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Let’s just get the official statement out of the way before any commentary is given. Here’s the Tweet as it read from LeBron James concerning Tim Tebow: “Tim Tebow will succeed in the NFL. He’s a hard worker, a student of the game, a natural born leader and most of all a WINNER! It takes time and he’ll be nice.”
In case you missed it, King James decided to give his support to Tebow on Twitter late last night with the above statement. Twitter now gives athletes the chance to talk about what they want when they want, and it places a microphone of sorts in front of our favorite athletes at all times. So it’s not difficult to find talking points from athletes of all kinds at all hours of the day. It’s the nature of things.
But this is one connection that didn’t need to be made. Perhaps it’s not a big deal and the attention given to this will die down soon enough — but that’s what Tebow is fighting in the first place. Attention. He can’t get rid of it. Every Broncos’ move is made with commentary concerning Tebow. How will losing Josh McDaniels affect Tebow? How will the hiring of John Fox affect Tebow? How will the Kyle Orton trade scenario affect Tebow? It’s a constant circus of overanalysis for a guy who’s been a proven winner until now and has to make the necessary adjustments to the pro level.
The entire affair started with Merril Hoge giving ridiculous blanket statements that Tim Tebow will never compete at the NFL level. Specifically he said, “It’s embarrassing to think the Broncos could win with Tebow.” Why is it embarrassing? Hoge is one man with a contract to say stuff that brings in viewers. Of course you’re going to say things like that — whether you really believe them to that degree or not. This is the nature of 24/7 analysis.
But for James to also come in as the defender only makes things worse — worse being the amount of attention being given to the situation. How can Tebow continue to progress under such a microscope where everything is blown out of proportion? How can Fox lead a complete change of atmosphere with the ongoing circus of Tebow versus Orton and the calls for one or the other? Certainly the players have to be sick of the spotlight and the same questions again and again.
James just lived through this — with an entire team living under the spotlight of The Decision. Certainly he realizes the frustration this brings to everyone involved, so why add to that for Tebow’s sake? If you like the guy, then shut up about him. Because everything you say matters, whether or not it should, to the greater public. And suddenly the circus of one athlete meets the circus of the other, and Tebow is further entrenched in a spotlight he can’t get out of.
The drama doesn’t help. Neither does the injury history. But it still seems ridiculous that the New York Giants cannot receive a decent haul for one of the best pass rushers in the NFL right now in Osi Umenyiora. Despite missing all of 2008 with an injury, Umenyiora has still averaged 10+ sacks per season over his last five seasons played, including 11.5 last year.
The Giants are tired of Umenyiora’s routine and harping on wanting to be paid like a top five defensive end, but it’s not as if he doesn’t have a case. He is a top five defensive end, an absolute force against the opponent’s quarterback, which is the top value on defense today. Having an Asomugha is one thing. Having an elite pass rusher is even better.
Now the Giants have reportedly lowered their asking price to a second round choice, something that Pro Football Talk broke the news on early this morning. If that’s true, then some team is going to pounce and enjoy the spoils, likely a team with an extra choice that’s already rich — like the New England Patriots. If that’s true, then the NFL should watch out with a player like Umenyiora who will undoubtedly have a chip on his shoulder as well.
In the pass-happy NFL, a team lives and dies by two things: its own quarterback position and its ability to get to the other team’s quarterback. That’s why it’s so rare to find a pass rusher available on the market — even for a hefty trade price — like the New York Giants defensive end Osi Umenyiora. Consequently, it’s not surprising to hear that five teams are officially in on him.
Whether or not the Giants will receive their first-round pick bounty on him, the team should expect something of a decent haul. Despite his injury troubles, the drama and the fact that he’s 29 years old wanting a major contract, Umenyiora represents the type of gamble that can put a team over the top. He’s had 52 sacks in the last five seasons he’s played and had 11.5 last year. If not for the injury in 2008, who knows how many more he would have.
The fact is that Umenyiora’s moves and instincts are a rare commodity and a team is going to have to stomach the risk to receive the payoff. Five teams are reportedly interested in the defensive end — the Ravens, Chargers, Seahawks, Rams and Broncos. Every single one of those teams would improve by adding such an anchor on the edge, but everyone besides the Ravens would especially improve by instantly adding the best pass rushing option on the team.
For a team that runs the 4-3 with some money to spend, Umenyiora is the kind of gamble you have to roll the dice with, simply because that kind of talent doesn’t come along. You might grit your teeth while signing the contract extension, but that’s the price of success in the NFL — like it or not.
Randy Moss finishes his NFL career with 954 catches for 14,858 yards during a 13-year career with four franchises. Seven times named to the Pro Bowl and four times a first-team All-Pro, Moss finishes his career eighth in total receptions and fifth in career receiving yards.
He amassed 153 receiving touchdowns which leave him tied for second in NFL history (with Terrell Owens) trailing only Jerry Rice's 197.
Moss burst onto the scene as a rookie out of Marshall in 1998 with the Minnesota Vikings, a season in which he had 69 receptions for 1313 yards and a league leading 17 touchdown receptions. For his efforts he not only made the Pro Bowl, but was named All-Pro in his rookie campaign.
