KANSAS CITY, Mo. – The Chiefs entered the offseason with a need at wide receiver and are apparently leaving no stone unturned ahead of free agency and May’s NFL Draft.
After reports emerged from Canada on Jan. 30 of popular Canadian Football League star Weston Dressler signing with the Chiefs, there’s finally official confirmation via Tuesday’s NFL Transaction report.
The Chiefs added wide receiver depth by signing Dressler to a free-agent contract.
[UPDATE: Terms of the deal are for three years, with a $420,000 salary in 2014, $510,000 in 2015 and $600,000 in 2016, according to the NFLPA’s database.]
“The Chiefs, they were really active coming after Weston, which was pretty nice,” Dressler’s agent, Justin Seurer, said during a Tuesday afternoon phone interview. “He’s excited for the opportunity to start playing, get into camp, start learning the system and see what he can do to help.”
Dressler reportedly worked out for the Chiefs on Jan. 14 before the Saskatchewan Roughriders released him Jan. 30 in order to allow Dressler’s pursuit of a potential NFL career.
“Ever since the first time I touched a football, that’s something I’ve dreamed about is having an opportunity to play in the NFL on the game’s biggest stage,” Dressler told reporters on his release. “To kind of get to that point now, it’s pretty surreal.
“It’s exciting for me. I’m looking forward to the situation that I’m in right now and the potential for me to earn myself a spot on a team is there.”
While he’ll battle for a roster spot, Dressler, who spent six seasons in the CFL after going undrafted by the NFL in 2008, offers the Chiefs an intriguing option at wide receiver.
Listed at 5-foot-8, 179 pounds, Dressler, 28, was a two-time CFL All-Star and the CFL’s Most Outstanding Rookie in 2008.
A native of Bismarck, N.D., the University of North Dakota alumnus helped the Roughriders win the Grey Cup in 2013 and left Saskatchewan with consistent production.
During his CFL career, Dressler recorded 442 receptions for 6,531 yards, including four straight 1,000-yard seasons, and 43 touchdowns.
His receptions and receiving yards, respectively, rank third in franchise history, while his receiving touchdowns rank fifth and 46 total touchdowns rank ninth, according to the Roughriders’ official website.
Additionally, Dressler contributed on special teams with 92 career punt returns for 907 yards (9.9 yards per attempt average) and a touchdown.
“He has an amazing ability as a punt and kick returner,” Seurer said. “I don’t think it was used a lot – he has good numbers in the CFL – but as far as the Roughriders, they wanted to preserve him pretty much after the first season.
“So for the last couple of years, he was used I would say sparingly and rightfully so because of his situation there. But the opportunities he got on kick returns were pretty special. He’s very talented at it.”
Dressler’s versatility on special teams could come in handy – provided he makes the roster – when considering second-team All-Pro punt returner Dexter McCluster is scheduled to be an unrestricted free agent on March 11.
Should McCluster leave, the Chiefs have Dressler and running back/returner Joe McKnight, who signed a reserve/future deal in early January, as potential insurance to help out on special teams.
Meanwhile, Dressler, an apparent fan favorite with the Roughriders, told reporters in Canada he made a request during the contract negotiations to honor his CFL roots as he makes the jump to the NFL.
“I requested jersey No. 13 because I wanted to kind of show my respect to the 13th man of Rider nation,” Dressler said. “And if everything works out the way that I’m hoping, I’ll be able to wear 13 on Sundays and Rider nation will be out on the field with me in that aspect.”
Dressler’s 2013 highlights, as posted on YouTube.com by the Roughriders:
Twitter reactions from Canada on Jan. 30 over Dressler’s release:
There isn’t enough good words to say about Dressler. He is a true pro on & off the field. One of my best friends, KC’s lucky to have him #fb
— Chris Getzlaf (@ChrisGetzlaf) January 31, 2014
Weston Dressler absolutely deserves this NFL opportunity!!! So much class and will always be my favorite player!!! — Amy M (@_amymcg) January 30, 2014
I have really mixed feelings on the announcement of Weston Dressler’s release. After I shed many tears I will try to explain them! — Jack Borreson (@jackBorreson) January 31, 2014
— Debra Cadrain (@DebraCadrain) January 31, 2014
— Darryl Schreiner (@ReallyScribs) January 30, 2014
— Davin S (@davron2000) January 31, 2014