From the FanPosts -Joel
This time of year breeds a lot of excitement from fans. You've seen it in the comments around here and on other sites. If the fans are to be believed, then: Devon Wylie is bound for Canton. Knile Davis will be the 2nd leading rusher in the NFL behind Jamaal Charles. Alex Smith can throw the ball 100 yards. Yeah, we get some ridiculous statements, but we're not alone. Apparently the Raiders are somehow Super Bowl bound now that they've shaken the dead weight of Richard Seymour and Kam Wimbley. The Patriots will win the Super Bowl because they did it 10 years ago and have lost all their best players. Charger fans are still convinced that having four RTs will equal a LT.
It just comes with the territory. Every fan base from the Jags to the 49ers is fired up. But along with that unbridled optimism comes the desire to be even better. And most of us think we have figured out how to do that. So, naturally, you get a lot of people asking why their team doesn't sign X player. And Chiefs Kingdom hasn't been any different. Over the past few weeks and months, there have been calls from the fans to get a number of players. Vonta Leach, Brandon Lloyd, O'Brien Schoffield, Richard Seymour, and many others have all gotten some kind of a voucher from fans here on AP. I myself was calling for us to get Desmond Bishop.
So why haven't the Chiefs been as active in going after players as we, the fans, want them to be? Well, the simple answer is $$$. And the truth is, we don't have any left. See, that's the down side of a team spending all of its cap money. In past years, the Chiefs would have been able to make a play on a guy like Schoffield who certainly would help fill a need. But this year, we spent big early on, so that isn't an option...at least not without cutting another player.
So there is an interesting scenario. Could the Chiefs cut someone to make room on the roster to sign another player? Mardy Gilyard would say yes...and then thank you for bringing up such a painful memory. But who could we cut? Who can we afford to lose that would also open up enough money to be aggressive in the FA market.
Here is a list of...expendable is too strong a word, so we'll say "less than necessary" players that would open up some valuable cap space: *Dead money in parenthesis
Geoff Schwartz - OG/OT - $700,000 ($70,000)
A quality veteran who provides excellent depth at two different positions, Geoff Schwartz is the definition of a journeyman in the NFL. He will likely play a long career that sees him as a member of 6-8 teams. He's the kind of asset that teams love to have.
Why Cut Him? Well, there isn't a lot of dead money in his contract which makes it easy. On top of that, the Chiefs do have an impressive younger player in Donald Stephenson who has very similar talents. Since Schwartz is likely a depth player on this roster, it's hard to argue that we truly need to keep him around.
Why Keep Him? The effect a guy like Schwartz can have is pretty big. While not likely to be a starter, he is still solid competition at two (maybe three) positions, and can push any of your depth players to improve as well. He creates a competitive spirit that forces everyone on the offensive line to get better.
Verdict? Ultimately, I would probably keep him. Though I might be tempted to cut him loose to go after someone a little more high-profile, the truth is that you need more guys like Schwartz. You've heard the term "all sizzle and no steak"? Well, Schwartz is the opposite. He's all steak and no sizzle. $700,000 for a guy who could legitimately step in as a starter at two different positions is insane value. I think he was originally signed as part of the plan to trade Branden Albert, but I won't be surprised if he's on the roster again next year.
Kendrick Lewis - FS - $1,374,275 ($51,725)
A 5th rd pick from the now infamous "speed draft", Kendrick Lewis catches a lot of heat from Chiefs fans these days. However, when healthy, he has certainly shown an ability to play that center-fielder type of FS role. He has good hands and reads QBs well enough to be a constant threat to step up into the passing lane and take the ball the other way.
Why Cut Him? Lewis doesn't tackle well at all. If a RB gets to Lewis, we all kind of hold our breath praying that someone else gets there in time to make the play. On top of that, cutting Lewis would open up a good deal of money. At this point in free agency, there isn't hardly anyone we couldn't sign for what we'd save by cutting Lewis.
