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Injury Bargain Bin: Chiefs Should Look At Austin And Briesel



Another week, no new signings.

Chiefs fans would be right to expect that given what we’ve seen from Arrowhead Drive so far this offseason, a flurry of free agent activity is not just around the corner. However, we are getting to the point of the offseason where teams can get bargain basement prices for players that have fallen through the cracks.

Obviously, players get signed or not for a myriad of reasons including scheme fits, personal relationships, attitude, and injuries. Many times, good players find themselves unemployed at this point of the offseason for no particular fault of their own but rather because teams have already filled their glaring needs and have spent their free agency budgets already.

Even teams that still have cash to spend often times want to wait until they can see how the Draft will shake out before they add to their roster. There are always veterans picked up during training camp as well, as starters get injured and youngsters disappoint. Still, if you’re an unsigned free agent at this point, you’ve got to be pretty nervous that unless you give your John Hancock to a franchise soon, you’re going to watching Sunday afternoons play out on your couch.

For all of the reasons above, now is a good time for a team that wants to play free agency smart to bring in a few more role players that may be willing to drop their contract expectations for job security now that the signing period has cooled.

Two recently released players that haven’t gotten a lot of press I think fit that mold for the Chiefs — WR Miles Austin and G Mike Briesel.

Both of these players have starting talent and the red flags for them are the same — injuries. But, for a team like the Chiefs that is almost certainly going to draft at least one receiver and one O-lineman, I think they can afford to take a calculated risk on these two.

First off, Austin.

Even more than injuries, Austin was released because the Cowboys were this year’s Oakland Raiders when it came to being in cap hell. They saved $5.5 million by cutting him loose despite the fact that he is, as noted, “only one year removed from catching 66 passes for 943 yards.”

Last season, he started the season off well with 10 receptions for 72 yards in the opener, but was continually hampered by a hamstring injury for the rest of the season. Hamstring strains are notoriously fickle injuries. They may appear to be healed but if you push your return they can tense up again and set your recovery back to square one. That said, these types of strains are also not degenerative like ligament tears or micro fractures, so with a full offseason to rest and rehab, Austin should be back to his old self by September.

While it’s clear that his prime is behind him, he would be a solid pickup as a veteran to compete with WR Donnie Avery and can probably be signed to a short-term incentive-laden contract. Even without the dynamic speed that made him a star in Dallas, Austin is a consistent producer with good hands that can move the chains in a way that WR Dwayne Bowe and Avery weren’t always able to in 2013.

Meanwhile, to provide some dependable depth in the interior of the O-line, you could do a lot worse than Briesel. To me, his release from the Raiders this week was one of the more head-scratching moves out of Oakland this offseason, and that says a lot.


Jeffery Beall

Although nominally an “injury-prone” player, he only missed two games over the past two years. I personally think that a player that fights through injuries should not be bashed for it and Paul Gutierrez, who covers the Raiders for, seems to agree with me.

“He was an absolute warrior for Oakland in his two years, fighting through countless injuries,” he wrote. “Through the week, he could barely move in the Raiders’ locker room, yet there he was on Sunday.”

He’s described as a dependable run blocker who can play center in a pinch as well. Given that the Chiefs aren’t sure what they have this year at guard and they are unlikely to be able to bring in anything resembling a “sure thing” at the position through the draft or free agency, I think Briesel can provide good insurance.

It seems the front office’s goal this year will be to develop a good, young guard for the future — either Rishaw Johnson or a mid-round pick. That’s fine, but I want a veteran in there to push both the young kid and Jeff Allen on the other side. The fact that he is injury insurance for C Rodney Hudson as well is just a cherry on top.

Most importantly, Briesel will be cheap. How cheap? Well, his salary this year for the Raiders would have been $1.38 million. Given that the league hasn’t exactly been jumping to bring him on board, I bet the Chiefs could get him now for the league minimum. If the proposition is to get an experienced, versatile, tough, and high-character veteran off of a rival for $900k, I’m ready to sign.

What say you, Addicts?

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Tags: Free Agency Kansas City Chiefs Mike Briesel Miles Austin

  • Stacy D. Smith

    Free agency has reached the bottom of the barrel at wide receiver. Austin is one season removed from a pretty productive year, but he has a hard time staying healthy. The guy does have a nose for the end zone though. For the right price, maybe.

    Brisiel would be a safer option. He just turned 31 and has only missed 5 starts in the past 3 seasons.

    • berttheclock

      Similar to Sidney Rice. Game winning TD. Knee injury, Game winning TD, ACL tear.

      Hey, off thread, but, I see the Chiefs were in attendance at Pro Day for VTech. Seems as though Kelly of the Eagles and Harbaugh of the Niners were checking out Logan Thomas. Now, were the Chiefs really watching him or some of the other talent on the field? You know, King Carl would have loved to draft Logan Thomas because he thought six six was a prerequisite for a computer produced QB.

  • berttheclock

    Thanks for bringing up Brisiel. Two days ago, I had asked Ben if there had been any nibbles concerning his release, but, Ben never answered my question.

    I have read a couple of things about his release. One stated he was more of a power blocker and the new regime wanted to go to zone blocking. Another said the Raiders wanted to get younger. I tried to find PFF scores on him for last season, but, PFF concentrated on knocking the terrible play of Nix and did not mention him.

    Would be an irony if Miles joined the Chiefs as his breakout game as a Cowboy came against the Chiefs where he appeared to be All Pro.

    • Stacy D. Smith

      Brisiel won’t work here then. Reid prefers ZBS guys, right?

