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Andy Reid “forever grateful” to departed stars, but moves were necessary

Denver Broncos v Kansas City Chiefs

KANSAS CITY, MO - NOVEMBER 30: Head coach Andy Reid of the Kansas City Chiefs wears the number 29 on his jacket in support of Eric Berry during warm ups before the game against the Denver Broncos at Arrowhead Stadium on November 30, 2014 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

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Defensive changes have been the theme of the Chiefs offseason thus far.

They hired a new defensive coordinator in Steve Spagnuolo and signed safety Tyrann Mathieu to make an early splash in free agency. They also said farewell to three players who had played prominent roles for them in the past.

Safety Eric Berry and linebacker Justin Houston were released while linebacker Dee Ford was traded to the 49ers shortly after Kansas City used the franchise tag on him. Head coach Andy Reid told Steve Wyche of NFL Media that he is “forever grateful” to the three players for what they brought to the organization, but that the moves were necessary to build a team that has a long run of success.

“That’s the name of this game right now,” Reid said. “I mean, the NFL now ... it’s hard to hold on to players for as long as you’d like to. I mean these are three of my favorite guys and good football players who can still do this thing. But, you have this influx of young guys, you have this whole salary cap thing that you’ve got to try to juggle. You have to be half-a-genius to put this thing together and make it sustained.”

The Chiefs had the league’s best offense in 2018 and having a less impressive defense didn’t stop them from landing the No. 1 seed in the AFC playoffs. They fell short of a title, though, and their plan to remedy that in 2019 and beyond is to remake the defense.