Though his coaches and teammates had to put up with many antics that came along with his talented play on the field, Moss retires as one of the greatest receivers in NFL history and the only question that remains is if he is a first ballot Hall of Fame football player. His play on the field certainly answers that question with a resounding yes.
Just hours after a report emerges that the Kansas City Chiefs have taken a closer look at Randy Moss as a free agent target, the always reliable Adam Schefter of ESPN has come out saying that Moss has chosen retirement. What an about face.
There are a couple of instant conclusions that come to mind when something like this is announced. Obviously, Moss was not finding a proper home for his talents — as teams might not have wanted the drama, wanted to get younger or simply didn’t believe that Moss was the player he once was. After all, Moss disappeared last season once he left the Patriots and coming back might have only blemished his reputation instead of adding another quality season to it.
Secondly, this announcement should be taken with some caution. Moss is the kind of personality who would certainly turn around a decision like that if given the right opportunity. In fact, the only way I would believe that Moss is completely finished in the league is if he fails to appear at all this year. In other words, seeing is believing with a player like Moss.
Honestly, the lack of quality wideouts in a pass-happy NFL should bring Moss back to the surface — at least that’s my guess. Those teams that look at their rookies and the remaining free agents will soon find a place for Moss, and at least they will call him and ask if he’s seriously out of it. We’ll find out then the substance of this announcement, but it is surprising seeing as Moss is one of the greatest active receivers in recent NFL history.
Make sure to check out complete NFL Free Agency coverage at SB Nation's NFL section.
The Indianapolis Colts might have waited too long to make their moves in the NFL free agency period, because offensive tackle Charlie Johnson has reportedly just signed with the Minnesota Vikings. During the Peyton Manning negotiations, which took quite a long time as well as the attention of the team, Manning mentioned wanting to make less money so the team could retain both Johnson and Joseph Addai. The latter was saved, but the former found a new home protecting Donovan McNabb.
That’s a frustrating aspect for a team needing to rebuild their offensive line from side to side. The Colts’ protective schemes have been abysmal the last year or more, which even led Bill Polian, the team’s general manager, to point to the offensive line play after their last playoff loss. The team then drafted Anthony Costanzo and Ben Ijalana this offseason to help rebuild the line, but Johnson would have been a valuable contributor in some way, probably at right tackle.
Instead, Johnson heads to a Vikings team looking for a brand new offensive identity after bringing in McNabb to be the starting quarterback and losing receiver Sidney Rice to the Seattle Seahawks. Protecting McNabb is going to be paramount, and the running game with Adrian Peterson will help that aspect as well. Getting Johnson a nice signing that bolsters the offensive unit.
Jerry Richardson said he was going to break the bank this offseason and make a lot of moves. Many of them have been exemplary, especially the ability to surround Cam Newton with new players like Greg Olson while keeping key offensive performers like DeAngelo Williams and Steve Smith in house. But one move that’s certainly an indicator that Carolina is still Carolina is the latest move to round out the quarterbacks on the roster.
Signing Derek Anderson is simply the last thing any team in the NFL should be doing this offseason. The former Arizona QB had a 65.9 rating last season to go with 7 touchdowns and 10 interceptions, and that turned out to be his third best rating in five seasons. In 2009, Anderson had a 42.1 rating. Yes, he’s that bad.
Somehow Anderson earned some kudos during a lucky streak in Cleveland four seasons ago, and the former Oregon State product has coasted on reputation since then. The reality is that he’s a poor decision maker who lacks the accuracy or instincts to successfully pilot a program. While the Panthers already have their No. 1 guy in Cam Newton and fellow rookie Jimmy Clausen also in-house, the reality is that both are incredibly unproven and lack any real security themselves. The Panthers No. 3 quarterback actually is a position with a decent chance of seeing the field in 2011 — and that’s a position Derek Anderson has no business being near.
The wide receiver market took a bit of a hit with the announcement that James Jones has taken himself off the market, agreeing to a new three-year contract with the Green Bay Packers that should keep Aaron Rodgers with an amazing array of receiver targets. Yet one player has to be happy: Braylon Edwards. That’s because the wideout is clearly the best on the market at this point.
Jones had previously flirted with the Minnesota Vikings and New York Jets, but he wound up choosing the team that chose him in the third round four seasons ago. Jones had a career high 50 catches last year for 679 yards, another career-high, with 5 touchdowns.
Edwards now becomes the receiver du jour with Plaxico Burress signing in New York and Jones resigning with Green Bay. Edwards had 53 catches last year for 904 yards and 7 touchdowns, exhibiting a big play ability that somehow eludes his reputation as someone who drops a lot of passes. It’s an unfair designation for a player who makes one big play after another and still offers the free agent market one more impact level wide receiver. You can expect Edwards to sign soon now that the smoke has cleared for many teams at the position and in the market.
Just when you think that player news might begin to dwindle given the sheer amount of players who have already signed, along comes another afternoon like today's that has even more player movement in the NFL. It's easy to forget how many players are up for grabs at this point via trade or free agency, and there won't be another offseason like it for some time. With that said, here's some news briefs on the latest:
*For a team that has their guts ripped out on defense with the loss of Paul Posluszny to the Jacksonville Jaguars, Nick Barnett is a nice consolation prize. He'll have a problem staying healthy and he's definitely on the other side of 30, but Barnett does all things well in the middle. He can rush the passer, he's solid against the run and he can drop back in coverage. He's a great consolation prize, and Buddy Nix did a nice job filling a void they might not have expected to. Given the additions of Marcell Dareus and Aaron Williams among others, the Bills are much better off on defense than last season.
