KANSAS CITY, Missouri — Veteran kicker Ryan Succop's tenure with the Kansas City Chiefs is over.
Succop was released on Saturday as the Chiefs trimmed their roster to the NFL's 53-man limit, beaten out for the job by undrafted free agent Cairo Santos in a decision that may have ultimately come down to how much each of them would have been paid.
Succop was due to make $2 million this season. Santos will instead make $422,000.
Along with their cuts, the Chiefs also placed quarterback Tyler Bray and wide receiver Kyle Williams on injured reserve, defensive end Mike Catapano on the non-football injury list and wide receiver Dwayne Bowe and right tackle Donald Stephenson on the reserve-suspended list.
Bowe will miss the opener as punishment for his arrest last November, and Stephenson is suspended for the first four games of the regular season for violating the league's drug policy.
Bray and Williams were hurt in the Chiefs' preseason finale against Green Bay.
"As a collective football operation, coaches and scouts have held numerous discussions on each player during the evaluation process," Chiefs general manager John Dorsey said. "We had excellent competition at every position and that's a great thing, but today we had to make some difficult decisions to narrow our roster to 53."
Malcolm Bronson, who was given a shot to earn the starting safety job that Kendrick Lewis left vacant in free agency, and linebacker Nico Johnson, a fourth-round pick a year ago who never seemed to get up to speed, were among the players who were released.
Also waived were defensive backs Jonathon Amaya, DeMarcus Van Dyke and Justin Rogers; linebackers Alonzo Highsmith and Devan Walker; defensive linemen Kyle Love, Kona Schwenke and Dominique Hamilton; offensive linemen Ricky Henry and J'Marcus Webb; wide receivers Mark Harrison and Fred Williams; fullback Jordan Campbell and running back Charcandrick West.
The biggest eye-opener, though, was undoubtedly the kicking competition.
Born in Brazil, Santos starred at Tulane before signing with the Chiefs as competition for Succop, who missed a costly field goal last season against San Diego. The two of them engaged in a sometimes entertaining duel for the job, often ending practice with a World Cup-style shootout while the entire Chiefs team watched from the sideline.
Succop, who hit 81 percent of his field goals over the past five seasons, may have been slightly more accurate. Santos clearly had the stronger leg. Combine that with all the financial ramifications of the decision and Santos got the nod.
The 5-foot-8, 175-pound Santos also becomes the smallest player on the roster.
"Size really has nothing to do with it," Chiefs special teams coach Dave Toub said. "He's got so much power in his leg. He's pretty explosive as small of stature as he is."
Santos wasn't the only undrafted free agent to make the team. Wide receiver Albert Wilson and safety Daniel Sorenson both earned jobs at two positions where the Chiefs were thin.
The moves likely aren't over, either.
Last season, the Chiefs had the first pick on the waiver wire and claimed seven players who were released by other teams. After going 11-5 last season, they will no longer have such a plum spot in line, but they are still expected to scour the available players for help.
The Chiefs still have questions at wide receiver, defensive back and offensive line.
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