Back in February I remember a post about a "salary guru" that the Chiefs had hired to work in the front office. He had worked with Romeo Crennel back in Cleveland and he was regarded as one of the best in the business when it came to dealing with player contracts. Steve had a great link to an article with MacCracken back when he was in Clevaland. It was just another one of the "good hires" that we praised Pioli for as we waited for him to make his mark on this organization. I guess you could consider him one of those very important "behind the scenes" guys. This hire is starting to make his mark on this team for now, and the future.
There are two very important things I notice when it comes to what we've done with players and their contracts. We've all discussed Cassel's contract over and over and over. "Trip" wasn't here for that contract but it's been discussed how "team-friendly" this contract is for the years to come when in looks like Cassel is becoming that QB of the future for our team. But with Studebaker, Johnson, and now Charles all signing extensions this year we got a little glimpse of that this organization is looking for in a player, and how their contracts will reflect this vision.
The first thing that jumped out at me when Studebaker signed his extension first was that the team was going to keep guys around that did it "their way". I have to admit that I am a little tired of the "right 53" phrase. I am not against what it means though. It's just easier to say "right 53" than a passionate football player with leaderesque intangibles, a film junkie who was most likely a captain, and a player who will take responsibility for his play, AND the guy lining up next to him. Studebaker is one of those guys. I also believe that the Studebaker extension means we don't necessarily HAVE to take an OLB in the upcoming draft and it does give us some insurance in case Sheffield doesn't return as fast as most of us would hope. We have a guy there at a great price that should take over as the starter when Vrabel heads back to coach at Ohio State, so he can learn under Tressel before he retires and Urban Myer takes over at OSU with Vrabel as his right hand man. Anyways, I loved the Studie contract price AND length - 3 years.
Then there was the DJ contract. It was obvious for me at this point that we were going to keep our young talen happy with extensions AND give them fair deals, but not overpay one penny. I believe this contract hit it right on the nose as far as length and money. We've all waited for DJ to become the consistent force that he's shown flashes of for years. He turned a corner this year and he was rewarded for it. What a great example to other players on our team, and around the league that the Chiefs will take care of you if you "keep your head down and work"....Sound familiar? Someone got the message.
Then there was the contract that a small minority thought would never come. Jamal Charles becomes a Chiefs for the next five years. As excited as I was about the fact that he is going to be teamed up with Cassel, Moeaki, and Mccluster, and probably some others :), gives us a core group of guys to lead us to the sea of contention once again. The great thing about this contract other than the money, which is lower that I thought at first sight, is that it shows us that Charles wants to be here AND doesn't have to be overpaid to stay. It'd be one thing if these guys were staying because we opened up our pocketbooks and didn't give them much of a chance to leave. But these are fair contracts, not too much, not too little, just right.
I'm excited that these players want to build on the success they've found with this team, these coaches, and us - Chiefsnation. So I guess this post is not more than a Big Ol' H/T to Alan "Trip" McCracken. Thanks for being the "behind the scenes" guy whose effort we will benefit from while most Chiefs fans will never know what you've done for this organization. I thank you for what you are doing. (I understand he's not the only one calling the shots but he's the guy leading the charge)
My last thought is whether or not Charles, DJ, Studebaker, Gafford :) knew that the other were signing extensions. Was this something they knew all along or was it a dominoe effect? Something to marinate on before the game tomorrow, I'll be the one in red.
GO Chiefs. (Cue Bill Murray picture)