Was It The Money? … Friday Cup O’Chiefs

The way things went on Thursday around the Chiefs one would think that GM Scott Pioli was struggling to get his 2011 payroll under the league’s salary cap by next week.

But the Chiefs were far from hitting the roof of the cap Thursday morning, and they were even further away by the end of the day.

By slicing veteran Pro Bowl G Brian Waters and veteran WR Chris Chambers, Pioli removed two of the highest salaries on the 2011 Chiefs. In the final season of his current contract, Waters was set to make $3.5 million. Chambers, who Pioli signed to a big contract last season (3 years, $12 million, with $5.9 million in guaranteed money) was going to receive $2.9 million.

There are a lot of teams around the league that are giving their rosters financial haircuts quite similar to the two Chiefs released for a total of $6.4 million.

They added another $405,000 when first-year CB Jackie Bates was also released on Thursday.

How much was money a factor in these moves? It would be wrong to say it was not a factor. And, it would be wrong to think that it was the major reason Waters and Chambers were put on the street.

Let’s start with Waters, a five-time Pro Bowler who started strong last year, but then saw the level of his performance slowly drop off during the long season. That’s not a surprise for a man who was 33 and playing in his 11th NFL season. There’s no question that his best seasons are behind him, something even Waters would admit. In this off-season, his attention has been diverted by the NFL owners’ lockout, as he was a member of the NFL Players Association executive committee.

Its doubtful Waters would have been in the type of condition that Todd Haley wants from his players and there isn’t a lot of time to get there in the next six weeks before the season opener. Waters indicated that the decision on being removed from the Chiefs roster was a mutual call, and he also said he wants to continue his career. That wouldn’t be a surprise, because there are teams where Waters could go and slowly get himself into shape to play and be a huge improvement over what’s already there.

How much of a factor was Waters union activity in his release? Everyone involved with the Chiefs would say it had no effect, but the folks at the players association are watching the personnel activity of the league’s 32 teams. Traditionally after labor disagreements, union activists tend to find themselves on the unemployment line. Generally players in those union positions are the most veteran guys, who are naturally closer to end of the line. But sometimes players lose their job because of what went on at the negotiating table.

So who plays left guard? Attention will come on Friday when the Chiefs hold their first practice. It’s without pads, but the players still have to lineup at the 22 positions on the field and somebody will have to sit in there between left tackle and center. Will it be second-year man Jon Asamoah? How about 2nd-round draft choice Rodney Hudson. Maybe it will be first-year man Darryl Harris who has been on the practice squad for the past two years. When Waters was injured at the start of training camp last year, it was Harris who stepped into the job and was performing well before he suffered a knee injury.

And what about Chambers? We have other posts here that provide details on why he got bounced from his spot on the roster. The two biggest reasons are Jonathan Baldwin and Steve Breaston, wide receivers grabbed in the draft and free agency who easily would have been ahead of Chambers on the depth chart.

There’s no doubt money was a factor with Chambers, simply because there wasn’t any way that the Chiefs were going to pay him what his contract called for based on the performance of last season.

Bates joined the team as an undrafted rookie free agent in 2009 out of Hampton. He spent that’09 season on the practice squad and then earned a spot on the 53-man roster coming out of the 2010 pre-season. He ended up playing in two games and he was inactive for nine. He suffered a knee injury in Seattle on November 28, and ended up on the injured-reserve list to finish out the season.

Also gone from the secondary is DB Maurice Leggett, who signed with Detroit. Leggett joined the team in 2008 as an undrafted rookie free agent out of Division II power Valdosta State. He ended up making the team and was the winner of the team’s Mack Lee Hill Award for outstanding performance by a rookie. Injuries in the last two seasons cost him 22 games, as he spent part of the 2009 season and the entire 2010 season on the injured-reserve list.


The Chiefs can have 90 players on the roster for this afternoon’s first practice, but just how many players will be there at 3:30 p.m. is a very fluid situation. As they settled into their dorm rooms Thursday night at Missouri Western State University, here’s what we think we know – there are 70 players signed or agreed to contracts:

  • QB (3) – Matt Cassel, Tyler Palko, Ricky Stanzi.
  • RB (5) – Shane Bannon, Jamaal Charles, Tervaris Johnson, Thomas Jones, Dexter McCluster.
  • WR (9) – Dwayne Bowe, Steve Breaston, Terrance Copper, Jeremy Horne, Quinten Lawrence, Josue Paul, Verran Tucker, Jerheme Urban, Chandler Williams.
  • TE (5) – Brad Cottam, Charlie Gantt, Tony Moeaki, Jake O’Connell, Cody Slate.
  • OL (11) – Branden Albert, Jon Asamoah, Bobby Greenwood, Chris Harr, Darryl Harris, Rodney Hudson, Mike Ingersoll, Butch Lewis, Ryan Lilja, David Mims, Casey Wiegmann.
  • DL (8)– Allen Bailey, Brandon Bair, Glenn Dorsey, Dion Gales, Tyson Jackson, Lucas Patterson, Jerrell Powe, Anthony Toribio.
  • LB (12) – Eric Bakhtiari, Jovan Belcher, Justin Cole, Cory Greenwood, Derrick Johnson, Micah Johnson, Amara Kamara, Gabe Miller, Cameron Sheffield, Andy Studebaker, Pierre Walters, Demorrio Williams.
  • DB (11) – Javier Arenas, Eric Berry, Jalil Brown, Travis Daniels, Brandon Flowers, Reshard Langford, Kendrick Lewis, Jon McGraw, Ricky Price, Demond Washington, Donald Washington.
  • K (3) – Dustin Colquitt, Thomas Gafford, Ryan Succop.