*Todd Heap immediately becomes the best tight end the Cardinals have had for some time, even at this point in his career. Kevin Kolb should enjoy having Heap as an outlet alongside perhaps the best wide receiver in the NFL in Larry Fitzgerald. It's vital for the Cards to replace Steve Breaston and also solidify the running game, so expect some further moves to bolster the offense around their new prized investment.
*The Vikings are in discussions to extend the contract of Chad Greenway on a long-term extension that would keep the talented linebacker in Minnesota for several more years. Expect to hear several more announcements like this over the next few weeks as team use their cap space to reward their best young players. Last year, Greenway had a team high and career high in tackles with 144.
Some of the new faces you'll be seeing around the AFC West next season hope that it fares much better than their previous locations. That's because players like Willis McGahee and Trent Edwards will both take on significant roles with their new teams -- the Denver Broncos and Oakland Raiders respectively -- in hopes that the classic change of scenery strategy pays off.
In Denver, they're hoping to revitalize the Broncos once-storied running game under new head coach John Fox. Fox is used to a dynamic two-headed running attack in Carolina where he could call upon DeAngelo Williams or Jonathan Stewart at any time for a fresh dynamic burst. Knowshon Moreno struggled to become the primary back for the Broncos under Josh McDaniels, but now he gets a new start with Fox while also dealing with the competition provided by McGahee, who hasn't broken 700 yards in a season in three seasons.
The Oakland Raiders, meanwhile, are searching for the right answer at the quarterback position, since Jason Campbell didn't quite grasp the position last season -- the very same thing that happened in Washington. So Hue Jackson has decided to bring in Trent Edwards to also compete for the back-up job and possible sub for Campbell in case there are issues. The main problem is Edwards decision making behind a shaky line, the very same thing he's signing up for in Oakland. It's not a bad place to land in hopes of playing time, but the Raiders have a lot of holes.
He's the lone remaining rookie left unsigned from the Chiefs current draft class. He's also the one rookie most in need of getting into training camp. Whether it's the chance to rehab his college reputation or the opportunity to develop further moves as an NFL level pass rusher, every day that Justin Houston is not in training camp is another day he falls behind.
That's frustrating for a coaching staff wanting to develop a significant pass rush from the other side. As Houston is not in pads or with Romeo Crennel's playbook, Andy Studebaker is taking a step up in every practice, realizing that this is the moment he's been waiting for. So it's not just about acclimating to the next level, but about cementing a roster spot early.
Houston's athleticism and burst off of the edge made him a beast at the college level, but most scouts seemed divided on Houston's chances at the next level -- the reason you would read a first round grade on one website and hear another analyst say that he was going to struggle in the NFL. The mixed reviews dropped him to Scott Pioli and the Chiefs at the top of the third round. Now that he's supposed to make that leap, this is prime time to learn under KC's defensive coaches and mold the potential into something great.
It's difficult to imagine what could possibly be holding up Houston's contract with the new CBA. Perhaps he's wanting guaranteed money given his first-round projection, but it should be clear what range he can expect. What he cannot expect is what it will fully take to succeed at the next level, so getting into camp soon is of the utmost importance.
At this point, the Chiefs have not negotiated a new deal with Hali, nor have they signed Houston, leaving practice squads without the two best pass rushers on the roster besides Wallace Gilberry in there somewhere. While it's nice to have Tyson Jackson looking so fit and ready, the front seven overall is a bit frustrating to have so many holes to fill (and wait on Kelly Gregg to be able to practice). Here's hoping Justin Houston is announced soon enough.
The emergence of Derrick Johnson was one of the most exciting aspects of the 2010 Kansas City Chiefs, and the consistent play of undrafted FA Jovan Belcher was a welcome addition as well. But ILB remains a position with upgrade potential, which means that Scott Pioli might sign someone to fill Belcher's role or add depth given his statement that he'll do anything that helps the roster.
To that end, enter Channing Crowder and Nick Barnett, both recent middle linebacker cuts from the Miami Dolphins and Green Bay Packers respectively. Both players are familiar with the 3-4 system and could immediately step in and provide an upgrade for the Chiefs in a defensive system that should only get better given the amount of young players learning the ropes from front to back.
For Crowder, he was a victim of the Dolphins' finding a better player in former Charger Kevin Burnett. Still the trickle down effect would give the Chiefs a good-to-great defender against the run who's also decent in the passing game. Crowder has had some injury concerns over the last few seasons, which means that having Belcher in the back pocket is a positive scenario.
As for Barnett, he was getting older as the Packers were committing to getting younger. He also has the same injury concerns that Crowder comes with. Even still, Barnett has Super Bowl experience and the ability to rush the passer and drop into coverage. Of both linebackers, he would be the stronger addition to the roster.
