Kansas City, Mo. The Chiefs made their first moves after a quiet start to free agency, signing linebacker Joe Mays and offensive lineman Joe Linkenbach on Wednesday while confirming the signing of defensive back and special teams standout Husain Abdullah.
The cash-strapped Chiefs only had about $9.6 million in salary cap space after spending lavishly last offseason. The investment paid off in a turnaround that landed Kansas City in the playoffs, but it also means the franchise has little spending ability this year.
“We are excited to be able to bring back Husain Abdullah as well as add Joe Mays and Jeff Linkenbach to our roster,” Chiefs general manager John Dorsey said in a statement. “All three of these men will add depth and talent to our team as we continue to build for the 2014 season.”
All three of them could be forced to provide much more than depth.
Linkenbach joined the Colts as an undrafted free agent in 2010, and started all 16 games the following season, though his playing time has decreased each of the last two years.
Still, his ability to play tackle and guard on both sides of the line made him appealing to the Chiefs, who lost left tackle Branden Albert and guards Jon Asamoah and Geoff Schwartz to free agency on Tuesday. In fact, Schwartz was a similar value signing last offseason and moved from a backup providing depth to a dependable starter by the middle of the season.
Mays could take the place of Akeem Jordan, who also became a free agent. Mays was drafted by current Chiefs coach Andy Reid when he was in Philadelphia in 2008, then spent three years with the Broncos before starting 13 games for the Texans last year.
Abdullah, who had agreed to a two-year deal Tuesday, started two games last season in the defensive backfield but proved his value on special teams. He played on just about every unit and consistently graded out as one of the Chiefs’ best special teams players.
The Chiefs still have plenty of holes to fill, particularly at free safety, defensive end and wide receiver. But their sticky financial situation means that they’ll continue looking for values in free agency while also turning their attention to the upcoming draft.