Andy Mulumba has started his tour of possible NFL destinations for next season.
The free-agent outside linebacker visited on Thursday with the New England Patriots and has another stop planned with the Kansas City Chiefs, according to two NFL sources. Mulumba became a free agent earlier this month when the Green Bay Packers chose not to extend him a contract as a restricted free agent.
The former undrafted free agent spent the past three seasons with the Packers, tallying 35 tackles and one sack in 20 regular-season games. He missed most of the 2014 season due to a torn ACL, but returned in time for the offseason program. By all accounts, the knee checked out fine during his visit with the Patriots.
Mulumba’s situation has been in flux for the past month because he’s a not a citizen of the United States. Mulumba has Canadian citizenship after moving with his family from the Democratic Republic of the Congo when he was 12 years old.
He’s been working to gain U.S. citizenship and permanent residency, but was forced to return to Quebec at the end of February when his work visa expired. He’s meeting with NFL clubs this week on a visitor visa.
It wasn’t a total surprise that the Packers didn’t tender Mulumba a contract since the lowest restricted offer they could have made was for $1.67 million. With an excess of outside linebackers, Mulumba was active in only six regular-season games last season, recording four tackles on 93 snaps (44 defense, 49 special teams).
Perhaps the more peculiar decision is that Green Bay has yet to offer even a minimum contract to the 6-foot-3, 265-pound outside linebacker, who made the active roster in each of the past three seasons. Unless a move is made, the Packers will enter the offseason program with only four full-time outside linebackers on their roster.
If the door in Green Bay closes, Kansas City could be an ideal landing spot for Mulumba. Chiefs general manager John Dorsey, a former Packers executive, had two former undrafted outside linebackers from Green Bay on his roster last season: Frank Zombo (2010) and Dezman Moses (2012).
After an injury-riddled run in Green Bay, Zombo has recorded 54 tackles and five sacks in 48 games as a rotational linebacker for the Chiefs. He recently agreed to a three-year contract to stay in Kansas City.
New England, which has former Packers outside linebacker James Vaughters on its offseason roster, is also in the market for edge rushers. Earlier this month, the Patriots hosted Green Bay running back James Starks before he re-signed with the Packers on a two-year, $6 million contract.