The Players Pioli Brought In

Here’s a complete list of the transactions that brought veteran players and free agents to the Chiefs. Rookie free agents will be included in segment No. 3 with the 2009-10 draft choices.

The individual moves are rated Excellent, Good, Average and Poor.

———- 2009 ———-

Trade – QB Matt Cassel & OLB Mike Vrabel were acquired on March 1 from the Patriots for a second round selection in the 2009 NFL Draft. It’s hard to see a bad side of this deal for the Chiefs. Cassel has been the starting QB for 30 regular season games, posting a 13-17 mark in the No. 1 position. Vrabel became one of the team’s most vocal leaders and while his abilities had eroded, he made an impact with the example he set and the skull sessions that helped the K.C. defense get better. RATING – GOOD, with further development by Cassel giving it a chance to improve its grade to excellent.

SFA signed – WR C.J. Jones was added to the roster on 3/5/09; released on 6/19/09. From 2003 through 2009, Jones kept getting chances in the NFL and he could not find the field. It started with Cleveland, Seattle and New England before the Chiefs and Denver afterwards. RATING – POOR, a waste of time. Had he not been with the Patriots in ’08 when Pioli was still there, it’s unlikely he would have seen the Chiefs locker room.

SFA signed – LB Darrell Robertson was added to the roster on 3/6/09; released on 6/19/09. Another player that spent time with the Patriots in ’08, Robertson did not get on the field. He was signed by the Cowboys, Patriots and Chiefs, but never played a regular-season game for any of those teams. RATING – POOR, another former member of the Patriots.

UFA signed – CB Travis Daniels was signed on 3/10/09, after playing the ’08 season with the Cleveland Browns and the previous three years with Miami; the Dolphins selected him in the 4th-round of the 2005 NFL Draft; released on 9/4/09; re-signed on 11/4/09 and Daniels remains with the team. RATING –AVERAGE, Daniels hasn’t been a big contributor over two years, playing in 25 games, with 24 total tackle, 1 INT and 10 special teams tackle.

SFA signed – LB Corey Mays was signed on 3/13/09, after he was not tendered a restricted free agent offer by Cincinnati. He broke into the league playing 9 games in 2006-07 with New England, where he began his NFL career as a college free agent out of Notre Dame. With the Chiefs, he’s played 30 games, including 13 starts in ’09, with 100 tackles and 15 special teams tackles. RATING – POOR, Mays became a starter in ’09 simply because there wasn’t much else on the roster.

UFA signed – LB Monty Beisel – was signed on 3/17/09, after playing the ’08 season with the Arizona Cardinals, his third NFL stop after playing for the Chiefs and Patriots (2005); Beisel was released on 9/29/09 after playing in 3 games, with 2 tackle and 1 stop on special teams; he re-signed with Arizona on 11/29/09 and played in six games; he was released on 9/13/10. RATING – POOR, Beisel’s homecoming was anything but as he did not fit with the new Chiefs, despite his familiarity with both Pioli and Haley.

UFA signed – WR Terrance Copper was signed on 3/17/09 after playing the ’08 season with New Orleans and Baltimore; the Chiefs were the fourth NFL team he played with, breaking into the league in 2004 with Dallas as a rookie free agent. He spent time in ’04-05 working with Haley, who was the Cowboys wide receivers coach. RATING – AVERAGE, as Copper has not been much of a contributor for the offense, with 22 catches in 31 games and no scores; he’s been better on special teams coverage with 35 tackles.

UFA signed – WR Bobby Engram was signed on 3/17/09 after playing the ’08 season with Seattle, where he spent 8 seasons; he broke into the league as 2nd-round choice in the 1996 NFL Draft by Chicago; that’s where he met and worked very briefly with Haley; released on 11/7/09; signed with Cleveland and went to training camp in 2010, but was released and he retired. RATING – POOR, as Engram showed his 36 years of age, catching 5 passes for 61 yards in 5 games before he was released.

