I just wanted to take a moment and compliment the posters who have been expressing themselves on our open thread involving the labor situation.
Passionate, rational, emotional, well-thought out ideas one after the other β I’ve never been so proud of my bobgretz.com family as I’ve been in reading the posts over the last few days. It’s forced me to be a bit more active in what I write about the situation. Legal and labor stuff is a pain and I don’t like it, and I can tell most of you agree. But it’s the major news in the world of pro football right now, and goes along with the whole package.
Here are some non-labor questions that I saw pop up on the comments. One thing I’m determined to do is to keep the talk of football going, without being dominated by the labor situation.
el cid says: Bob, what’s happening with Chief’s unsigned players? I do not see how the defense will be better without Smith next year, so when is he able to walk away and look for another team. Gilberry got covered but what about the rest? Can the Chiefs sign any other team’s players yet? What is going on?
Bob says: el cid, I’ve been reluctant to get deeply involved in the situation with individual players because we have no idea if a restricted free agent now, will be a restricted free agent after a new agreement. Same with the unrestricted free agent designation and the franchise player tag.
Right now, the Chiefs can’t sign any players, whether their own, from other teams or off the street. As far as we know, the only player they signed before the restrictions went into effect late Thursday night was second-year LB Cory Greenwood; he inked a one-year deal.
The other 24 players without contracts for the coming season fall into different categories. But what the qualifications of those designations remains unknown. Before last season, a player with two years or less in the league was considered an Exclusive Rights Free Agent. Three years of experience could become a Restricted Free Agent. A player with four or more years would become an Unrestricted Free Agent.
Last season in the final year of the agreement and without a salary cap, the window to RFA became three to five seasons of experience. Six years or more could become UFAs.
Whether it matters or not, we know that the Chiefs have extended tender offers to RFAs CB Brandon Carr, RT Barry Richardson and DE Wallace Gilberry. They also have tendered ERFA S Reshard Langford. We know they have named OLB Tamba Hali as the franchise player, offering him a tender of more than $10 million for the coming season.
Here are the players without contracts that haven’t been named publicly. There designation is based on the original agreement:
- RFA β TE Brad Cottam, FB Mike Cox and CB Maurice Leggett.
- UFA β LB Charlie Anderson, FB Tim Castille, WR Terrance Copper, QB Brodie Croyle, WR Kevin Curtis, CB Travis Daniels, NT Ron Edwards, LB Corey Mays, S Jon McGraw, C Rudy Niswanger, OT Ryan O’Callaghan, TE Leonard Pope, DL Shaun Smith, OLB Mike Vrabel and C Casey Wiegmann.
Push the level for UFA to six seasons and Castille, Croyle, Mays, Niswanger, O’Callaghan and Pope become RFAs.
Like the GMs, coaches and players, el cid you have to be patient.
Bob P. says: I’ve always wondered how the talent evaluators are graded and evaluated by the Chiefs. Do you know how the team grades the scouts?
Bob G says: Different teams handle this in different ways. I know some teams in the league that grade their scouts and adjust the grade from year-to-year based on the performance of the players compared to the grades given him by specific scouts.
Unfortunately, how Scott Pioli goes about grading his scouts is another one of the mysteries that comes with the Patriots Way β it’s a top-level secret, something just below the formula for cracking an atom. I do know that come this summer, the team holds a scouts school, where all their bird dogs come in and spend time with Pioli and college scouting director Phil Emery. I’m sure there is work done in evaluating their efforts and there’s instruction given on how the Chiefs want players evaluated.
Pioli believes there are two types of scouts β those that gather information and those that do evaluations. The gathers are the guys who hit the streets and produce all the background information on players, while also breaking down game tape of their performances in college. The evaluators take all that information and decide whether the player is good enough.
Overall, the grade for the scouts is the same as that of the coaches β that would be how many victories the Chiefs are able to secure.
Danny Q says: Bob, is the Combine really necessary? I stayed home from work on Monday to watch the workouts for the linebackers and defensive line on the NFL Network. Is there something I missed? Do the teams actually sit and watch this stuff and make evaluations on players? What a waste.
Bob says: The best segments at the Combine that provide the teams information are not shown on television β that’s the medical evaluations and the personal interviews with the teams.
The original idea of the Combine was to bring together the players in one site for physical exams. Before the Combine, players were flying all over the country taking the same tests in every city. All the other parts of the four-day visit, everything else was added on over the years.
The No. 1 evaluation tool for any player is his college performances β the game tapes. That’s 80 to 85 percent of the process for most teams. If it’s anything less, they are not going to have a very good batting average in the draft.
As to why the Combine is broadcast on TV has less to do with the event itself and more to do with the always hungry beast that is television. I will bet you that in the coming years, ESPN will compete for the rights to broadcast the Combine. It’s relatively cheap to produce, and the key actors don’t get paid a cent for participating in the event.