The Chiefs lost starting safety Kendrick Lewis in free agency (to the Texans) and have a hole in their starting lineup. Until the news with Manning, the Chiefs were curiously inactive about filling that hole. They have Sanders Commings, a fifth-round pick last year, who was going to challenge for playing time as a rookie before a training camp injury ruined his season, but otherwise no obvious candidate to take the place of Lewis.
Manning, who turns 32 in August, could be that player. His 2013 season was cut short after six games because of a broken leg, but the injury shouldn't prevent Manning from being at full strength when the 2014 season begins.
The Chiefs are also looking for someone to help return kickoffs after losing Quintin Demps in free agency. Manning was once one of the league's best at returning kickoffs when he played for the Bears and their special teams coordinator, Dave Toub. Toub now holds the same job with the Chiefs.
But Manning has returned just one kickoff in each of the past two seasons in Houston.