UFA signed – G Mike Goff was signed on 3/26/09 after playing the ’08 season and the previous four seasons with San Diego; he started seven games and played in eight games before he was moved to the injured-reserve list on 11/11/09; he was released by the Chiefs on 2/24/10. RATING – POOR, Goff was finished as a productive player and once he left the starting lineup, the line stabilized as he was replaced by Andy Alleman and then Wade Smith.

SFA signed – LS Tanner Purdum was signed on 4/7/09, his first taste of life in the NFL, some three years after his college career at Baker ended; released on 8/13/09 in training camp. RATING – POOR, as Purdum was caught daydreaming at practice and was not on the field with the FG team. The same day he was released, Thomas Gafford was re-signed and has been the team’s deep snapper since.

SFA signed – WR Rodney Wright was signed on 4/7/09, after spending three seasons in the Arena Football League; he had previously spent time with the Buffalo Bills; he was supposedly known for his speed and his ability as a returner; he was released on 9/4/09, and the next day was added to the practice squad; he was released for good on 9/16/09. RATING – POOR, as Wright had five total returns in the ’09 pre-season for a total of 36 yards. The Chiefs badly needed a returner, but Wright was not the man.

SFA signed – LB Zach Thomas was signed on 4/13/09 after he was allowed to become a free agent by the Dallas Cowboys where he had spent the ’08 season; Thomas moved into the starting lineup, but suffered an unspecified neck or head injury and was released on 9/5/09, effectively ending his playing career, although he later filed a grievance against the Chiefs and his release. RATING – POOR, as Thomas could not contribute in a season when help was badly needed at inside linebacker.

SFA signed – TE Sean Ryan to a one-year contract on 4/21/09; he played in 10 games, starting the first eight as he replaced Tony Gonzalez in the opening lineup; he caught 14 passes for 135 yards and 2 TD catches; he was not offered a contract for the 2010 season, and he signed with Washington and later Tennessee. RATING – POOR, as Ryan was too slow to become a threat in the Chiefs offense.

SFA signed – TE Tony Curtis was signed on 4/24/09 and was released on 8/4/09; he hardly made a dent in the depth chart behind Sean Ryan; he signed with Baltimore and played three games in ’09 with the Ravens; he went to training camp with San Francisco in 2010, but did not make the roster. RATING – POOR.

UFA signed – C/G Eric Ghiaciuc was signed on 4/30/09, after playing with the Cincinnati Bengals; released on 9/4/09. RATING – POOR, he provided little in the way of consistent blocking in the pre-season.

SFA signed – S Mike Brown was signed on 6/25/09, as basically a last resort to help the situation at safety. He figured to provide depth, but at the start of the regular season, Brown became the starter at strong safety. He was busy, finishing third on the team with 99 total tackles, 2 sacks and 3 interceptions. Brown did an average job on run support, but was a liability in coverage because of his lack of speed and quickness. He was not re-signed for the ’20 season. RATING – AVERAGE, as he did provide some elements of leadership and was a good soldier.

Waiver claim – LB Vince Redd was claimed on 8/4/09, after he was released the day before by New England. Redd lasted 20 days with the Chiefs before he was sent back to the waiver wire; he’s never made it back to the NFL, spending a brief time in the CFL and then the Arena Football League. RATING – POOR, just another Patriots castoff who couldn’t play. Oh, and he was suspended at the time he was released by the NFL for four weeks due to testing positive for performance enhancing drugs.

SFA signed – WR Amani Toomer was signed on 8/4/09 and released on 9/1/09; the veteran receiver from the New York Giants was soon to be 35 years old and had lost his speed and quickness. In the pre-season he caught just 2 passes for 29 yards. After he was released, he did not play football again. RATING – POOR.

Waiver claim – QB Matt Gutierrez on 8/6/09 after he was released by the – who else, the New England Patriots – he was claimed by Pioli; he was released nearly a year later, on 6/14/10, after the team’s off-season program was completed. RATING – POOR, as it was hard to believe that he would have been added if he was released by a team other than the Patriots.

SFA signed – WR Ashley Lelie on 8/17/09 and released on 9/5/09; in the pre-season, he caught 5 passes for 95 yards, including the longest pass play of the exhibition season; the well-traveled Lelie (5 teams in 8 years) looked like he had a chance to stick, but he ended up getting the ax. RATING – POOR, just another failed attempt to provide Cassel with a viable target.

