Mel Kiper Expects AFC West Top Picks Like Von Miller, Jonathan Baldwin To Play Immediately

Jared Gaither enhances and complicates the Chiefs offensive line.

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Expect Jared Gaither To Ease Into Offensive Line For Kansas City Chiefs

The Kansas City Chiefs offensive line, and specifically offensive tackle, has been considered a position of need throughout this entire off-season. Scott Pioli finally acknowledged his agreement with those in favor of bringing in some help with the signing of Baltimore Ravens’ left tackle Jared Gaither earlier today. Just don’t expect a quick fix or easy transition.

Questions lingered over whether the Chiefs were set as a playoff team along the front line, and Pioli certainly responded this off-season with a series of moves that will redefine most of the o-line. Casey Wiegmann returns in the middle on a one-year deal to prep the way for second round choice Rodney Hudson. Brian Waters was let go after a Pro Bowl season (and potential Hall of Fame career) to make way for Ryan Lilja at left guard and the entrance of Jon Asamoah into the starting lineup. That means the Chiefs could have three new players (including Lilja’s switch) in new places along the interior.

On the outside, the questions continued whether or not Barry Richardson can hold up as a playoff-caliber right tackle. For that matter, the same concerns persist about Branden Albert and whether or not he should eventually be pushed inside. If Gaither gets healthy, someone will eventually lose their slot because the talent there is simply undeniable.

Yet to that point, it’s still going to be a while, giving both Albert and Richardson continued time to prove their point. They’re both still young and learning their respective positions, after all, and Gaither is probably not ready to go yet. The Chiefs value continuity and the coaches know the players and vice versa that are already in place. Richardson and Albert know the schemes, they know what’s expected and they’ve proven able to perform up to the task on a division winning roster.

Gaither’s health is also an aspect of all of this as he deals with lingering back issues that kept him out all last season. It’s difficult to tell whether or not he’s completely healthy, and back issues are certainly the sort of injury to linger and keep a player out. Even if a guy like Richardson loses his job, it’s obvious he’ll still play plenty in 2011.

Any expectations for Gaither to automatically become the new starter at left or right tackle for the Chiefs are unfounded at this point. The primary task at hand for all involved is for Gaither to get to know the system, coaches, environment and teammates and to prove once and for all that he’s healthy and ready to go. Until then, the Chiefs have men who’ve been in place for some time, and it’s that continuity that plays in their favor for probably the first few weeks of the regular season at least.


Keary Colbert's Signing With Kansas City Chiefs Says Something Scary About Current Receiver Crop

Last night, the question marks were almost visible above the heads of several local KC area sportswriters or broadcasters given the response on Twitter. They wondered why the Kansas City Chiefs would sign Keary Colbert. It’s not that Colbert hasn’t been productive in the NFL the last two years; he hasn’t even been with a team. In fact, just two months ago, he signed with the UFL’s Sacramento franchise. So what is the reason?

At the same time, the Chiefs brought in Todd Carter, an extra kicker into camp who provides an extra leg in team scrimmages, a back-up for preseason games and some help for special teams drills. It’s a long, hot camp and adding a kicker makes sense. Perhaps the same rationale could be used to describe Scott Pioli’s reasons for signing Colbert, but that’s not the case — the Chiefs already have several young receivers in house vying for end of roster slots on special teams or even hopes for the practice squad.

So the signing of Colbert must say something more about the state of the Chiefs receivers. The Chiefs know what they have (or hope they know) with Steve Breaston, Dwayne Bowe, Jonathan Baldwin, Dexter McCluster, Jerheme Urban and Terrance Copper. But perhaps even those aren’t as reassuring as what Haley and Pioli would like, and Colbert had something they liked — even from his NFL playing days a few years ago. Or maybe he found a spark in the UFL.

That’s a bit scary if you think about it. There’s no reason to bring in Colbert to just compete for a special teams role when players like Copper or cornerback Jalil Brown will be taking those slots with experience and talent. Other than that, could Colbert have been brought in because promising players like McCluster or Urban (and definitely the rest) haven’t been up to par? Even Baldwin to this point?

There’s no way the Chiefs are “giving up” on any of those guys, so this isn’t about that. But perhaps the Chiefs want a certain veteran level of performance early, and they realize those guys will need some time to get there. If so, that’s frustrating since a player like Braylon Edwards was signed for $1 million plus incentives for only one year. If the Chiefs needed to bring in veteran help, it’s been sitting there for some time — guys who have played in the NFL recently.

So the question marks are still out there, wondering what Colbert has left and what place he takes on the Chiefs as the team moves toward it’s first preseason game. The way Todd Haley uses him and what happens in upcoming practices may give us an idea of what the front office has in mind.


Why Is WR Keary Colbert Signing With Kansas City Chiefs?

With the rumors swirling on Twitter that Keary Colbert has reportedly reached a deal with the Kansas City Chiefs, it begs two questions: what role could Colbert play on the team and what does he have left?

