The Bills announced Monday that they received a conditional fourth-round pick in the 2019 draft for Ragland, who missed his entire rookie season in 2016 after suffering a torn ACL in his left knee during training camp.
Ragland, the 41st overall draft selection last year, was expected to be part of a competition with Preston Brown for the Bills’ starting middle linebacker position this summer. Brown took all of the first-team reps in training camp and the preseason.
After beginning training camp with the second-team defense, Ragland was moved to the third team after a week of practice in favor of veteran Gerald Hodges. Ragland played only three defensive snaps in the Bills’ preseason loss Saturday to the Ravens.
Bills coach Sean McDermott said Sunday that Ragland was fighting for his roster spot. Ragland’s recovery from his knee injury contributed to his status.
“Reggie has made some progress,” Bills defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier said last week. “He’s getting more time at the linebacker spot. I can see more of a burst, but still not quite where we need him to be to make it a point where Preston would be in jeopardy of losing his job. It’s not at that point yet.”
To create a roster space for Ragland, the Chiefs released linebacker Josh Mauga on Monday. Mauga, 30, started 30 games for Kansas City in 2014 and 2015 but missed all of last season with a hip injury.
The Chiefs have been searching for a starting inside linebacker to pair with Derrick Johnson for some time. Since Brett Veach was hired as general manager in July, they re-signed veteran Mauga and traded with Seattle for Kevin Pierre-Louis. Nobody has stepped forward to win the job, so the Chiefs had been going with Ramik Wilson, last year’s starter.
The Chiefs have also been looking for an eventual replacement for Johnson, who has returned from the torn Achilles tendon that ended his 2016 season in December. But Johnson turns 35 in November.
Ragland, who was the SEC Defensive Player of the Year in 2015 at Alabama, is the fourth draft selection of former Bills general manager Doug Whaley who has been traded by first-year GM Brandon Beane since the start of training camp.
The Bills previously traded 2016 fourth-round pick Cardale Jones to the Chargers, 2014 first-round pick Sammy Watkins to the Rams and 2015 second-round pick Ronald Darby to the Eagles. Buffalo also released 2014 second-round pick Cyrus Kouandjio in May. As a result of trades, the Bills own six selections in the first three rounds of the 2018 draft.
ESPN’s Mike Rodak and Adam Teicher contributed to this report.