Chiefs’ Nick Bolton: This offseason pursuit would be ‘dream come true’ if it happens

Kansas City Chiefs linebacker Nick Bolton, entering his fourth season with the team, is eligible for a contract extension as he approaches the last year of his deal.

So what’s his level of interest in remaining with KC on a long-term pact?

“It would be a dream come true, if we can get that done in the foreseeable future,” Bolton said on Monday. “But I’m just trying to put my best foot forward.”

Bolton — the Chiefs’ second-round pick in 2021 — said he’s started to develop roots in this area. Originally from Texas, the 24-year-old Bolton played three years in college at Missouri before spending the last three-plus years in KC.

“I’ve been in the state of Missouri going on seven years now. So it definitely feels like home,” Bolton said. “The fans, the community ... open arms since I got here as an 18-year-old. So staying here would be a blessing, man.”

Bolton is one of a few 2021 draft picks — including offensive linemen Creed Humphrey and Trey Smith — whom the Chiefs will likely approach about a potential extension this summer.

The case to bring Bolton back certainly would consider his intangibles. Chiefs defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo has often praised Bolton for his smarts in the film room and on the field; Spagnuolo even revealed after the season that Bolton helped convince him to change plays and run an exotic blitz during the two-minute warning of Super Bowl LVIII.

The down resulted in a critical Brock Purdy incompletion, as a charging Trent McDuffie knocked the pass down.

“But that’s the thing about Nick — we’ve built up this trust,” Spagnuolo told NBC Sports’ Peter King in February. “I trust him; he trusts me.”

If Bolton doesn’t sign a deal this summer, he will play this season as a looming 2025 free agent. He was asked Monday whether that potential reality would change his approach.

“No, not really,” Bolton said. “I’m just trying to focus in on myself a little bit, trying to make myself a better athlete, a better football player.”

Bolton is working out in Arizona, saying he’s taking advantage of the fact that he’s healthier this offseason than in past ones.

Some of his drills now are focused on evening out his body. After suffering a midseason left wrist injury, for example, Bolton couldn’t lift weights with his left hand for an extended period.

Bolton has also emphasized some “pre-hab” drills while attempting to reduce the risk of future injury. He credited Chiefs assistant athletic trainer Julie Frymyer for creating an offseason plan he has followed remotely.

Overall, Bolton said he was excited about the potential of next year’s defense. Once free agency began, the Chiefs made a concerted effort to bring back their own defensive players, which included key contributors such as defensive linemen Chris Jones and Mike Danna and linebacker Drue Tranquill.

Bolton’s main objective, he said, was to see the team show growth in 2024.

“Have our defense pick up where we left off last year, and not regress,” Bolton said. “Try to get better than we were last year.”