Let me start of by making a request. You know what, forget requesting, I'll beg. Who needs pride? NFL, please please PLEASE make the FA period this short every year! This has been some exciting stuff, even if it's causing serious damage to my marriage. Minor detail. After all, I've got the whole rest of my life to earn back the love and respect of my wife... right? I feel as though I should give this more thought. Nah.
Honestly, I'm enjoying this more than laughing at a skater-boy biffing it on Fail Blog. More than watching ups and Texas Chief argue over politics. More than seeing Philip Rivers cry over it being too loud at Arrowhead Stadium. More than watching old clips of MJ make NBA players look like high school benchwarmers. Sure, my life is probably going to be about five years shorter form the stress, but who wants to live past 70 anyways? I'm having a blast!
Now, we know free agency isn't over, and we know that there could be more signings/releases/trades/God-knows-what in the near future. But there's just NO WAY I was going to write about anything else. Mad with power, remember?
Anyone ever read TV Guide? Yes, I'm aware I just outed myself as a total and complete loser. In my defense, I worked graveyard shift at a gas station for 2 years. Other than having a guy try to rob me once, there wasn't a lot in the way of entertainment from midnight to five. So I read whatever was available. Including Cosmo from time to time (and now I've said too much). Anyways, the point is TV Guide has a little section every week called "Cheers and Jeers" in which they praise and mock things that have gone down in television that week.
I'm going to blatantly steal that idea today, with a little bit of Tears added in as well. So grab hold of something and prepare to be told what to think about our free agency to this point. (BTW, I waited as long as I could. I'm writing this at 10:15 so as to be up-to-date. I hope this is obsolete by the time I post and we've signed another great player).
For the Steve Breaston signing. I know, it's obvious. Just a few quick points here. First, they addressed what was still a serious weakness (slot WR), which is always a good thing in FA. And remember, Breaston had tons of success as a slot WR for Haley. This is a big deal because it allows us to put 3 (hopefully, fingers crossed on Baldwin) legitimately talented WRs on the field at once. I have never, ever seen us this stacked at WR. Throw in Moeaki and Jamaal Charles and you've got a beautiful 3 WR, 1TE, 1 RB formation. Weapons everywhere.
Second, about Breaston being an injury concern. The only reason I raise this is because I've seen it so frequently in the comments. Let's squash this, shall we? In a four year career the man has missed four games. He's not an injury concern. Period (isn't it amazing how much stronger that made my argument? 'Nuff said)
And finally, cheers for getting him for a decent contract. 9.5 million guaranteed (and believe 22 million total) is not a high price to pay for a WR as productive as Breaston has been. Especially when you look at the contracts other receivers have been receiving (see what I did there?) in recent years.
For the maddening silence coming from the Chiefs. Look, I totally understand it. I've read The Art of War. I've seen The Godfather. You don't want the enemy to know what you're planning. OK, fine, great. But would it kill you to tell us SOMETHING? Anything? Perhaps just a, "We're in the process of working on some contracts right now" announcement?
I know it seems stupid and maybe a little selfish, but I know I'd rest a little easier if we heard just a little bit from the Don every now and then.
For the releases of Chris Chambers and Brodie Croyle. One was an out-and-out thief who tricked us into giving him 2 million dollars. The other was more a victim of circumstance (or weak genetics, or bad luck). I hope one never plays in the NFL again, and I wish the other the best of luck. It was time for both of them, however.
For the retention of Jon McGraw as a safety. I'm sorry, I don't want to seem like I hate McGraw. I like him as a person and a leader. But he's spent. I don't understand why we're ready to move on from other vets who aren't nearly as washed up (more on that later) but we retain McGraw. Kendrick Lewis is a better safety already. We don't need McGraw to mentor Eric Berry anymore. He's not a rook, and he's got a great DB coach for that. Why keep around a guy who is too slow to be an asset? Sorry John, and sorry those who love him.
For the Kelly Gregg signing. I was getting more and more on edge about our NT situation as time passed by. And hey, maybe we're not done. But we COULD be done signing NT's and I'd still be happy.
Other than Franklin (otherwise known as Our Wet Dream around here), Kelly Gregg was the best NT on the market. You don't have to believe me. Go over to Baltimore Beatdown and ask about Gregg. In fact, some have come here just to congratulate us on a good signing. Many of the fans over there thought they'd try to re-sign Gregg for less money and hoped it was in the cards. He was a big contributor for them last year (their words, not mine) and someone they wished they could keep around.
I'll tell you a few things right now. Kelly Gregg is a better 3-4 NT than Ron Edwards. If you don't believe me, watch some tape or look at the Ravens' track record against the run. He's also a pro's pro and a guy who can help Jerrell Powe learn how to harness that massive body. He's a leader (which will help ease the transition from Vrabel/Waters to Berry/Cassel). And he's a short term commitment. All good things for us right now.