That leaves 20 roster spots to be filled if the Chiefs plan to go all the way to the NFL limit of 90 players.

Here are the players related to the Chiefs that are still out there:

  • QB (1) – Brodie Croyle/UFA.
  • RB (3) – Jackie Battle/UFA, Tim Castille/UFA, Mike Cox/RFA.
  • WR (2) – Jonathan Baldwin/DC, Kevin Curtis/RFA.
  • TE (1) – Leonard Pope/UFA.
  • OL (3) – Rudy Niswanger/UFA, Ryan O’Callaghan/UFA, Barry Richardson/RFA.
  • DL (2) – Wallace Gilberry/RFA, Shaun Smith/UFA.
  • LB (4) – Charlie Anderson/UFA, Tamba Hali/FP, Justin Houston/DC, Corey Mays/UFA.
  • DB (1) – Brandon Carr/RFA.

UFA-unrestricted free agent, RFA-restricted free agent, DC-draft choice, FP-franchise player.

11 Responses to “Was It The Money? … Friday Cup O’Chiefs”

  • July 29, 2011  - Milkman says:

    According to Waters, it was a mutual decision for him to leave. I think the Chiefs could have tried to trade him which would have limited his options. I think they were more than fair with him. It’s good to see the organization changing from one that has always held on to their good players too long to one that knows when to cut bait. Good luck to Brian Waters and thanks for all the good years.

  • July 29, 2011  - TimR says:

    Bob, you act like these are surprises. Chambers was about money & talent. If you carry 5 WRs then why keep an old, unproductive Chambers around when you could be finding young talent. With Bowe, Baldwin, Breaston, Copper & McCluster what are you gonna do? Additionally, we have Horne & the other young guy that played instead of Horne at the end of the year. Yes, it was money, but it was also obvious.

  • July 29, 2011  - Mike says:

    It appears to be more of a coincidence that Waters was in on the NFLPA negotiating team and then cut. I think that’s an easy assumption for people to make and I think it’s unfounded. As Bob pointed out, it was clear that Waters play is on the decline. I think Brian Waters is a good person and was a good Chief for many years, a class act. But it was time for the Chiefs to move on. They could have tried to trade him, but are giving him the chace to pick his own team. That too is a class act.

  • July 29, 2011  - BayouCityChief says:

    I just hope we start signing people today before we release anyone else. I’d like something on the defensive line (Franklin, Gregg, etc…) and an offensive tackle for the love of pete!

  • July 29, 2011  - Niblick says:

    I’m okay with the release of Waters. I wish him the best. By releasing him he can can sign with a team of this choice.I doubt if he can sign for the 3.5MM he was making with the Chiefs.

    I wonder if they are also trying to clear money for a long term contract for Hali or space if he signs his franchise tender for 11MM.

    I read that Adam Schefter felt we were the number one contender for Franklin, the nose tackle. I’ve seen nothing since that tweet. Have any of you heard or read anything more? We need a veteran nose tackle badly.

  • July 29, 2011  - el cid says:

    This happens to many players, even pa reps. When a players gets near the end, clubs need to cut ties and have fresher, younger talent on board to the team competitive. Remember Hank Stram, he stuck with his boys to long and the Hunt Chiefs got old and he got fired.

    As for Waters, I wish him the best and know he will be success with his future.

  • July 29, 2011  - SG says:

    The BW move is more a factor of a couple things:

    1) First, BW has earned the right to play for a Super Bowl ring before he retires. Chiefs admittedly are not expecting to get there this season. If he’s smart enough to be on NFLPA Exec. Committee, he’s probably been smart enough to save enough cash where money’s not an issue.
    2) Second, his replacement’s name is Jon Asamoah.

    With just about the lowest cap situation in the ENTIRE LEAGUE, the cash wasn’t the issue. Big picture, BW benefits from it, and the team might actually be better for it – both from performance on the starting roster as well as from business side.

  • July 29, 2011  - David says:

    Was it the money? Sure. If you’re going to sign Tamba Hali and Brandon Carr to multi-year deals (they will), and want to have money left over to bring in other high quality players at positions-of-need (I’m betting there are deals already struck that will soon be announced), you need to free up some more money, even if you started from a “below the cap” position.

  • July 29, 2011  - el cid says:

    Got to agree with SG and David. Age gets to all of us and the team needs to prepare to move on.

    SG Aren’t you putting the cart before the horse with “preformance on the starting roster” and Asamoah being BW’s replacement. Should we see Asamoah play a few games first.

  • July 29, 2011  - SG says:

    “Aren’t you putting the cart before the horse”

    Yes sure am…but the word “might” does rescue me this time.

    “•OL (3) – Rudy Niswanger/UFA, Ryan O’Callaghan/UFA, Barry Richardson/RFA.”

    Surprised Rudy hasn’t been given his walking papers with signing of Rocky Hudson.

  • July 30, 2011  - SG says:

    After the non-signing of Shaun Smith and then who they allegedly signed at NT (not same name as a US President), I’d like to revise my previous statement. Along with the handling of the employees of the team during this offseason and alleged attempts to tell parking and stadium personnel they couldn’t stay to watch the games…the economy is bad but this continuing apparent frugality is Royals-esque.

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