Did Mike Danna and the Kansas City Chiefs have a gentleman's agreement?

There are very real reasons to think that Danna and the Chiefs knew they would end up back together.
AFC Divisional Playoffs - Kansas City Chiefs v Buffalo Bills
AFC Divisional Playoffs - Kansas City Chiefs v Buffalo Bills / Perry Knotts/GettyImages

As the days and weeks of free agency began to pass by this spring, a primary question began to emerge among Kansas City Chiefs fans: where was the market for Mike Danna?

Danna, a still-young defensive end of only 26 years of age, was coming off of a rookie deal in which he did everything right. Teammates swore by him. Coaches loved him. The stat sheet told the same story of a former fifth-round pick who climbed the depth chart from role player to starter over the last four seasons.

Coming into free agency, Danna looked like a free agent who would get away. The Chiefs had already made two first-round investments in the previous two draft classes at the same position and Charles Omenihu was the pricey vet lingering on a line that doesn't need the edges to carry the pass-rushing load because of Chris Jones.

There are very real reasons to think that Mike Danna and the Chiefs knew they would end up back together.

That meant other teams should have been chomping at the bit to add a player like Danna to their own defensive plans. In a league where you can never have enough pass rushers, Danna was a well-rounded player who is solid against the run yet also has some pass-rushing chops. He's gained weight to be able to slide inside over time which only adds to his versatility.

More than anything, Danna is a beloved figure inside of Arrowhead, which meant teams were also bidding on a model citizen and teammate. He's reliable to be on the field and known for being a sponge who can soak up anything a coach demands of him. Oh yeah, he also comes with a bit of championship experience.

Even now, when writing this, it's a head-shaking sentiment to think that Danna never appeared to take any free agent visits. Talking heads who covered the league never seemed to mention him to any degree at all. It's as if Danna quietly retired and told the league not to make a fuss about it.

Then suddenly the Chiefs and Danna decided to publicly renew their vows for the next three years. The finances are great for the average person and certainly a major step up from the fifth-round money that Danna had been making for the last four years. No one should sneer at $13 million guaranteed over any length of time.

That said, it feels like Danna left some money on the market, which is his prerogative if he didn't want to worry about moving and meeting new people and learning a new system. Now he can stay a part of something historic in a place where he's deeply appreciated. These are all very, very good things for Chiefs Kingdom.

Given that Danna sat quietly all along in free agency makes us wonder if there was always a gentleman's agreement all along with the Chiefs, a handshake and nod "guaranteeing" that the team would eventually take care of their defensive end if he could just stay patient and not freak at the headlines and passing time. The Chiefs, after all, had business to take care of.

Remember, a deal for Danna didn't blossom until the team had already traded away L'Jarius Sneed and his $19.8M cap charge. And that trade with the Tennessee Titans didn't become official until last Friday. In the days since then, the Chiefs have brought back running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire, visited with J.K. Dobbins, signed quarterback Carson Wentz, and now locked up Danna. There were clearly plans for "when we have money" on the part of the Chiefs.

If Danna was willing to forgo free agent visits to stay true to his first NFL love, then his status as a favorite for fans and players should only grow. He's been an exemplary person and player for the Chiefs since his name was called in 2020 and the Chiefs have to be over the moon that he wanted to stay at this rate.