KANSAS CITY, Mo. — In either a savvy move to bolster a position of thin depth or a bit of waiver-wire gamesmanship, the Chiefs claimed former Arizona pass rusher Terrell Suggs off waivers.
The move comes after the Chiefs lost defensive end Alex Okafor on Sunday for the reminder of the season with a torn pectoral muscle. The Chiefs placed Okafor on injured reserve to make room for Suggs on the active roster.
Claiming Suggs means the Chiefs become responsible for the pro-rated portion of his $3 million contract for the 2019 season, which comes to just $375,000.
Claiming Suggs doesn't come with some risk, however. The 17-year NFL veteran acknowledge in March he considered retirement before signing as a free agent with the Cardinals after 16 seasons in Baltimore.
But following his release by Arizona, Suggs indicated he would retire unless claimed by the Baltimore Ravens, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter. But the Ravens ranked last in waiver wire priority, meaning every NFL team would have to pass on him.
The Chiefs didn't. If Suggs reports to Kansas City, the Chiefs have acquired a valuable rotational piece at defensive end to fill the void vacated by Okafor. If Suggs chooses retirement, general manager Brett Veach blocked the a fellow AFC title contender from receiving late-season reinforcements.
Suggs on Tuesday night indicated he plans to report to the Chiefs, according to Terez Paylor of Yahoo Sports.
Suggs was the latest veteran with whom the Cardinals parted ways this season, a list that includes D.J. Swearinger, Michael Crabtree and Tramaine Brock. Suggs played in 13 gams with the Cardinals this season, tallying 37 tackles, 5 1/2 sacks and 33 quarterback pressures.
But the veteran struggled in recent weeks, collecting no tackles in 87 snaps during the last two games. The 37-year-old has just a half sack in his last six games.
The Chiefs would not ask Suggs to carry the same work load the Cardinals needed. Suggs averaged 49 snaps per game for Arizona. The club would likely ask Suggs to play in a rotation opposite Frank Clark, sharing snaps with Tanoh Kpassagnon and Demone Harris.
Okafor signed a three-year, $17.9 million free agent deal with the Chiefs during the offseason. The move paid dividends despite the 28-year-old veteran dealing with a series of injuries. He picked up his fifth sack of the season on his final play Sunday against Denver, marking his highest sack total since picking up eight during his second season with Arizona in 2014. Okafor finishes the campaign with 22 total tackles, five sacks and 21 quarterback pressures.