TRADE – C/G Andy Alleman and G/T Ikechuku Ndukwe acquired from the Miami Dolphins in exchange for a sixth-round selection in the 2010 NFL Draft (No. 173); Both players did not have contracts for the ’10 season and the Chiefs did not re-sign them; injury concerns along the O-Line had Pioli looking for help and he went shopping again at the Dolphins with his father-in-law Bill Parcells; these guys were dealt because Parcells knew they were not going to make the Miami roster for the ’09 season; with the Chiefs, Alleman played 9 games and started 3 times at guard, while Ndukwe played in 12 games with 3 starts at RT. RATING – POOR, as neither player was able to increase the talent level. In the 2010 season Alleman went to camp with Indianapolis, but was released early in the pre-season and did not play; Ndukwe became a UFA, but re-signed with the Chiefs on 3/25/10, and was released on the final pre-season cut on 9/3/10; He did not play in the ’10 season, but signed for the ’11 season with the New York Giants on 1/13/11

Waiver claim – OT Ryan O’Callaghan claimed on 9/6/09 after he was released by the Patriots; became the starter at RT in ’09 season after three games; was the starter because there was not another tackle on the roster that season – Ikechuku Ndukwe or Barry Richardson – that was a better player. That wasn’t the case in the ’10 pre-season, as Richardson claimed the starting job. RATING – AVERAGE.

SFA signed – WR Bobby Wade on 9/15/09, as Pioli made yet another attempt to provide the Chiefs offense with a playmaker; Wade caught 6 passes for 72 yards in his first game in the red and gold, but wasn’t able to equal those numbers in any game over the rest of the season; he was not re-signed after becoming a UFA early in 2010; he signed with Washington and played in 2 games, making 2 catches. RATING – POOR, as Wade was as likely to drop the ball thrown to him as making the catch.

SFA signed – TE Leonard Pope on 9/29/09, after he was released several weeks earlier by the Arizona Cardinals; over the last two years, Pope has been more effective as a blocker than receiver; in 29 games he’s caught 30 passes for 250 yards and 3 TDs; RATING – AVERAGE.

SFA signed – LB David Herron on 9/30/09, as they needed help in the kicking game; he appeared in 10 games, and contributed 11 special teams tackles; he was released on 9/4/10, and later signed with San Diego and played two games with the Chargers. RATING – AVERAGE, as Herron’s contributions on special teams deserves some credit.

SFA signed – CB Mike Richardson on 9/20/09; another former member of the Patriots, he played in 11 games, contributing a dozen tackles in the kicking game and 6 tackles on defense; released on 9/3/10, he was re-signed on 12/1/10 and then released on 12/25/10; he was claimed on waivers by Indianapolis. RATING – AVERAGE.

SFA signed – DT Kenny Smith on 10/21/09, after Tank Tyler was traded to Carolina; this one was tough to understand, given that Smith had not played in the NFL the three previous seasons (2006-08); he played in six games before he was released on 12/8/09; he’s not returned to the league. RATING – POOR.

PS promotion – WR Lance Long on 10/25/09, after several weeks on the practice squad, the former receiver for the Arizona Cardinals was added to the active roster; he played in seven games, catching 20 passes for 178 yards; he was released on 8/31/10. RATING – POOR.

Waiver claim – WR Chris Chambers on 11/3/09, after he was released by the San Diego Chargers; Chambers immediately became Matt Cassel’s favorite receiver and he finished the season with 36 catches for 608 yards and 4 TDs in 9 games; it was enough to have the Chiefs sign him after the season when Chambers became a UFA; he signed a 3-year deal worth $12 million, with $5.9 million in guaranteed money; but that money turned out to be the worst investment Pioli has made in two years, as Chambers couldn’t get open and ended up catching just 25 passes for 208 yards and 1 TD. RATING – AVERAGE on the waiver claim, POOR on the new contract.

SFA signed – LB Justin Rogers on 10/14/09; released 10/17/09; re-signed on 11/11/09; placed on injured-reserve list on 12/26/09; released on 2/8/10; a back-up LB and special teams player who played in one game. RATING – POOR.

