Just ahead of the 2021 NFL draft, the Kansas City Chiefs made a move in free agency, signing 28-year-old veteran RB Jerick McKinnon on a one-year deal.
A former third-round pick by the Minnesota Vikings out of Georgia Southern, McKinnon enters his eighth season in the league. He’s coming off a three-year stint with the San Francisco 49ers that was marred by injury, but he’s looking for a chance at redemption in Kansas City.
He’ll be vying for a roster spot against players like Darwin Thompson, Elijah McGuire and Derrick Gore. If McKinnon does make the team, the contract signed is a deal in and of itself. As first reported by ESPN’s Field Yates, McKinnon received the veteran salary benefit from Kansas City. That means he’ll receive a salary of over $1 million, but his cap hit will only be $850K.
The one-year deal RB Jerick McKinnon signed with the Chiefs was for the veteran salary benefit, so while his base salary will be $1.075M, he’ll count just $850K against the cap.
A low-risk flier for KC on a player who has unique receiving skills that should fit in that offense.
— Field Yates (@FieldYates) May 1, 2021
The move to sign McKinnon ahead of the draft put the team in a better situation at the position. It allowed the team to remove running back from their list of potential needs in the draft, but also created some more competition at the bottom of the roster.
It’s really the epitome of a low-risk, high reward signing for Kansas City. It’s reminiscent of the Chiefs bringing in veteran players like Carlos Hyde and DeAndre Washington in each of the past two seasons. If McKinnon isn’t good enough to make the 53-man roster in Kansas City, maybe he can be used as a trade chip come September.