KANSAS CITY, Mo. – The Kansas City Chiefs traded backup running back Knile Davis to the Green Bay Packers, who desperately need to add depth to their injury-riddled backfield.
The Packers gave up a conditional draft pick Tuesday for Davis, who has already started practicing with his new team.
The Packers needed help at running back with Eddie Lacy nursing a bothersome ankle and James Starks undergoing knee surgery. Lacy was their only active running back against Dallas on Sunday, when he rushed for 65 yards on 17 carries in a 30-16 loss.
Starks will be out a couple of weeks. Lacy was being held out of practice Wednesday because the ankle was “very sore,” coach Mike McCarthy said.
That means the Packers will have to get Davis up to speed on the playbook quickly if he’s going to be ready when the Chicago Bears visit Lambeau Field on Thursday night.
“It’s obviously a big challenge when you’re on a short week, but he’s definitely a talented young player,” McCarthy said. “So just looking forward to getting him into the mix and get going.”
Top cornerback Sam Shields, who has been out since the season opener with a concussion, was placed on injured reserve to make room for Davis on the active roster.
The Packers have been struggling in the passing game, and the injuries to Lacy and Starks have added to their issues on offense. McCarty got a look at Davis in Green Bay’s last preseason game, when he ran for 58 yards and a touchdown on 14 carries in the Chiefs’ 17-7 win on Sept. 1.
Davis had been passed over by Spencer Ware and Charcandrick West on the Chiefs’ depth chart, and the return of Jamaal Charles from his knee injury made him expendable.
“I feel like I’m off the reins,” Davis said after practice Tuesday. “I’m just excited to be a part of Green Bay and do I can here. Hopefully my role is bigger.”
The Kansas City Star first reported the trade.
Davis, the former Arkansas standout, was the Chiefs’ third-round pick in 2013. He was expected to team with Charles in a power-and-lightning backfield. But issues with fumbles that plagued him in college continued in the NFL, and he gradually lost playing time to other running backs.
His best season was 2014, when he ran for 463 yards and six touchdowns. But he’s only carried 29 times for 70 yards and a touchdown the past two seasons combined.
Davis was a longshot to make the Kansas City roster out of training camp, but his special teams ability may have made the difference. He’s averaged 27.2 yards on kickoff returns during his four-year career, and returned three kicks for touchdowns.
The fact that the Chiefs and Packers were trade partners is hardly surprising. Chiefs general manager John Dorsey played for the Packers in the 1980s, spent most of his career in their front office and rose to director of football operations before joining the Chiefs prior to the 2013 season.
Davis was the third player he drafted in Kansas City.
Notes: The Davis deal was the start of a slew of roster moves for Kansas City. The Chiefs signed free agent defensive lineman Kendall Reyes, who was Washington for two games this season. He previously played four years in San Diego. Kansas City added cornerback Terrance Mitchell, defensive lineman Rakeem Nunez-Roches and linebacker Ramik Wilson from its practice squad. Defensive end Allen Bailey and linebacker Justin March-Lillard were placed on injured reserve. Defensive lineman Nick Williams was waived.