SFA signed – FB Tim Castille on 11/17/09, after being released on 9/4/09 by the Cardinals after two seasons in Arizona; with the Chiefs he played in 7 games, producing 92 yards in total offense and 5 special teams tackles; Castille has been a solid, but not spectacular. RATING – AVERAGE.

PS promotion – G Darryl Harris on 12/19/09 after 13 weeks on the practice squad; he played in one game and remains with the Chiefs, after spending the ’10 season on the practice squad. RATING –AVERAGE.

SFA signed – S Reshard Langford on 12/25/09, as he came off the Eagles practice squad in Philadelphia; he remained with the team through the 2010 season, but was limited by injuries. RATING – AVERAGE.

———- 2010 ———-

SFA signed – QB Tyler Palko on 3/3/10; promoted from practice squad on 12/8/10; Palko spent the entire 2010 season on the active roster as the No. 3 QB; he played in 2 games, completing 4 of 6 passes for 35 yards. RATING – AVERAGE.

SFA signed – RB Thomas Jones on 3/9/10, four days after he was released by the New York Jets; Jones was coming off a career-best season where he carried 331 times for 1,402 yards and 14 TDs; in his 11th season and at the age of 32, Jones showed the wear and tear of his long career, but he made contributions to the offense, running for 896 yards on 245 carries and 122 receiving yards on 14 catches. RATING – GOOD, even at his advanced age, Jones was an important factor in the team’s turnaround from 4-12 to 10-6.

SFA signed – DL Shaun Smith on 3/10/10, his seventh team since coming into the league in 2003; Smith proved to be a nice pickup for the Chiefs, and for the first time in his career he played in all 16 games, making 10 starts and working at both defensive end and nose tackle; Smith contributed 34 total tackles and 1 sack; he’s without a deal for the upcoming season. RATING – GOOD.

UFA signed
– WR Jerheme Urban on 3/11/10, after spending 3 seasons with the Arizona Cardinals; he suffered a torn ligament in a finger on his right hand during the pre-season; Urban was placed on the injured-reserve list on 9/4/10. RATING – INCOMPLETE.

SFA signed – C Casey Wiegmann on 3/12/10, after he spent 2 seasons with the Broncos; Denver released him on 2/23/10 and there was immediate interest from Washington; but he returned to K.C. and took every snap for the ’10 offense. RATING – GOOD.

SFA signed – G Ryan Lilja on 3/16/10, as he returned to Kansas City after spending 5 seasons with the Colts; Indianapolis released him on 3/8/10; Lilja started 15 games at RG for the Chiefs offense and helped them to a 10-6 season. RATING – EXCELLENT.

SFA signed – WR David Grimes on 5/5/10; released on 7/31/10; former Notre Dame receiver spent the first days of training camp with Chiefs before getting his walking papers. RATING – POOR.

SFA signed – LB John Russell on 8/3/10; released 9/3/10; he spent the rest of the ’10 season on the Buffalo Bills practice squad. RATING – POOR.

SFA signed – C Dan Santucci on 8/7/10; released 9/3/10; he spent the rest of the ’10 season on the Carolina Panthers practice squad. RATING – POOR.

Waiver claim – DT Anthony Toribio on 9/5/10 from the Green Bay Packers; he saw limited playing time with the Chiefs during the ’10 season. RATING – INCOMPLETE.

SFA signed – LB Charlie Anderson on 9/15/10; released on 11/13/10; re-signed on 11/17/10; Anderson saw very limited playing time during the ’10 season. RATING – POOR.

SFA signed – DE Atiyyah Ellison on 10/20/10; released on 10/27/10. NO RATING.

SFA signed – LB Mark Simoneau on 10/27/10; placed on injured-reserve list on 11/17/10. NO RATING.

SFA signed – WR Kevin Curtis on 1/5/11, after playing in just two games during the 2010 regular season with Miami, he was released on 12/298/10 by the Dolphins; Curtis was signed just before the Chiefs first-round game in the playoffs against Baltimore; he became a UFA after the close of the ’10 season. NO RATING.

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