Kansas City Chiefs: Improving during downtime

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The “Re-signing Justin Houston by Cutting Chase Daniel” Conundrum

The most obvious way the the Chiefs can get better in the next six weeks is to re-sign free-agent outside linebacker Justin Houston. With a July 15th deadline approaching quickly for Houston to sign his tender many have speculated that one way his signing a long time contract might happen is to clear out some cap space beginning by releasing backup quarterback Chase Daniel.

While I have no problems with this move it raises unanswered questions. Like, who would become the Chiefs third quarterback? I know many of you might be saying… hey, wait a minute, that’s not the most important question… the question should be who will be the second quarterback, the backup? True, the Chiefs “must” have a backup but if we can assume they already have that guy then that question is a moot point and the question about who will be the backup to the backup becomes hugely important.

For the past 14 months, since they drafted Aaron Murray in the fifth round of the 2014 draft, the Chiefs have had a chance to address the “backup to the backup” quarterback situation… IF… they didn’t like Murray. Murray appears to have ensconced himself as the heir apparent to the heir apparent so we can only assume they are satisfied with making him the permanent backup if it comes to that. That leaves a gigantic hole behind him.

Now, I like Tyler Bray as much as the next Chiefs fan but realize the Chiefs may not have plans for him. Have they cut him loose? No, but that doesn’t mean he’s “backup to the backup” material (yet) at this point especially since they have completely limited his reps while recuperating. While someone in the organization must like his huge arm and potential enough to keep him around, if the Chiefs did release backup Chase Daniel, I’d assume they would go after a free agent quarterback with some experience.

Michael Vick is out there but it’s hard to see the Chiefs pulling the trigger on that one during the next 6 weeks. If the Chiefs began the season with the same quarterback alignment and then in … say… week three, God forbid, Alex Smith were to get hurt… then I could see Dorsey and Reid considering Vick. In an interviewed this week Vick said he sees himself as someone who can still be “the” starter. That’s a good quality to have in anyone who would ultimately take over the reigns at quarterback but in Vick’s case it could be a problem in the locker room if some players begin to side with Vick that he should be the starter ahead of anyone already occupying that position especially if he’s brought in the be a permanent backup. Yes, he was a help to Geno Smith in New York but there was never a time that he didn’t see himself as better than Geno and was outwardly verbal of that ’fact.” The Chiefs don’t need his deep-rooted drama dharma… and since Andy Reid has been down that road with him it seems less likely to happen prior to training camp.

One big lesson to be taken away from this conversation is: moves made, or not made, tell us almost everything we need to know about how John Dorsey and Andy Reid feel about other players already on their roster.

For example: cutting wideout Da’Rick Rogers this week could be telling us how positively the Chiefs brass feels about Chris Conley (or some of their other young and emerging wide receivers).

In the case of the Chase Daniel and the possibility of cutting him to make room for a new huge Justin Houston contract… the fact that they have NOT made a move to sign a competent second or third quarterback tells us what we need to know: the Chiefs plan on Houston signing his franchise tender.

If they ”knew for sure” that they would have to utilize the money saved by cutting Chase Daniel, don’t you think they’d have already brought in a quarterback who could be picking up the offense? No matter how you feel about Aaron Murray as a second or third backup, bringing in another possible starter would be a must.

When the offseason began I thought that’s what they were doing by grooming Terrelle Pryor. Pryor has experience and has started in 10 NFL regular season games and participated in 15. He had more experience than Chase Daniel. I’m not making a case for Pryor. I’m saying that he looked like a guy they may have thought fit the bill to be at least backup #3 in the event Chase Daniel was released. Now, that’s obviously not what they were doing and unless they make a move for a quarterback between now and July 15th… expect the Chiefs to make no further moves to sign Justin Houston.

Next: Why Three Tight Ends Changes Everything?