Great signing, great job, great stuff.
For the fact that we do not have Justin Houston signed and in camp. I don't know who these jeers are for, but they're for someone. I don't know what's going on there, but Houston needs to get his poop in a group and get his tail to camp. Because from the sounds of it Andy Studebaker's shown up in amazing shape and ready to roll.
Pioli, if it's you holding this up, get a move on. We need everyone in camp. And Houston, if it's you, get over yourself. I know you were graded to be a first round draft pick. But like a complete and utter imbecile you got stoned before the combine. You deserve to lose out on money just for being so ridiculously dumb. Learn from it, sign a contract, play your butt off, and get yourself paid in a few years.
Get this done.
Cheers AND Jeers
This is for Big Ron and Deep Freeze. You were a couple of serviceable linemen for us, and you worked hard for this team. You contributed to our turnaround last year and played above expectations (especially you Shaun). Congratulations to both of you for finding teams more interested (in other words, willing to offer more money and playing time) in having you than we were. I wish you both the best of luck. Especially you, Ron. I know Deep Freeze was the more popular guy here (and frankly the better player last year), but you've had it TOUGH the last 2 years. You played more snaps than a man your age should play, more than most NT's in the NFL, and you did your best to hold the line.
The Jeers here go to Pioli for not keeping one of these guys. Now, the Gregg signing helps. But I'd feel better about our line if we had more rotational depth. Wallace Gilberry's more of a situational guy. Allen Bailey and Powe are rookies. Dion Gales and Anthony Toribio haven't done anything on the field to instill me with confidence.
Our starting 3 (Glenn Dorsey, Gregg, and Tyson Jackson) look solid to me, especially at stopping the run. But after that it's dicey. Having another proven guy there would help me sleep a little easier. Here's hoping we sign another guy (Ty Warren?), or one of the young guys (looking at you Bailey!) steps up sooner rather than later.
To the fact that Darren Sproles, Robert Gallery, and Nnamdi Asomugha are no longer in the AFC West. I hated playing those guys because... well... they can ball. Don't let the door hit ya where the good Lord split ya.
And as a side note to this, cheers that the Chargers seem to be losing talent (coaches and players alike) at an increasing rate every year. Philip Rivers can't carry them forever. I hope they lose every game for the rest of eternity.
And finally... Tears
For Brian Waters. I don't know what to think about him not being a Chief anymore. I was fifteen when he started playing for us. A freaking sophomore in high school. That's almost half of my life ago. He is a solid player, a good guy, and a team leader. He'll be missed, and hopefully remembered as part of the greatest offensive line ever assembled.
To throw my two cents into the "controversy" surrounding the move, I believe (based on what Waters and Pioli said) that Waters chose to move on when he saw the team was moving on (aka replacing him as a starter, or at least making him compete for the job). There is no evidence for anything else, and frankly no other explanation makes sense given what we know.
Oh, and as far as the conspiracy theory goes (you know, the one that postulates this is payback to Waters over the CBA), Waters said "absolutely not" when asked. If that's not good enough for you, I just don't know what to tell you.
While I'm sad to see Waters go, the move made sense. Jon Asamoah played well last year when given a chance. He's a big, strong, athletic guy who looked ready to play. Waters, on the other hand, had seen a decline in his play for two straight years. He was worse last year than in 2009, and worse in 2009 than 2008. The wheels were starting to come off, and in cases like this it's better to be a year early than a year late. Especially when there's a young guy waiting and ready in the wings.
One last thing I'd like to say about Waters. I believe this sums up the kind of player and person he is. Remember the drama when Pioli and Haley started here? Waters tried to get in to see them and was rebuffed by Pioli (supposedly saying they "had nothing to talk about"). Even worse, he had the "22 guys off the street" conversation with Haley when he met him in a hallway. Basically, they treated him like part of the problem that was the 2-14 Kansas City Chiefs. The problem they'd come to fix.
Fast forward a couple of years. Look at the change in how Waters is treated. He's CONSULTED before being released. Scott Pioli chose to talk to him about it rather than just make the move. And Haley, for the first time ever, broke his well known practice of never, ever, EVER talking about players who aren't on the team to give Waters props. Talk about a change. He went from Just Another Guy on a 2-14 in their eyes to a guy they respected enough to break from their usual methods. That's the type of respect Brian Waters earned from others.
I hope next week I have more to talk about regarding free agency (like, say a new ILB? Perhaps another DL? A RT to compete with B-Rich? A RB to push TJ?), and more Cheers than Jeers to hand out. For now, though, I just have to say that overall I give this free agency period a big Cheer. With just a little Tear on the side.