KC Chiefs bring back Mike Caliendo, Nazeeh Johnson for 2024 season

Both players were ERFAs who could play bigger than expected roles in a new season.
Kansas City Chiefs v Los Angeles Chargers
Kansas City Chiefs v Los Angeles Chargers / Ric Tapia/GettyImages

The Kansas City Chiefs announced the return of two of their own exclusive rights free agents (ERFA) on Tuesday with the announcement that defensive back Nazeeh Johnson and offensive lineman Mike Caliendo have re-signed with the team.

Both players were expected to return but the Chiefs made it official on Monday.

Both Caliendo and Johnson are younger players who might not be household names yet, even in Chiefs Kingdom, but both are eyeing much bigger roles for the Chiefs in 2024.

Both players were ERFAs who could play bigger than expected roles in a new season for the Chiefs.

Given that the Chiefs just lost interior offensive lineman Nick Allegretti in free agency to the Washington Commanders, it makes sense for the Chiefs to give Caliendo a first opportunity to replace him as a super sub along the inside.

The Chiefs signed Caliendo as an undrafted free agent out of Western Michigan in the same draft class as his teammate, wide receiver Skyy Moore. Caliendo was a long-term starter who came with a solid amount of experience and versatility with the skills to play guard and center. He not only made the Chiefs practice squad in 2022 but returned last year and lingered once again for the entire year as a developmental player.

As for Johnson, he was already well on his way to a larger role for the Chiefs last preseason before a major injury knocked him out for the entire year. A torn ACL robbed Johnson of competing with Mike Edwards and Deon Bush and Chamarri Conner for a spot on the active roster at safety. For those who saw him last preseason, you'll likely remember how electric he looked coming into his second season.

Johnson was originally one of three seventh-round selections for the Chiefs in the 2022 NFL Draft alongside corner Jaylen Watson and running back Isiah Pacheco. Both of those players have already made their presence felt on the Chiefs, but Johnson is keen to step out of the shadows and make an impact himself.