The Chiefs Could Cut Bait And Run With…

Two games and out? It could happen. In literally 8 days the Chiefs season could be over and the fur could fly. Many, including myself, have assumed this coming offseason would not have as much change over in personnel as last offseason. However, get ready for some shock-and-awe because this could be the big one. You hear that Elizabeth. I’m coming to join ya honey.

What if the Chiefs cut ties with some of their biggest names? Well, names we’ve come to know and love… and who happen to have rather large contracts coming up in 2014. Let’s take a look before the surgeon places scalpel to the chest.

 

Branden Albert

Albert’s 9.8 million dollar contract is prohibitive and Albert is expendable. No, I don’t think Donald Stephenson is nearly the player that Albert is but Albert thinks he’s a franchise player and just because the Chiefs franchised him doesn’t mean he is. At least, I don’t believe he plays that way. For another team to trade for Albert would mean he gets another 2 mil added to this current rate and that would be crazy for an above average player like Brandon A.

Odds Albert will be moved: 85%

 

Tamba Hali

Tamba Hali is not one of these players. It was more likely that his 2013 contract would have been restructured last offseason considering he’s been the highest paid player on the Chiefs payroll at 12.2 million (and a cap number of 15.4 mil) but, next year his contract calls for around 6 million which is doable and seems fair given his above average output for an OLB. Hali has also become one of the low-voice but high energy high effort players teams covet and I’m sure the Chiefs brass consider him a core player and a leader on and off the field. One who’s not going anywhere.

Odds Hali will be moved: 3%

 

Brandon Flowers

Flowers is a candidate for release. Not a popular choice? It could happen. With his play taking a downward turn this season and his salary going from 3.3 Mil (6.6 cap hit) in 2013 to 5.2 mil (10. cap hit) in 2014, since flowers is no longer the Chiefs best CB, he could be replaced by a number of equal or better options in the off season for a much lower price. Before the season began, I expected Flowers to continue to ascent this year and possibly make the Pro Bowl. He seems to have tailed off in a big way.

Odds Flowers will be moved: 75%

 

Dunta Robinson

Robinson is due 3.2 mil (5.3 cap hit) in 2014. That just can’t happen. However, I didn’t think he was worth the contract the Chiefs gave him when he was signed last offseason. However, after a whole season of seeing Robinson up close and personally, it’s even harder to believe the Chiefs would pay him as if he was the 7th most valuable player on the team in 2013. Dunta looked good in the game against the Colts but not good enough to make up for a bad year on his account.

Odds Robinson will be moved: 60%

 

Justin Houston

Justin Houston is one of the reason’s the Chiefs must make some of these other players expendable. Unless the Chiefs find more space under the cap they’re not going to be able to sign their biggest FA coming up in one year. Houston’s rookie contract runs out in 2014 and he is the future of the Chiefs pass rush, no two ways around it.

Odds Houston will be moved: 0%

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One problem I see moving forward is the pay scale vs. the value system for the Chiefs. The 2014 order of Chiefs who are making the most include, in order of most money (base salary) contracted is, 1) D. Bowe, 2) E. Berry, 3) B. Flowers, 4) A. Smith, 5) S. Smith, 6) Mike DeVito, 7) Dunta Robinson, 8) Derrick Johnson, 9) Anthony Fasano (9th based on his higher cap hit), 10) Dustin Colquitt, 11) Chase Daniel, and then 12) the Mr. Jamaal RaShaad Jones Charles the first who, as you know, should not be last on this list.

JC is not only the clear cut MVP of the Chiefs 2013 season, he’s been mentioned in the conversations with the lofty likes of Peyton Manning for the league MVP. The Chiefs need to make things right by showing JC is indeed the savior of the organization at this point in time and pay him accordingly.

There are many fans who believe that the Chiefs had a decent defensive year overall and that the offense has been on again off again. The numbers reflect a different story and say that if the Chiefs were good early then they were horrible late. Not a good sign going into the playoffs. Here’s a breakdown offered by espn.com summing up each of the Chiefs offensive and defensive ranks this season.
Screen Shot 2013-12-27 at 1.27.56 PMIt’s fairly safe to say that the last game of the season vs. the Chargers is not going to dramatically change any of these stats by season’s end… which obviously comes at the end of the that game. Consequently, the value of Jamaal Charles is made clearer than ever.

