Veteran cornerback Morris Claiborne agreed to a one-year deal with the Chiefs worth a maximum of $3 million, a league source confirmed to The Star on Thursday.
The former first-round pick was recently suspended four games for violating the NFL’s substance-abuse policy, making him available beginning Week 5 against the Colts.
He immediately bolsters the weakest position group on the defensive side of the ball, joining a room that includes 2019 free agency acquisition Bashaud Breeland, Charvarius Ward and Kendall Fuller. After Keith Reaser went down with a serious Achilles injury, the Chiefs’ search for depth at cornerback intensified. In signing with the Chiefs, Claiborne will immediately compete for playing time once he’s eligible to return from the four-game suspension.
Claiborne, 29, spent the last two seasons with the Jets, starting in 30 games. He had three interceptions with the Jets, including his first career pick-six last season. He had two interceptions in 2018, setting a career high. In a seven-year career, Claiborne has seven interceptions, one forced fumble, four fumble recoveries and two scores.
The league source said his base pay is $2 million minus games missed due to the suspension (about $500,000); if he reaches his built-in incentives, the contract could be worth $3 million.
Claiborne entered the league from LSU in 2012 when the Cowboys traded up to draft him sixth overall. He went on to play five injury-riddled seasons in Dallas, collecting four interceptions and one forced fumble. Claiborne missed more than 30 games during his Cowboys’ tenure and only played in seven regular-season games during his final season in 2016 as the result of a groin injury.
As an unrestricted free agent after the 2016 season, Claiborne signed with the Jets, where he had a relatively healthy two seasons. He missed only two games in his stint in New York.