It's nice to know there are still some solid options out there as Pioli slowly works the phones and aims for the best addition to the team currently in camp. It wouldn't surprise me if these guys are both snatched up by some team in the next 24 hours, but here's hoping the Chiefs land one of them.
Certainly the ties to Scott Pioli has to have everyone wondering whether or not the Kansas City will sweep in on any of the recent New England cuts. Right tackle Nick Kaczur is now available. So is tight end Alge Crumpler. But it’s defensive end Ty Warren who might provide some important depth, playoff experience and ability along the defensive line.
Peter King recently sent out a message on Warren saying, “I also hear Ty Warren can be had for something close to the minimum if he could go to a contender. Not going back to NE.” If the Patriots are done with Warren, then the most familiar team outside of New England would be the Chiefs, who have dipped into the “former Patriot” pool a few times now.
The Chiefs are definitely a playoff team with 10 wins last year and a dynamic young core on offense and defense. The additions of Kelly Gregg at NT and Steve Breaston at WR only enhance that standing. If Warren can be brought to camp for the veteran minimum, why not pull the trigger on a move that brings so much for so little?
It wasn’t so long ago that Warren was a strong member of a celebrated Patriots defensive line. While health concerns and a scheme change ran him out of Foxboro, there might be enough left in the tank to make such an offer.
One of the lingering questions on the Kansas City roster is opposite of the one that’s most certain. Tamba Hali has one outside linebacker slot down pat and was even recently named the 17th best player in the NFL by Peter King. On the opposite side, question marks abound as the Chiefs try to solidify a pass rush on both sides of the defensive line.
Andy Studebaker was signed to a long-term extension last year and takes up one roster spot vying for the starting OLB position. Mike Vrabel left to become a defensive coach at Ohio State, which positioned the Chiefs to take Justin Houston in the third round as Studebaker’s primary competition. However, both have some question marks.
For Studebaker, it’s a simple question of whether or not he’s ready for a starting spot or whether he’s better served as solid rotational depth. For Houston, he’s a speed rusher off the edge and lacks other pro level moves. Plus, he’s not even signed yet, leading us to wonder whether or not he will even contribute much in his rookie season. There’s a reason why teams passed him, and it’s impossible to tell whether it was a good move for the Chiefs or not until he hits the field.
That’s a major question mark to leave out there when generating a pass rush opposite Hali was such a need in the first place. That’s what makes Matt Roth such an intriguing addition to the Chiefs roster. Roth played a few seasons in Miami before joining the Cleveland Browns last season. He’s very experienced as both a defensive end and an outside linebacker in the 3-4 set and he’s solid against the run and has good pass rushing skills.
Pro Football Focus loves the Chiefs as the prime landing spot for Roth this offseason and notes, “Essentially, Matt Roth is a proven performer. He can play the run, and he makes life real tough for a quarterback. He may never lead the league in sacks, but he will help the coverage guys behind him by generating a lot of pressures. There should be a significant market for his services.”
Personally, this is the kind of signing that would get me excited. Roth immediately cements the starting spot at OLB until Houston gets up to speed on the playbook and adjusts to the pro level. Even if Houston is a better play than Roth on the outside, the lingering concerns some have about Tyson Jackson offer Roth another spot to contribute. If Roth signs a long-term deal, then Pioli has some flexibility when Glenn Dorsey’s contract is up next season.
The addition of Roth would be a positive scenario at every level and would turn out to be one of the best underrated additions in this NFL offseason.
Aubrayo Franklin and the Kansas City Chiefs have thus far been the two friends that everyone believes should be together other than apparently the two parties involved. Given enough time, those friends might or might not come together. But is there room for Franklin on the Chiefs now that they have signed former Baltimore Raven defensive tackle Kelly Gregg? You might not think so.
Yet a quick look at the Chiefs defensive tackle picture is still a bit thin (well, only on the roster, since thin is not an appropriate descriptor of any NFL lineman). Joel Thorman over at Arrowhead Pride had been tipped that some “interesting” move was coming, and he believes this is it. Gregg is indeed a nice signing, someone with a lot of deep playoff experience who has played for some of the best defensive units and coordinators for the last decade.
But Gregg is also 34-years-old, something that doesn’t phase Thorman in his belief the Chiefs are finished at the position other than a minor addition here or there. But with cash to spend, is it possible the Chiefs strike on two of the best defensive tackle positions and turn the position into an abundant one? Franklin, after all, would sign a long-term deal, giving the Chiefs a starter past this year.
There are other holes to fill, however, so I agree with Thorman. What I could see is a signing of a once-promising DT who has yet to make good on that potential like the Cardinals’ Alan Branch or a valuable rotational player like the Colts’ Eric Foster. The Chiefs are still a bit thin here in my opinion, since Jerelle Powe is still a sixth rounder, no matter how much he was hyped in years past.
This is the signing that Chiefs fans have been waiting for — at least some signs of life for a defensive line that is woefully thin, especially on the inside. Joe Fortenpaugh is reporting that the Kansas City Chiefs have signed Kelly Gregg, defensive tackle, to a one-year deal.
