Chiefs release LB Joe Mays

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – The Chiefs made another move Thursday to provide cap relief ahead of free agency by announcing the release of inside linebacker Joe Mays.

The release of Mays saved an estimated $2.7 million, but the Chiefs remain an estimated $2.8 million over the cap before the start of the league’s calendar year, which begins March 10.

Dec 7, 2014; Glendale, AZ; Chiefs linebacker Joe Mays (53) during pregame against the Arizona Cardinals at University of Phoenix Stadium. Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Dec 7, 2014; Glendale, AZ; Chiefs linebacker Joe Mays (53) during pregame against the Arizona Cardinals at University of Phoenix Stadium. Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The Chiefs in previous weeks parted ways with wide receivers Donnie Avery and A.J. Jenkins, and tight end Anthony Fasano.

Mays originally signed a two-year, $6 million free-agent contract on March 12, 2014. He projected as a starter alongside Derrick Johnson, but Mays suffered a right wrist injury in the second preseason game.

The seventh-year pro out of North Dakota State underwent surgery to repair torn ligaments in his wrist in late August and started the season on the reserve/injury list with a designation to return.

Mays finished the season appearing in eight games with three starts, totaling 17 tackles (14 solo) and a fumble recovery.

The release of Mays leaves the Chiefs thin at inside linebacker with just Derrick Johnson, James-Michael Johnson and JoJo Dickson currently under contract before the start of free agency and the NFL Draft. Derrick Johnson, who returns from an Achilles injury, enters the final year of his contract.

Josh Mauga, who started all 16 games in 2014 and led the Chiefs in tackles with 103 (82 solo), is scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent on March 10.

The Chiefs, however, talked to Mauga’s representative at the NFL Scouting Combine and expressed interest in bringing back the fifth-year linebacker, as previously reported by ChiefsDigest.com.

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