finished with an AFC best 14.5 sacks that year. Following 2010, Hali was rewarded with five year, $60 million contract. Hali continued to be a big leader on the team in tackles and sacks for the rest of his career. After playing 172 games in his first eleven seasons, Hali was only able to play in three games in 2017, ultimately his final season in a Chiefs uniform. Hali finished his career as a five time Pro Bowler, a total of 89.5 sacks, and 588 tackles.
Now we will take a look at Ron Parker. Parker made a pretty good name for himself in Kansas City, considering his entry into the NFL. He played his college football at Newberry, a Division II school in South Carolina. Parker went undrafted, and become a free agent who signed with the Seattle Seahawks in 2011. He bounced around on team’s practice squads, moving from Seattle to Oakland, to Seattle again and then Carolina in 2012.
Once Kansas City claimed Parker in 2013, he found a starting job and a home in Chiefs Kingdom. Parker was reliable for the Chiefs, as he played in all sixteen games in all five seasons with the Chiefs. Parker’s stats in Kansas City include nine interceptions, five fumble recoveries, five forced fumbles, and seven sacks. Parker may not get as much recognition as Eric Berry or other veterans have received the last few years, but he was versatile, being able to play both safety and cornerback.
As good of careers that both Hali and Parker enjoyed in Kansas City, the Chiefs are moving into a youth movement. Let’s look at moves general manager Brett Veach has made to back up this youth movement. Harrison Butker, who is twenty-two years old, replaced Cairo Santos at kicker. Early last year, Veach flipped draft picks for linebacker Reggie Ragland and offensive lineman Cam Erving. Ragland is twenty-four years old and Erving is twenty-five years old. Both of these players are guys the Chiefs were high on during their draft year, and the Chiefs were able to get them while they are still young. Plus two secondary additions are younger, as well.
Kendall Fuller is twenty-three years old and David Amerson is twenty-six years old. I would expect Veach to be aggressive in free agency, with more cap space opened up. Whatever positions Kansas City can not sign in free agency will be the focus during the draft. The Chiefs currently have eight draft picks in the 2018 NFL Draft. Veach and the Chiefs do not appear done making more moves yet.