Why Keep Him? The cold hard truth is that he's still the best option we have at FS. Commings was kind of a long shot for the job this year, but his injury just cements that. Abdullah is more of a SS type of player, and we probably don't want to load too much on him in one year. Demps is not a starting caliber FS...just, no. Berry could probably take the job. However, while he would be a VERY GOOD FS, he is already the BEST SS in the league. I'd keep him there. On top of that, when Lewis is healthy (and he should be this year), he is a very good ball hawk. That's something we need on this defense.
Verdict? Given the situation, the Chiefs pretty much have to keep him. He provides something this defense needs, and there isn't really anyone else that can fill the role. However, there is a very good chance this is his last year in Kansas City. I'd expect the Chiefs to be pretty active in their approach to FS in 2014 unless Lewis can show something.
Tony Moeaki - TE - $1,494,664 ($171,664)
Moeaki is another guy who catches heat from some Chiefs fans. An athletic receiving threat with above average blocking skills, Moeaki was a 1st rd talent who fell to the 3rd rd because of injury concerns. We've seen his athletic ability with some excellent catches. And he has been the 2nd leading receiver for the Chiefs in both of his active seasons. However, his injury history is concerning. While he has only missed substantial time in one of his three seasons, he has had injury problems in the other two, and you can't ignore his college history.
Why Cut Him? Simple. He would save money and we have some pretty good talent at TE to fill the spot. While neither Fasano or Kelce offers the same kind of skill set as Moeaki, they are both perfectly good options that should be just fine for us. And with Demetrius Harris showing some serious skills so far in training camp, Moeaki's job is not certain.
Why Keep Him? Also simple. The Chiefs need all the receiving threats they can get a hold of. Alex Smith is at his best when throwing to his TEs, so it only makes sense to give him as many options there as possible. And with the questions at WR, the value of the TEs almost doubles. Moeaki has talent and provides us with a lot of options for our offense. I doubt Andy Reid finds that distressing.
Verdict? Another keeper. Let Harris sit and learn how to play football again. In the meantime, Moeaki provides us with a pretty good receiving option to help out our new QB. The TE discussion will be opened again next year with Moeaki looking for a new contract and Fasano's dead money no longer being a deal breaker. Tony Mo could be a Chief for years to come if he steps up this year.
Terrance Copper - WR - $915,000 ($75,000)
Terrance Copper is a Special Teams player who offers some value as a possession receiver. He's been around the Chiefs for a while, and is constantly called in to question by fans wondering why we keep a receiver who doesn't put up many stats.
Why Cut Him? Copper's value is in Special Teams, but the Chiefs have gone out of their way to address that area. ST guru, Dave Toub, is the new coach. The Chiefs went after ST aces in Anthony Sherman and Quintin Demps. And, probably worst of all for Copper's value, Jalil Brown has turned into an absolute stud on Special Teams. So the value that Copper once had may no longer be there, and with a small dead money amount, he would open significant room to go after a free agent.
Why Keep Him? He's definitely a team player. He'll do whatever you ask and he'll give it his all. That's a good presence to have on the field and in the locker room. He does have some value as a WR, and though there were a lot of ST acquisitions, he is still a solid player in that part of the game.
Verdict? I say let him go. There is no part of Copper's game that isn't duplicated by someone else. Jalil Brown takes over his role on ST, and we can open up that spot for a young WR who may have more potential than Copper. And the $800,000+ that we save by cutting him could also be used to boost that WR spot.
Dexter McCluster - WR/RB - $1,400,000 ($770,000)
A fan favorite that some folks may question being on this list. Well, I did say that "expendable" was too strong a word. Dexter McCluster is difficult to game plan for. He's been held back by an unimaginative coaching staff and a very poor QB situation, but Dex is the kind of guy who is very dangerous when he gets the ball in space. One on one in space, I would take him over almost every defender in the NFL.
Why Cut Him? Well, despite having an amazing athletic skill set, the production has not been there. Teams are often ready for him, and he has shown a case of fumbilitis. Apparently it's difficult to figure out how to use him, and with his small size, there is always going to be an injury concern.