      • berttheclock

        Hey, I went back to sfgate and rechecked the comments. I was wrong about ZBS and power blocking. It was the reverse. He had been signed from the Texans to play ZBS for the Raiders, but, the new coaching staff switched to power blocking. So, he would fit the Chiefs as a ZBS type.

        • Stacy D. Smith

          Good deal. I’d definitely take a look at him. He could fill a hole on this offensive line. That would give the Chiefs even more flexibility with their top pick.

          • unclejesse40

            I would love to see the Chiefs be able to truly take the best player available in this years draft!

          • berttheclock

            BTW, there is an interesting article up at Arrowhead Pride from a GB writing about Ted Thompson (read John Dorsey with him) only wanting to draft LTs who had played LT in college. He did not believe in the “Draft a guard and move him to LT” mode.

          • Stacy D. Smith

            Me too, but at a position of need!

          • Justin R Groth

            This was my thought the moment I heard he was dropped. not great but solid starter who would eliminate the NEED at G so that if they got one in the draft we can have a three way comp vs Allen the rookie and Briesal. Leaving us with competent depth should an online injury happen.

  • Red Shadow

    It should be noted that Miles Austin’s breakout game was at Arrowhead Stadium.

    • berttheclock

      But, but, but, Jon McGraw, Carr and Vrabel all look so stunning trying to stop him.

      • Michael Shaw

        Yeah I STILL cringe every time I see footage of that damn game. We should have won that game!!!!

  • andyred

    I would take my chances on brisel. Pretty durable guard who could qt the very least add good depth. With austin its gotten to the point to not if, but when will he get hurt again?

  • freshmeat62

    I’d jump on Austin. I’ve liked him since that day he came out of nowhere and torched the Chiefs. I think he’d be perfect for Smith to throw to. Probably become the #1 receiver.

  • berttheclock

    As for the several ham string issues suffered by Miles, I have referred this to my wife who has had a great deal of experience in that department. She said most ham string injuries occur due to over developed quads and even the buttocks and to overcome that would be working with experienced trainers who would concentrate on building up the lateral and rear muscles of legs. Whether or not at his age, Chiefs trainers would have the time to develop those muscles is a toss up. One of the reasons his production fell off in 2013 was his lack of explosiveness in coming off the ball. However, there is one other concern and that is the mind of the individual who remembers the pain suffered from the injury and the pain from trying to recover.

  • Michael Shaw

    I thought Oakland releasing Briesel was ignorant and was wondering if maybe Al WAS still alive!! They will regret letting him go and I think John and Andy need to go after him hard. As for Austin, I wanted us to go after him as soon as I heard that he was released by the Cowgirls!! I believe Austin AND Rice would be good signings for this team. They could both help along whatever WR we take in the draft and would give us the flexibility to see if Junior Hemingway can break into the starting lineup, which I think would be awesome. I saw some great games from him last year. Who knows either way. I am going to sit back and see what John and Andy do from now through the preseason! GO CHIEFS!!!!

    • berttheclock

      One interesting area concerning Rice is the lack of any articles concerning him since March 17 when several wrote the Saints were interested in him. However, there has been nothing coming out of NOLA since then. Not even anything coming out of Seattle about trying to bring him back. I still believe his long history of injuries is going to stop teams from signing him. In fact, the Seattle Times wrote that with the depth in the upcoming draft, why pay out decent money on an iffy prospect from an injury standpoint.

  • Daniel Mayfield

    I’d for Austin. We need a WR with better hands….he’s got them. Hands and speed. If they say his hamstring is taken care of, he’s probably good to go. Easily to injure that hamstring again though.
    If they can get Brisiel for 900K and Austin is still in the FA, they might be able to get both of them. I’m sure Austin don’t wanna be sitting at home so he will probably take a low deal on a 1 or 2 yr contract.

    • berttheclock

      The biggest problem with Austin was his lack of explosiveness last season with the Cowboys. He couldn’t use his speed to get open as he had done in his best years with them. If you can’t push off properly, then, just trying to send your former resume downfield ahead of you is not going to work against aggressive D-backs.

  • berttheclock

    At least, Dorsey didn’t get nervous and offer a sixth round pick to Tampa Bay, as the Bills have just done, for the very troubled wide out Mike Williams. He is going to rejoin his former HC at Syracuse. Good luck with that. Lovie refused to put up with any more off field issues from this former 4th round pick in the 2010 draft. Amazing how many NFL players can’t handle the success of making some decent money in the NFL.

  • Chiefs Martyball

    Jason Avant already knows AR and would help and CHEAP I like Austin but I think Avant would be a better option. TE Chase Coffman is another that I would look at he was drafted by Cincy then went to ATL there he studied under Tony Gonzales and could be had CHEAP and an understudy from TG what could hurt. Plenty of Guards but Ilike Briesel also he could be a stop gap. One other is Safety Thomas DeCoud from ATL

  • Hawthorne

    Briesel sounds like a good option. Austin not so much. One of the reasons Chiefs are looking for young WR is Reid’s system. It is a complex offense that takes time to get used to, the last thing we want it to grab a guy who will be done with his career just as he finally masters the offense. For that reason, if we grab a vet it will be Avant who already knows a good chunk of it.

  • Tristian

    As a Cowboys watcher I know all about Miles Austin. There aren’t very many free agent receivers you can say that xan come off the street and they have top 10 talent. He is that guy minus deseans attitude. He can run every route and play all 3 receiver positions. The funny thing about the Cowboys is people stay hurt on thier team but then they leave and stay healthy and you get better value out of them. See Terrance Newman. Anyways I think hed be an ideal pickup because if healthy he can be potentially elite. He is still only 28. Would be the best route runner and have the best hands on the team from the outset. Would love the pickup because I know he would stay healthy here