KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The Kansas City Chiefs began reworking their injury-depleted defense Tuesday, signing former Denver Broncos tackle Kevin Vickerson amid a flurry of roster moves.
The deal for Vickerson is a one-year contract, a person with knowledge of the situation told The Associated Press. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because terms were not disclosed.
Vickerson will have the opportunity to start right away. The Chiefs lost defensive tackle Mike DeVito for the season with a ruptured Achilles tendon in Sunday’s 26-10 loss to Tennessee.
The Chiefs also moved to shore up the linebacker spot after losing Derrick Johnson to his own ruptured Achilles tendon, and with Joe Mayes on injured reserve following wrist surgery.
Third-year linebacker Jerry Franklin, who played in 10 last season for the Chicago Bears, was signed from the Chiefs’ practice squad to the 53-man roster ahead of Sunday’s game in Denver.
In other moves, the Chiefs activated wide receiver Dwayne Bowe from the suspended list; signed wide receiver Armon Binns, tight end Adam Schiltz, cornerback Robert Steeples, defensive tackle Jerel Worthy and offensive tackle Curtis Feigt to the practice squad; and waived from the practice squad fullback Jordan Campbell, defensive tackle Hebron Fangupo, center Ben Gottschalk and wide receiver Darryl Surgent.
The 31-year-old Vickerson spent the past four seasons in Denver and was waived prior to the season. He played well two years ago, making 40 tackles and a pair of sacks, but had his season end prematurely last year when he dislocated a hip against New England in November.
He began his career in Tennessee and has made 153 tackles and 6 1/2 sacks in seven seasons.
Jaye Howard took the majority of snaps after DeVito left the game last Sunday. Vance Walker will also have a chance to earn playing time after signing as a free agent in the offseason.
“Howard is an explosive player. His big thing was just making sure that was something that took place on every play,” Chiefs coach Andy Reid said. “Consistency was the factor. He’s shown us that he can do that throughout his time here. He had a good preseason with us and now will have an opportunity to get in there and play a little bit more.”
James-Michael Johnson and Josh Mauga are the next in line at middle linebacker, though Franklin will have an opportunity to get in the mix.
“We thought JMJ was a good, solid linebacker. We felt that he was — at least from what he had shown — had been better in the sub-group, so that’s where we used him a little bit last year and we had started using him in that position this year,” Reid said. “But we do feel like he can step up and if he needs to play more, then he’ll play more.”
Mauga has knowledge of coordinator Bob Sutton’s defense from his time with the Jets.
“Overall a good football player,” Reid said. “That’s why we brought him, to give him that opportunity to play, at that time backup, and now he’s asked to start.”