Why Keep Him? He has the potential to be an x-factor that teams can't prepare for. In most offenses, he would be a dynamic weapon, and I fully expect that Andy Reid will find a way to use him. He has value as an outside receiver, a slot receiver, a running back, and a kick/punt returner. It's hard to find someone that offers all of that. And off the field, he's a quality role model for kids. While not important on game day, that's just the kind of thing you like to have on your team.
Verdict? I'm keeping him. Honestly, it was pretty difficult arguing for a reason to get rid of him. None of his struggles are a result of shortcomings in his game. Hopefully Reid and Smith can utilize McCluster the way he should be. Get him the ball out in the open and let him do what he does best. He'll excite the crowd and tire out the defense. If he clicks in this offense, he'll get re-signed pretty quickly.
Jalil Brown - CB - $682,325 ($234,650)
Currently the #4 CB on the roster, the difference between Jalil Brown and our top three CBs is noticeable. He just isn't the same caliber. However, Brown has turned into a Special Teams stud. There is nobody on this roster (and maybe not even in the league) that reads the punt as well as he does. Brown is often in better position to make a play than even the return man is.
Why Cut Him? We could certainly be better in the CB depth department. Brown wouldn't open up a ton of money, but what we saved on him could be used to go after someone that could be a reliable DB in Dime packages. While Brown holds ST value, that only carries so far.
Why Keep Him? As I mentioned above, he is a Special Teams stud. It's good to have players like that, and while his value at CB isn't much, it's not that big a deal since we aren't asking him to start. A lot of Dustin Colquitt's success has to do with Jalil Brown. He is constantly in position to down punts or keep the ball out of the endzone. That's a big boost to the punter, and through that, to our defense as well.
Verdict? Keeping him. The money we'd save by letting him go isn't enough to send a quality ST player packing. Brown will probably end up being a journeyman in the NFL, but he could also find a long term home in KC depending on what Toub thinks about him this year.
Allen Bailey - DE - $718,986 ($302,972)
Allen Bailey came to the Chiefs with a lot of high expectations. A 3rd rd pick in 2011, Bailey was supposed to help fortify our pass rush and hopefully take over the role that Wallace Gilberry once provided. So far, the results have not been there. Bailey has been a non-factor on defense, and you have to believe that his time is running out.
Why Cut Him? Honestly, why not? He just hasn't done what we needed him to do. The Chiefs pass rush has been abysmal, and Bailey's lack of production is a significant reason why. His production could have easily been replicated by someone making the league minimum.
Why Keep Him? Well, who else are we going to put in there? The truth is that the Chiefs are pretty bare when it comes to defensive line depth, and there isn't a lot out there in free agency to go after. And with a new defensive scheme that calls for more pressure, there is a chance that Bailey will find his groove. That, of course, is the ideal solution. And on top of that, much like Jalil Brown, you're really not freeing up that much cap space by cutting him. In fact, it wouldn't even cover the league minimum for a veteran.
Verdict? This is a toss up, but given that we don't have much else, I'm keeping him. This is Bailey's make or break year. He either has to step up and show he can get to the QB, or he'll become just another guy who spent three years in the NFL and never played again. There's not enough financial gain to just say we should cut him and there's not really a strong reason to keep him. So let him fight it out in camp, and if he makes the roster, so be it.
So in review, there's really only one guy on this roster making significant money that I would part with at this point. And while the $800,000+ from Copper would help in the FA market, it's probably not enough to bring in anyone that would make any real impact. Apart from Copper, and maybe Bailey, there just isn't anyone that it makes sense to cut right now.
This is why the salary cap is so important. We'd like to think that a team is just going after the best players it can possibly get. Well, yes and no. A GM has to take money into account any time he makes a personnel decision. Cost-benefit analysis is one of the most important things for a front office to know. Some players cost you more money to cut than keep. Sometimes getting a great player means you have to settle for mediocre players at other positions. If you spend all your money on starters, it leaves you with bottom of the barrel players when injuries happen. And not all players fit every scheme.
So next time you're wondering why the Chiefs aren't going after that guy you really want in Free Agency, think about this. Remember that there every personnel move has far reaching affects that also must be considered. And one of the most important things that is always affected in a personnel move is how much money it REALLY costs.