Gregg has been a force in the defensive interior for the Baltimore Ravens for the last decade, bringing a wealth of playoff experience with him to Kansas City. He’s also been consistently healthy the last two seasons, starting all 32 regular season games after missing all of 2008 due to microfracture surgery on his knee. Last year he had 34 tackles and it was his first year as a starter that he hadn’t recording at least one sack.
With the news coming through via Pro Football Weekly that wide receiver Mike Sims-Walker is now a St. Louis Ram, it’s clear that the two Missouri teams with over $30 million each to spend are taking two different paths — at least in the early going of free agency. And while that was to be expected, at least that Scott Pioli would take his time, it doesn’t make it any easier to sit and watch other teams fill holes on the roster.
Sims-Walker is the latest signing to give Sam Bradford another target after a surprisingly successful rookie season with hardly any wideouts to speak of. Some unknowns began to step out, but Mike Sims-Walker definitely helps fill a role, especially in the red zone, where MSW has caught 14 touchdowns in the last two seasons.
Already the Rams have signed Quintin Mikell, the top rated safety in the free agent class. He’s a great tackler and someone who will impact the defense from the first day. In addition, the Rams also signed one of the top interior linemen available in Harvey Dahl, formerly of the Atlanta Falcons, to a big contract to help round out their offensive line to protect Bradford.
Both teams still have holes to fill, but it seems that one is cementing more deals than another, which leaves one fan base a bit more optimistic at this point. Both franchises feature young teams with promise in divisions that are definitely weaker than others. The Rams are just seizing the opportunity given in the first few days more than the Chiefs.
Perhaps Scott Pioli knew some of the dominoes would fall if he just waited to address the offensive tackle position in free agency rather than use a draft pick. Or perhaps he doesn’t feel like it even needs addressing. But if he is interested in bolstering the position, this is a good time to do so.
The Chiefs have been relatively silent during this FA period, save for the Steve Breaston addition at wideout, but fans are clamoring for any announcement that brings relief at defensive tackle and/or a fullback named McClain. Yet right tackle has also been a position where no single player would stake his claim, merely filling in adequately enough to hold the Chiefs over. That’s the reason why many fans thought OT Gabe Carimi from Wisconsin might be the Chiefs first round draft choice this year.
Ryan O’Callaghan and Barry Richardson have played the role before, so it’s not as if the Chiefs have no worthy candidates to continue to fill that space. But it’s clear the position could be a candidate for an upgrade, which means Pioli might be looking at his options. And there are plenty:
-Sean Locklear – The longtime Seattle Seahawk was finally cut loose and at 32, his best days are behind him. When healthy, he’s a great finesse blocker who would love the athleticism of Charles and would provide a veteran voice along the line. And Chiefs have the depth to handle the health risk.
-Matt Light – The Patriots cut ties with Light this week and made their longtime left tackle available. Perhaps he comes back for less money, but it’s possible that Pioli strikes in familiar territory. It’s worked out well with other players he’s brought in.
-Nick Kaczur – The same could be said of Light that can be said here, but the likelihood of a return to New England is significantly less here than with Light. In fact, if one of the two linemen were really available, the bet would be on the right tackle. He slipped down the depth chart and is coming off of a back injury, so there are a few question marks here.
-Jammal Brown – The Saints left tackle for years, he switched in 2010 to the right side in Washington and that experience could pay dividends for the Chiefs. He has great size at 6-6, 315 and is solid as a run and pass blocker. This would be my vote for best all-around “get” at the position.
Others are available, including the Broncos’ Ryan Harris or the Colts’ Charlie Johson. Pioli has some choices available to him if he doesn’t want to enter 2011 the same way he did in 2010. But after leading the league in rushing, he might believe the roster is fine as is.
The Kansas City Chiefs have lost two of their most important defensive lineman in the last three days. Ron Edwards has continued on to the Carolina Panthers and just this morning, Shaun Smith agreed to terms with the Tennessee Titans. The defensive line was already a part of the team that was thought by fans as a 'need' area in which San Francisco 49ers nose tackle Aubrayo Franklin seemed to fit a need.
Now that two important pieces are missing on the DL the Chiefs must have a plan in place to strengthen this part of the roster. Whether it's adding a free agent nose tackle like Franklin, Kelly Gregg, Pat Williams or Brandon Mebane, or maybe they have higher hopes for Jerrel Powe and Allen Bailey. Either way, the absence of a free agent nose tackle is starting to weigh on Chiefs fans and Aubrayo Franklin's decision will have a major impact on the psyche of Chiefs fans. Especially now with the decision of Shaun Smith.
This is similar to years' past when fans thought that Scott Pioli would make a big splash in free agency and it never happened. The difference this year with the salary floor is that the Chiefs have to spend a certain amount of money. All reports say that the Chiefs still have plenty of money to spend and with the soon-to-be expiring contracts of Tamba Hali, Brandon Flowers, Brandon Carr and Dwayne Bowe, maybe the Chiefs plan on extending the contracts of these players and not making a huge splash in free agency.
The release of Brian Waters was surprising in that it wasn't necessarily expected. The Chiefs front office has a habit of being secretive and if they weren't, this probably would have been known for a while. Brian Waters saw the rise and fall and rise again of a Chiefs organization that is in-debted to a man that will be revered in Kansas City for as long as fans continue to talk about the soon-to-be ring of honor player. Players like Brian Waters are what make successful franchises and hopefully his leadership and intangibles have rubbed off on Jon Asamoah, as it's his time now in Kansas City.
