Chiefs keep 2 defensive stalwarts who were set for restricted free agency

The Chiefs have retained two key pieces on defense who were set to be restricted free agents.

The Kansas City Chiefs have gotten creative with the salary cap this offseason and continue to make big-time moves. Signing Joe Thuney gave a huge boost to the offensive line and Wednesday brought good news on the other side of the ball.

FanSided’s Matt Verderame broke the news that the Chiefs were able to keep both Charvarius Ward and Ben Niemann. Both players were originally set to be restricted free agents.

Chiefs focus on keeping young defensive talent

The second-round tender means the Chiefs can match any offer that comes for Ward and also receive a second-round pick if he were to sign elsewhere. Any team willing to pay with such a pick would be a surprise given the high cost.

Ward is a former undrafted player who joined the team in 2018 as part of a trade with the Dallas Cowboys. He then became a starter in 2019 and kept that role in 2020. The corner will only turn 25 years old in May and could be a nice long-term piece if the Chiefs can get the budget in order by next offseason.

Niemann is another former undrafted player who has made a nice career for himself with the Chiefs. The linebacker has played in 45 games since 2018 and now gets a new one-year deal after posting a career-high in snaps played on defense in 2020.

Big moves like the signing of Thuney steal all the headlines. But Kansas City holding onto these two young players ensures retaining young talent familiar with the system in place on defense. Niemann and Ward are now both looking to have great 2021 seasons so they can start earning big money in 2022.

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