As the NFL owners try to grind the players down so they can get richer, it’s time to think about the impact of the lockout on the Kansas City Chiefs. Yes, the rookies and younger players will be affected. However, I want to talk about the veterans. The longer the stoppage, the harder it will be for veterans near the end of their career to give it one more shot. What players are at risk of not returning to the Chiefs?
Brian Waters – Brian is 34 years old. With 11 years of service, does he want to lace on the cleats for one more year? His conflict with the new regime seems to be in the past. However, people can hold grudges and I will not pretend to know his mind. His play has been slipping, so he may read the handwriting on the wall and hang up the cleats. Yes, I know that he was named to the Pro Bowl. That nod was based on reputation, not play. In a way, it’s payback for the times he outplayed Will Shields and Shields went to the Pro Bowl.
My verdict? Waters is likely to retire and the Chiefs really don’t care about this one. They have Jon Asamoah ready to take his starting spot. Even if Waters returns, he may not start.
Mike Vrabel – Yes, Vrabel is unsigned, but it’s either Chiefs or retirement for him. I can’t see Vrabel signing with another team. Yes, he could sign with the Pats for a season, but that’s really not their style. The Chiefs have planned well for Vrabel’s retirement. At 35 years of age and 14 seasons of service, Vrabel is at the end of the line.
My verdict? Vrabel could be talked back for one year of reserve duty to help mature the young linebacker core. The Chiefs would miss his mentorship if he does not return.
Ron Edwards – Ron is younger than most players on this list at 31 years of age and 10 years of service. However, the demands of the nose tackle position are quite high. Players get ground down fast at that spot. Edwards has been playing that spot at a fairly light weight and has been playing a lot of snaps. The combination of the two tends to age a player fast.
My verdict? The Chiefs may try to sign another veteran free agent and let Ron Edwards go. Failing a free agent signing, I expect the Chiefs to bring Edwards back. It is imperative that Edwards rotates with another player to keep both players fresh.
John McGraw – At 32 years of age and 9 years of service, McGraw is fairly young. However, he has been injured a lot recently. So, it’s not out of the realm of possibility for him to retire. This one may shock some Chiefs fans. I consider McGraw the most vital player in this group. Yes, McGraw is not a starter. However, he plays a lot of snaps at a variety of positions. He actually plays a hybrid safety/linebacker spot. He can line up as a free safety, a strong safety or a linebacker. The Chiefs don’t have anyone on the roster that can do everything McGraw can do.
My verdict? McGraw will return, but finding a young player to perform in his role is vital.
OK Addicts, that’s my take, what is yours? Is there anyone else you are concerned about retiring? What is your take on the four players I mentioned?