Although Asamoah does bring a youthful talent to the offensive line, adding a fullback like LeRon McClain will solidify the Chiefs running attack for years to come. It's not every day that you can make a strength of your team even stronger, but the Chiefs have that opportunity.
The weeping and mourning can be heard all over Kansas City as fans have lost their most accessible and favorite defensive lineman in Shaun Smith, the always honest, always open, always entertaining defensive lineman. What will also be missed is his aggressive, versatile game that will certainly be a boost to the Tennessee Titans up front.
New head coach Mike Munchak has to be happy with the addition to the Titans roster, and he joins a solid young nucleus that also includes Derrick Morgan, Tony Brown and Jason Jones. For the Chiefs, Smith might have been deemed expendable given the imports of new linemen like Allen Bailey and Jerrelle Powe, although certainly there was room for Smith given the loss of Ron Edwards. Maybe it just came down to fit and money.
For Smith, it’s clear that he will be dearly missed after one memorable year in Kansas City. Officially, Smith had a nice year on the line with 56 tackles and 1 sack. Unofficially, it was his witty comments on Twitter and a willingness to speak his mind in an oft-silent Chiefs environment that made him so endearing. And who can forget Grabgate in the game against the 49ers?
At this point, expect the Chiefs to bring in another defensive linemen since adding only two rookies plus undrafted free agents to Glenn Dorsey and Tyson Jackson isn’t going to get the job done. Tully Banta-Cain and Aubrayo Franklin have both been rumored, so maybe one or two are coming in. That still doesn’t ease the loss of Smith to the Titans. It’d be my guess that Titans fans are going to feel the same way this time next year about the chance of Smith leaving if it’s only a one-year deal with Tennessee.
The Kansas City Chiefs have now signed seven of their nine 2011 draft picks with the news that Rodney Hudson has agreed on a contract. The center from Florida State was one of the key picks in a stellar 2011 draft for the Chiefs. The uncertainty around the draft in regards to Casey Wiegmann's future made the center position a top priority for the Chiefs. Hudson fell all the way to the Chiefs pick in the middle of the second round and it seemed like the obvious pick at the time.
Hudson was projected by many draft experts to be taken anywhere from the bottom of the first round, to the middle of the second round. Hudson's four-year deal with the Chiefs was signed for an undisclosed amount of money. But Hudson now gets to watch and learn from one of the most technically-sound centers in recent football memory, and not to mention a guy that can teach the young rookie how to take care of his body playing in the trenches.
Wiegmann is still currently active on his 10k + consecutive snap streak and that feat is nothing short of amazing. This is a player that is literally right in the middle of the action and has found a way to keep his body healthy enough to step on the field each and every Sunday, and for each and every play. Whatever knowledge Hudson can get out of Wiegmann this season will go a long ways in the success of the young rookies career in Kansas City.
The Chiefs are now just waiting on the signings of Jon Baldwin and Justin Houston to round out the 2011 class. These signings should happen quickly because these guys need to get to camp on time and it's not the first impression that these players want to make with a hold-out out on an already-shortened offseason.
The rookie quarterback from the University of Iowa has agreed to terms on a contract with the Kansas City Chiefs. Stanzi received a four-year deal worth $2.28 million, that includes a bonus of about $211,000.
Stanzi was a great pickup for the Chiefs in the 2011 draft and has already been upgraded to the number two spot on the Chiefs depth chart before he's ever officially practiced with the team. He jumps over Tyler Palko as the Chiefs backup to starter Matt Cassel.
ESPN draft guru Mel Kiper Jr. was one of the most vocal fans of the Chiefs pick after the draft and he's predicted great things from the Chiefs quarterback in the future.
Chiefs fans will be happy to see a developmental quarterback that can now step into a situation where he can learn from new Chiefs quarterbacks' coach, Jim Zorn. Add to that the fact that Matt Cassel was once in the same position that Stanzi now finds himself and Stanzi has been put into a pretty good situation in Kansas City.
The Chiefs are only waiting on first-round pick Jon Baldwin, second-round pick Rodney Hudson, and third-round pick Justin Houston to sign their contracts so they can get to camp and get ready for a preseason that is just around the corner.
Fans of the Kansas City Chiefs have to be feeling pretty good as they wake up this morning. Sure there are still holes here and there (i.e. middle linebacker and defensive tackle), but the offense of the Chiefs could potentially mirror the great Chiefs offenses of the '90s. That's because the addition of first round draft choice Jonathan Baldwin and new free agent signee Steve Breaston brings Matt Cassel an incredible array of targets. And that makes the Chiefs a threat every time they get the football.
The potency of the Chiefs offense gained national attention last season with the emergence of Jamaal Charles. In 2011, the Chiefs face a significantly more difficult schedule, but they're aiming to improve their weaknesses with time to spare. The holes at wide receiver, quite frankly, have become a strength. While another receiver would be a welcome addition for depth and with the probability that Baldwin will take a bit to adjust, the reality is that the Chiefs now seem set at receiver. They're not the Packers, but the overall offensive picture is quite bright.