As far as I’m concerned, the Chiefs could cut ties with Chase Daniel. I’m not seeing the benefits of his services or abilities. Those so-called abilities just haven’t been evident. Yes, if the Chiefs have Alex Smith go down with an injury they’ll need a QB to step in and take over and do that with the least amount of fall off performance wise. It seems there are a number of other QB options that would have done that job better… and for far less… than Chase Daniel.

While many are calling for Tyler Bray to get the backup position, that would be based solely, at this point, on his game four preseason performance and there are still concerns about his head. Playing Bray some during the last game would be a terrific way to help gauge his readiness but that experience will still offer a limited view as to whether or not he could handle a back-up position. That’s a more realistic take on Bray and fans should not get the left foot ahead of the right foot here.

That being said, I want to see more of Tyler Bray and the signs are positive that he’ll get a shot in this game because Reid has a history of such QB nurturing. Bray’s big arm and ability to not only fit the ball in tight places but make throws that few others could even try… is very exciting and we can only hope it happens tomorrow.

How does that all affect the Chiefs cuts? If Bray does well, it would be great to see the Chiefs move Daniel in a trade, perhaps back to New Orleans, and pick up a veteran back-up QB who can stand behind Bray and teach him.

Admittedly, this may not be financially feasible until next offseason because of Chase Daniel and his contract structure but, it would signal a move in the right direction for the organization not only in terms of the future of the QB position but in making cap moves that could save money. Consequently, I’m not in favor of the Chiefs drafting a QB. It wouldn’t make sense with the current QB roster unless they give up on Tyler Bray all together. However, I think he’s warranted another shot behind center, and this time with the second/first team starters running next to him.

WR A.J. Jenkins’ status needs to be addressed as well. Jenkins, remember, came over in return for Jon Baldwin but, he shouldn’t be considered any differently than if it was Baldwin still here under performing, because that’s exactly what Jenkins has been doing and is still doing too: way under performing for a first round pick. The Chiefs must improve their wide receiver corp this off season and you have to wonder if Jenkins will be in the plans. His 1 million dollar contract in 2014 makes him a long shot when considering all the rocks GM John Dorsey is used to turning over to get what… and who… he wants for a lot less than one mil per.

Tyson Jackson could be a Free Agent in 8 days (technically in March). Jackson could easily sign for more money with another team and cash in, which is my prediction for the 2009 3rd pick DE. Here’s a Rotoworld summary of TJs most recent contract with the Chiefs:

3/5/2013: Signed a one-year, $4.7 million contract. The deal contains $4 million guaranteed. Another $500,000 is available through playing-time incentives. 2013: $4.2 million (+ $500,000 workout bonus), 2014: Free Agent.

I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see the Chiefs take a DE with the first pick in the draft. His absence could be horrific if he is replaced by an inferior free agent. However, Tyson Jackson hasn’t lived up to expectations of a first rounder and there will be some who are glad to see him go.

With the values John Dorsey and Andy Reid are able to get in other players I would be at all surprised to see a similar exit to that of Glenn Dorsey’s last off season. The Chiefs signed Mike DeVito one day, signalling the end of the Chiefs interest, and Glenn Dorsey signed with the 49ers the very next.

The 4-7 million dollar savings this would represent is nothing to sneeze at and as I have not traditionally been a tin man advocate (also having to do with my disdain for Scott Pioli because T.J. was his first draft pick and first bad draft pick), I can see him moving on and more new faces filling in and/or moving up: like Allen Bailey or Mike Catapano. I believe both are ready to make a big dent on the field while costing 25% combined of what T.J. would cost to keep.

It’s going to be another, shall we say, intriguing, offseason for our Kansas City Chiefs. And it’s so close, you can almost smell it. And… if you’re wondering what I think it smells like? Smells like Teen Spirit to me, because my guess is, more youth will be served. But, so will better choices as this team comes to increasingly bear the branding symbol of John Dorsey and Andy Reid.

Mmm… sounds yummy! Nothing like grade “A” K.C. chuck.

First order of business? Win a playoff game and make Kansas City a more attractive spot for free agents wanting to visit the playoffs every year and have fun winning along the way.

Go Chiefs!

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