Nick Wright
notes that he can’t imagine Colbert being anything but a coach given the team’s stack of wide receivers already in camp. That’s a valid concern — the number at least — seeing the names already stacked up. Steve Breaston, Dwayne Bowe, Terrance Copper, Jon Baldwin, Jerheme Urban, Dexter McCluster, Verran Tucker, Jeremy Horne, Chandler Williams, Josue Paul, Chris Manno, Zeke Markshausen. Those are the names of the guys already in Chiefs training camp.

Of course, several of those names will fall by the wayside or at least hit the practice squad. But Copper, Baldwin, Breaston, Bowe, Urban and McCluster aren’t going anywhere. Tucker and others have also impressed. It’s hard to imagine Colbert has a spot on the team, especially when he even recently signed with the UFL’s Sacramento franchise.

As for Colbert’s receiving prowess, well, it hasn’t been on display since 2008 when he caught 12 receptions in 11 games with the Detroit Lions and Denver Broncos. The year before that, in 2007, he caught 32 passes. In 2006? Colbert caught just 5 receptions. That means the sum total of Colbert’s productivity in the last 5 seasons has been less than 50 total catches.

Scott Pioli wouldn’t bring in Colbert if there wasn’t some reason. Perhaps he’s a diamond in the rough. Perhaps he’s the next receivers coach or an assistant of some type. But it is an intriguing move for a team that hasn’t brought in many players this off-season thus far.


Second Year Tight End Tony Moeaki Is Ready To Go With The Kansas City Chiefs

After having to stand on the sidelines for the first week of training camp, second year tight end Tony Moeaki is ready to resume full practice for the Chiefs after having knee surgery during the offseason.

Surffering from a history of injuries going back to his time at the University of Iowa, it now appears this will be viewed as just a minor surgery for Moeaki and there shouldn't be any lingering issues as he begins year number two.

Moeaki became a key cog of the Kansas City offense during his rookie year in which he hauled in 47 receptions for 556 yards and three touchdowns. Not a bad debut for the 24-year old who was a third round draft choice in 2010.

The guys over at Arrowhead Pride also wrote about the news of Moeaki being able to start practicing. The Chiefs will rely heavily on Moeaki this season as Leonard Pope is the only other returning tight end with much game experience. Cody Slate has also been participating in camp at tight end while former Chiefs draft pick Brad Cottam was released during the offseason.


Steve Breaston Contract Details With Kansas City Chiefs Revealed

Some great sleuthing on the part of Joel Thorman over at the always essential Arrowhead Pride reveals the new contract details for perhaps the Kansas City Chiefs biggest get in free agency to this point in wide receiver Steve Breaston. The details were already out that he received a five-year deal worth up to $25 million, but Thorman got the scoop on the year to year take. He writes:

We’re told Breaston received $5 million to sign and a $700,000 base salary in 2011. His $1.8 million base salary in 2012 is guaranteed for injury only and he has a $1.3 million roster bonus in 2012. It appears the Chiefs could get out of this after one year and less than $6 million but I can’t envision a scenario with that happening.

In 2013, his base salary is $3.8 million, in 2014 it’s $3 million and in 2015 it’s $4.1 million. He has $200,000 workout bonuses from 2012-2015 and $1 million reporting bonuses in 2014 and 2015. He has another $500,000 in escalators available each year from 2012-2015.

Overall, that’s a nice contract for both sides. Obviously Breaston has to be happy with the money he received, but it’s good for the Chiefs at a couple of key points. First, it dips a bit in 2014, a, year that should bring a good increase in the salary cap due to renegotiated TV deals that expire that year. There’s a chance the cap will increase by a much higher percentage than normal that year, so this seems like Pioli is building in just a bit more wiggle room since he will have to spend at 89 percent of the cap that year anyway. Expect similar hiccups in other contracts the Chiefs sign players to.


NFL Free Agency: LeRon McClain Joins Kansas City Chiefs On One-Year Deal

The Kansas City Chiefs have added veteran running back/full back LeRon McClain from the Baltimore Ravens. This move strengthens an already formidable Chiefs rushing attack that led the NFL in 2010.

The one year deal gives the Chiefs a chance to see if McClain could be an answer for Thomas Jones', whose contract expires after this year. McClain is a versatile player that will most likely line up all over the backfield for the Chiefs and help them on short yardage situations carrying the ball.

There was rumored interest over the past week that McClain would be headed to Kansas City, but just a few days ago there was discussions that the Chiefs had not yet contacted McClain. With free agents not having to report to training camp until August 4th it makes sense that McClain and the Chiefs came to an agreement the day before he would need to report to camp.

Chiefs fans should be excited with the weapons that have been added this offseason to the offensive side of the ball. Steve Breaston, Jon Baldwin and LeRon McClain give Matt Cassel and the offense plenty of firepower to score in bunches, and McClain gives the running game another physical presence to pound the ball when ahead late in a game.

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