ESPN's Bill Williamson reinforces this sunny scenario when he describes the Chiefs offense. He writes, "I expect Baldwin to be ready to contribute right away. He is a vertical threat who will stretch the field. A Bowe, Baldwin, Breaston receiving trio is strong and it’s much better than last year’s receiving crew when it was Bowe and no one else. Add second-year tight end Tony Moeaki and second-year running back/receiver Dexter McCluster and the Chiefs have one of the most varied passing offenses in the NFL"
As he closes his latest column, he says Cassel should be drooling with this many weapons and finally writes, "Yes, folks, this offense has a chance to explode on a weekly basis." We couldn't have said it better ourselves.
And just like that, the Kansas City Chiefs have entered the NFL free agent market. For fans waiting for Scott Pioli and company to do something major with the $30-plus million at their disposal, a nice five-year deal with wide receiver Steve Breaston might do the trick.
The official deal is five years and includes a reported $9 million guaranteed. More details are sure to come forth tomorrow at the start of another business day. But in the meantime, Chiefs fans can rejoice knowing that a major piece of the puzzle has been added to an offense that was already potent and loaded with potential playmakers.
The Chiefs running game has been much celebrated for the last several months due to the emergence of Jamaal Charles as an elite NFL RB and the best overall running attack in the league. Dwayne Bowe led the NFL in touchdown receptions at 15 and no one else was even within one of him. Dexter McCluster is as athletic as they come and features game-changing ability if he can stay healthy. And Tony Moeaki is one of the best young tight ends in the league.
But aside from Bowe, there were all kinds of holes in the passing game. Matt Cassel hardly had an out if defenders stacked the box and Bowe was doubled, which is what happened in the playoff loss to the Ravens. To answer the problem, Jon Baldwin was drafted with the Chiefs first round choice and now a slot receiver has been found in former Arizona Cardinal Steve Breaston.
Breaston has a history, as most readers should know, with Todd Haley already, so the Chiefs head coach will preach a familiar message to Breaston. That’s a plus for a new veteran coming in who should be able to immediately assimilate to Haley’s ways and schemes. Breaston also provides instant credibility down the receiver food chain and offenses must respect his ability — the same ability that’s led to nearly 2,500 receiving yards over the last three seasons.
The Chiefs still have work to do on the defensive end and depth needs to be acquired in the linebacking corps and secondary as well as offensive tackle, but the pieces are now in place for the offense to take things to the next level in 2011. That should be a scary proposition for the rest of the AFC West.
Yesterday, the word was announced that left tackle Chris Harr from UT-Chattanooga had signed with the Kansas City Chiefs. But like many undrafted free agents, many fans were left wondering who exactly he was given the smaller school and corresponding level of notoriety that comes with it.
The good news is that Harr has apparently been on Scott Pioli’s radar for some time, meaning the Chiefs definitely got their man. Harr told the Times Free Press in Chattanooga that the Chiefs were among five teams who contacted him after the draft, but he went with the team who had been interested in him for such a long time:
“They’ve been after me since the beginning, and they really like me. “It’s a good opportunity there, and I just thought it was the best fit for me.” Harr said the Chiefs began showing an interest in him after the 2010 season opener against Appalachian State.
There are a few offensive linemen among the Chiefs signings, but it should be a good franchise to try to snag a late roster spot with given the Chiefs lack of depth at the tackle positions. Harr’s listed size ranges from 6-4 to 6-6 and from 285 to 300 pounds. Sports Illustrated describes him as nimble and quick and praises his awareness and notes a bottom line of “Harr is as a zone blocking prospect for the next level who has potential to be a backup at a number of positions.”
The Kansas City Chiefs don’t have nearly as many holes as they used to, but linebacker is still one of those positions that lacks enough depth heading into camp — both on the outside and the inside. Justin Houston was added in the draft and Cameron Sheffield returns from a season-ending injury from last season’s draft class. But joining them in an attempt to make the final roster will be yet another free agent signing from Temple in linebacker Amara Kamara.
If Kamara makes the roster, he will easily sport the best name on the team if anything else. It’s difficult to get much of a read on Kamara given that his measureables are different depending on the website you trust. CBS had him at 6-2, 238, but ESPN has Kamara at 6-0. He’s likely a fit on special teams only since his play at Temple didn’t seem to produce much in the way of dynamic stats. He had 55 tackles to go with zero sacks, zero forced fumbles and zero interceptions. In other words, it’s hard to see the draw here based on what limited information we can find.
However, Scott Pioli is the one at the helm, so trust is key here. If anything else, just order that Amara Kamara jersey.
This list is in no way official and will definitely grow, probably even by the time I finish writing this. But in our hope to keep you fully informed and up to the moment, it seemed the right time to detail the eight undrafted free agents that the Kansas City Chiefs have signed so far.
