Immediately after the Kansas City Chiefs announced the release of Brian Waters, a near-audible gasp could be heard around the NFL. Chiefs fans closest to the epicenter knew that the Pro Bowl tag applied to Waters final season in Kansas City seemed based on his reputation more than his play, but he was a well respected lineman who is known nationally as a potential Hall of Fame candidate who played the game as well as anyone in his prime. And as with any such cut, the obvious question is, "Where's next for Waters?"
The Chiefs were obviously getting younger with the release, since they had Jon Asamoah waiting in the wings from the 2009 NFL Draft. They also added the versatile Rodney Hudson to the line as well. What they didn't know then was that they'd even add Jared Gaither, a potential starting tackle who might slide Branden Albert elsewhere. The release of Waters was simply a necessity for the Chiefs at this point, and apparently Waters agreed since team brass said it was a mutual split.
Since then, however, several offensive linemen have signed with teams all over the NFL and Waters' name has yet to surface. Some immediate rumors began to circulate that Jerry Jones and the Dallas Cowboys would chase after him. The Chicago Bears were also mentioned, as were the St. Louis Rams. All of those teams still could use a bit of help along the offensive front, especially the Bears and Cowboys, so those are still possibilities. But it's been a strangely silent market for a player who seemed to have such a strong reputation and some ability left in the tank.
Perhaps Waters is waiting for his chance with the right team. He's a celebrated vet, after all, and doesn't need to go to the first team with a hole in their line. He's been around the game enough to know that multiple teams will experience injuries and/or will not like what they see after some weeks of training camp. So maybe the plan is for Waters to wait and strike later on. Or maybe his phone just isn't ringing, with the Chiefs move representing what scouts opinions are saying around the NFL.
Most likely it's the former and the word out of Dallas is that they're "kicking the tires" on Waters, good news for the Texas product as it would provide a homecoming of sorts at the end of a career. Richie Whitt of the Dallas Observer writes, "At 34, he's still got a little tread on the tire and I hear he has a desire to finish his career close to home in Dallas. The Cowboys haven't made him a contract offer, but a source last night told me his name comes up daily in conversations."
Here's hoping Waters has a fitting end to a truly amazing career, and that Dallas receives the o-line help it needs in the process -- if Waters is to end up there. If not, it's anyone's guess where he'll go but the silence surrounding his name for the most part this offseason might be one of the more surprising storylines that no one is talking about.