Chiefs start free agency with flurry of moves

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The Kansas City Chiefs brought in a new offensive tackle and linebacker, and re-signed two linebackers and a defensive tackle on the first day of free agency.

Veteran linebacker Derrick Johnson, Kansas City’s all-time leader in tackles, re-signed with the Chiefs on Wednesday afternoon, likely keeping him in a Chiefs uniform for the remainder of his career.  KC added depth to the linebacker position by bringing back Frank Zombo and signing former Tennessee Titan linebacker Jonathan Massaquoi.

Perhaps the biggest move of the day was one to reinforce an offensive line seen as a weakness the last couple of seasons.  Kansas City signed former Cleveland Browns offensive tackle Mitchell Schwartz, who has started every game for Cleveland since being selected in the second-round of the 2012 draft.  The former Cal standout is the brother of offensive guard Geoff Schwartz, who was with the Chiefs in Andy Reid’s first season in KC, and signed a free-agent deal with the New York Giants the following year.

The signing of Schwartz will help an offensive line that could lose Donald Stephenson in free agency, and did lose guard Ben Grubbs, who was released by the Chiefs on Thursday morning after failing a physical exam.  Jeff Allen is officially gone as well, having signed with the Houston Texans on Wednesday.

Staying in the fold with Kansas City is defensive tackle Jaye Howard, who re-inked with the Chiefs on Wednesday.  Howard started 14 games for KC in 2015, picking up a career-high 5 1/2 sacks.

The activity by the Chiefs could take some of the attention away from the toughest news of the day, as the franchise was stripped of its third round draft pick in 2016 and sixth-round pick in 2017, as punishment for violating the NFL’s anti-tampering rules in their negotiations with then free-agent Jeremy Maclin one year ago.  The Chiefs were hit with a $250,000 fine, while Head Coach Andy Reid was docked $50,000 and General Manager John Dorsey $25,000 for their roles in the negotiations.  The Chiefs, in a statement, said they are considering whether or not to appeal the penalties.

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