The Chiefs have yet to add any longshot quarterback or running back to the roster, but other than that the players run the gamut of positions. Note the list below:
Charlie Gantt – Tight End – Michigan State
David Mims – Offensive Lineman – Virginia Union
Chris Harr – Offensive Lineman – UT-Chattanooga
Mike Ingersoll – Offensive Lineman – North Carolina
Demond Washington – Cornerback – Auburn
Josue Paul – Wide Receiver – Central Connecticut
Brandon Bair – Defensive Tackle – Oregon
Lucas Patterson – Defensive Lineman – Texas A&M
As we mentioned, more will definitely be added and the Chiefs are a prime spot for a quarterback trying to nail a practice squad or even third QB spot on the roster, so expect some type of signing there. This number should even double by Tuesday or Wednesday. We’ll keep you posted.
If you haven’t heard of Josue Paul, there’s good reason for it. The 5-11, 223 lb. wide receiver played in the Northeast conference for Central Connecticut State — not exactly the sort of quick bio that’s read by millions.
But that’s what scouts are paid to do, and the Kansas City Chiefs were impressed enough with Paul’s game to sign the wideout as an undrafted free agent, one of the first few moves of the 2011 NFL offseason after a long desert period for fans. So who is Paul? That’s a good question and one we’ll try to help answer.
NFL Draft Scout actually has Paul listed as a wide receiver/h-back, which makes sense given his size and build. That’s also the scouting report on him over at Sports Illustrated who writes, “Stocky, well-sized possession receiver who’s also displayed return skills in the past. Fluid releasing off the line, quick to top speed, and plays with good awareness. Goes over the middle, makes the difficult reception in a crowd, and uses his size and strength to his advantage. Gives effort blocking downfield.”
In 2010, Paul had 23 catches for 426 yards and 3 touchdowns. Those aren’t the most exciting numbers, but he was a two-time all Northeast conference selection. The previous year, he lead CC in total catches with 55 and also served as their main kick returner.
He lost half his season in 2010 due to an unspecified violation of team rules, which some might add with Justin Houston and Jon Baldwin, but that’s a lazy comparison to make without knowing the incident up-close. Pioli and his staff apparently feel good enough about Paul to bring him into camp. And honestly, what’s the harm?
He seems the ideal player for special teams with good hands, solid build and some versatility. It can only help that there might be an additional emotional edge to overcome the loss of half of his senior season and lack of being drafted.
Our friends over at Arrowhead Pride have been on the ball providing information about all the rookie free agents the Chiefs have been in contact with and signed today. In addition to those already named, it sounds like the Chiefs have also picked up offensive tackle Mike Ingersoll from the University of North Carolina.
Ingersoll is listed on the UNC website as 6'5" 305 lbs and started 25 games at right tackle during the last two seasons. Initially recruited to the Tar Heels as a tight end, Ingersoll moved to the offensive line full time in 2009 when he took over a starting role on the offensive line. He could potentially receive some looks at center for the Chiefs.
it has been clear thus far with three signings on the offensive line and two on the defensive lines that the Chiefs are committed to building depth on both sides of the ball and potentially can find a free agent gem to make the final squad when camp breaks.
Now that the NFL lockout is officially over, the first order of business for NFL teams has been to scramble and sign undrafted rookie free agents to help fill out the squads heading into training camp. Facing a situation which hasn't been seen before in NFL history, the undrafted signings have came to fruition at a frenzied pace.
Thus far the Chiefs have signed six undrafted players.
Demond Washington CB Auburn
David Mims OL Virginia Union
Chris Harr OL Chattanooga
Lucas Patterson DE Texas A&M
Josue Paul WR Central Connecticut
Brandon Bair Oregon
Washington (5'9" 180 lbs) comes from the national champion Auburn Tigers. Listed with 4.45 speed, Washington spent two seasons with the Tigers after transferring from junior college. Compiling 48 tackles, one sack, and three interceptions last year, Washington's opportunity with the Chiefs will be dependent upon his specials teams play. He produced one kick return for a touchdown, a 95-yard kickoff return against Ole Miss.
Virginia Union's Mims is a big body at 6'8" 331 lbs, and likely will be looked at as a right tackle in the NFL. Expected to be a 6th or 7th round draft choice, he certainly will receive a solid look by the Chiefs. NFL Draft Scout had him rated as the 20th best offensive tackle in this year's rookie class.
6'4" 299 lb Chris Harr from the University of Tennessee-Chattanooga will be another offensive lineman joining the Chiefs in training camp. Harr certainly has beefed up in his later college years as the school website has him listed at 260 lbs. The 2010 First Team All-Southern Conference started 34 games at left tackle during his career with the Mocs.
Texas A&M's Lucas Patterson is a 6'3'" 293 lb hybrid DE/DT that started the last two seasons at defensive tackle for the Aggies. He is new to defense, having switched over in the fall of 2009 from the offensive line.
Josue Paul is an interesting pick up, as the 5'11" 233 lb athlete is listed at wide receiver but is actually a WR/H-Back combo. With 4.51 speed, Paul will likely be competing with recent draft pick Shane Bannon of Yale.
The latest and maybe most interesting prospect signed this morning has been Oregon defensive end Brandon Bair. Standing at 6'6" and weighing 276 lbs, Bair was a staring defense end for the Ducks, and many expected him to be drafted in the fifth or sixth round this year. There has been rumblings back in April that the Chiefs were interested in drafting Bair in the later rounds. Bair was second team All-Pac 10 in 2010, and finished 30th nationally in tackles for loss.
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