As the Chiefs prepare to enter into training camp and pare down their roster to the top 53 players, there are going to be cuts aplenty. Among those players will be a number of surprises. We thought we'd try to thread the needle with plausible surprise cuts — forgoing obvious fringe players on the bubble while also keeping things realistic.
For this first part, let's take a tour of the offense.
Quarterback - Kevin Hogan
Two reasons here. First of all, your likely response is, "But the Chiefs just drafted him." On a team this deep, not even a very recent draftee in the fifth round is considered safe for a single year. The Chiefs are loaded in anticipation of a deep playoff run. If the team has better players on the depth chart right now after spending a summer looking at a draft pick, you still cut him even if he's the baby of the family.
Even more important is knowing that both Tyler Bray and Aaron Murray have two things going for them: they have years inside of Andy Reid's system AND they are still the young quarterback waiting in the wings. Hogan's youth doesn't net him any points over the two incumbents already here.
Bray might have gone undrafted, but clearly this regime likes the raw talent because they keep stuffing him inside hidden closets and secret passageways to keep the free agent police from carrying him away from final rosters are due. Murray is also a fifth round pick who just also happens to have been practicing, watching film, working out and getting reps at the pro level for two years now. In fact, I think I just talked myself into Kevin Hogan as an obvious cut rather than a surprise.
Wide Receiver - Albert Wilson
I just heard three of you gasp and someone else yell, "GTFO!" I get it. The Chiefs are already Old Mother Hubbard when it comes to the bare cupboards at wideout after Jeremy Maclin. Albert Wilson and Chris Conley are literally the next two guys. There's zero chance of getting rid of them, right? Maybe not.
John Dorsey just spent this offseason parading Albert Wilson around as a man ready to take the leap. "His ceiling is so high, it's like being inside a two-story building," Dorsey supposedly said to someone somewhere (maybe). Wilson has come a long way for an undrafted free agent, and Dorsey seems to believe he's primed for a breakout season. He might be right. Chiefs fans certainly hope so.
That said, what better way to try to entice a potential trade for a developmental wideout on the rise than by talking him up in the media? Tyreek Hill is flashing true ability. Chris Conley has more upside than anyone sans Maclin. Rod Streater is a veteran presence with serious skills signed on the cheap. Between Demarcus Robinson, DAT, Frankie Hammond and others, maybe the team is a bit more loaded than we thought.
Will this happen? No way. This is all silly arguments for the water cooler in June. But admit it's at least not as ridiculous as when I started writing.
Tight End - James O'Shaughnessy
I would have said Demetrius Harris here, because it seems like he's been the same developmental-player-who-used-to-play-basketball for 16 years now. But I forgot the Chiefs recently signed him to an extension in January which means I had to erase everything to name James O'Shaughnessy instead. And just when I was starting to memorize the 'h' before the 'nessy.'
The former small school prospect showed flashes during training camp and on the field of the ways in which his hands could pay dividends on the field for the Chiefs. That said, there are limited slots here and Travis Kelce and Harris have two of them locked up. If there's going to be any surprises here, it will be that O...nessy failed to beat out a thicker option like Brian Parker or another basketball player in Ross Travis.
Running back - Anthony Sherman
What's up Big Sherm... I mean, Big Worm? (Friday joke). Could the Chiefs really cut the human tank? Isn't he the best fullback in the NFL? Isn't he the only fullback in the NFL? Can't he also play safety? Didn't the Chiefs just sign him to an extension awhile back? Yes. Maybe. No. Er. Yes.
This is Sherman's final year of a two-year extension he signed in 2014 in a period of time known as Sherman's Love Streak. Pro Football Focus loved him. Fans loved him. The Pro Bowl loved him. Even Javier Arenas loved him, since any Sherman mention likely leads to the only press coverage for Arenas these days.
That said, Sherman is the only possible back I can come up with that is somewhat realistic and yet surprising. Knile Davis? This column isn't called Obvious Moves. Charles is the most electric back in football, when healthy. Charcandrick West and Spencer Ware are cheap, reliable and newly extended. Sherman is the most surprising yet realistic cut, even if this is a futile exercise to find someone so I didn't have to write "no one."