The Kansas City Chiefs have announced that they have released veteran guard and 2010 Pro Bowler Brian Waters.
The team announced the move about 20 minutes ago. I am flabbergasted.The Chiefs released some statements to go along with their release.
"“Brian has played a key role in our progress and I am personally grateful for his contributions to this team”, said General Manager Scott Pioli, “He and I had a good discussion and mutually agreed that this is a sound football decision for both Brian and the Chiefs. Brian has been an integral part of this organization and will always be part of the Kansas City Chiefs. We wish him nothing but the best.”Chiefs Chairman and CEO Clark Hunt said, “My family and I have a tremendous amount of respect for Brian both as a player and a person, and we wish him the best in the future. From his performance on the field over the years to being named the NFL Walter Payton Man of the Year in 2009, Brian has been an outstanding member of the Chiefs organization, and when he is ready to retire, we’ll welcome him back to do so as a member of the Kansas City Chiefs.”Chiefs Head Coach Todd Haley also thanked Waters, saying, “I truly appreciate Brian’s professionalism and consistent approach to the game on and off the field. That was of great significance especially while trying to create a solid foundation for this football team. I know his work ethic and competitiveness will allow him to continue to be successful and I want to thank him for his contributions to our team.”"
Bob Fescoe of 610 Sports is reporting via Twitter that he has spoken to Waters via the phone. According to Fescoe, the move was not a surprise and that the decision was mutual between Waters and the Chiefs. He says Waters has no ill will toward the team.
Here is a quote from Waters:
"“I’d like to thank the entire Chiefs organization, especially for giving me an opportunity as a young player when other teams wouldn’t,” Waters said. “I’m grateful for the coaches, teammates and support staff who helped me become the player and man I am today. I’d also like to thank the fans of Kansas City who cheered us on. The Chiefs and I have mutually agreed on this decision and although I look forward to continuing my career, I’ll always have a special place in my heart for Kansas City.”"
Now that we got the quotes out of the way, there are probably a couple of explanations for all this. After the jump.
1. The Chiefs are clearing cap space.
I don’t have his numbers in front of me but I know Waters was well paid. By cutting the veteran they will now have extra wiggle room if they want to make a big free agent signing. Think Franklin. Maybe even Namdi. Don’t underestimate Pioli.
2. The move was a sign of respect for Waters
The Chiefs could have traded him but then Waters wouldn’t have had a say in where he ended up. The Chiefs probably wouldn’t have gotten much for Brian as his play has slipped a bit and he is at the end of his career. By releasing him, the do him a solid by essentially making him a free agent. Now he is free to sign with a contender looking for offensive line help.
3. The Chiefs are high on Jon Asamoah
The Chiefs are very high on G Jon Asamoah who they drafted in 2010. He was taken to eventually replace Waters and was considered by many to be the second best G in his draft. He is, by all reports, an excellent character guy and a hard worker as well. The Chiefs probably were ready to start him and thus it made no sense to pay Waters so much to be a backup. This way, they cut some cap space and get their new man in the lineup.
The move is a shock and I am sad to see Waters go but this is probably best for the future of KC’s offensive line. Waters isn’t going to suddenly get better. Asamoah could very well be an upgrade so there is a chance the Chiefs just got better. Time will tell.