Who Gets To Play? … Wednesday Cup O’Chiefs

The question was put to Todd Haley during his daily inquisition with the media horde:

How much do you consider Wallace Gilberry’s contract vs. what Glenn Dorsey and Tyson Jackson make when it comes to playing time?

One of the site’s intrepid readers had e-mailed me a similar question just a week ago. He wondered how Gilberry (right), a guy who always seems to make plays, can’t get on the field more than Dorsey and Jackson who don’t seem to be involved in as many plays. He wondered whether that was because of the money they were being paid.

I had marked the e-mail so I wouldn’t forget it and then promptly … forgot it.

I thought I knew how Haley would answer the question and he did not disappoint. “Zero” is the consideration he gives to a player’s contract when it comes to parceling out playing time and starting positions.

“Once they enter the building it is who gives us the best chance to win,” said Haley. “I have been in other situations and other jobs where you are supported by the people who ultimately make the final decision and we have done that in a bunch of different places and that is the way that everyone in this building knows that it works. I would say zero (effect) in that way.”

Are you buying it? Do you think money plays no part in who plays in the NFL?

Let me assure you of this – if a player helps a coach win, then it does not matter where he comes from, how he got there or what his W-2 might look like. But the way the NFL works is that the guys who are most likely to help a coach win are those who came through the top of the draft process. That’s where the big money starts.

Here are the base salaries for the defensive linemen on the Chiefs roster in camp right now. Remember, these numbers do not include any signing bonus or roster bonus money, which can significantly increase the total compensation the player receives. But since every contract is different, we’ll stick to base salary:

  • DE Tyson Jackson    $1,075,000
  • DE Glenn Dorsey     $983,500
  • DE-NT Shaun Smith     $630,000
  • NT Ron Edwards      $470,000
  • DE Wallace Gilberry $470,000
  • DE Alex Magee     $395,000
  • DE/DT Dion Gales     $395,000
  • NT Derek Lokey     $320,000
  • NT Garrett Brown     $320,000

Now we could get into a very long argument about whether or not these guys are earning whatever money they are getting. I’m going to bet the average fan says no when it comes to the guys on top, former first-round draft choices Jackson and Dorsey, who combined this year will make just over $2 million.

There’s a very good chance that Haley has a piece of paper in his desk that has all the salary information on his players. Months ago he probably looked at and then filed it away. It’s important for head coaches to have a view of the big picture, but they should never be in the middle of the money exchange with players. Too many coaches have seen their hold on a team evaporate because they got involved in contracts and players lost respect and trust in the man.

So while Haley probably can’t provide a player’s compensation package down to the penny, there are others who do and they are all around him. Say in this case, GM Scott Pioli and others in the football operations staff.

Let’s be sensible here: there’s no doubt money is a factor. If the Chiefs were starting Brown at nose, with Gales and Magee at the ends and they were the smallest paychecks at that position, there would be a great deal of conversation involving Haley, Pioli and the Hunt Family on what was going on. Nobody paying the bills wants to see the biggest paychecks sitting on the bench.

At some point in the process, however, production becomes more important than pay when factoring playing time. A first-round draft choice is going to get more chances than a player that walks in the door as a college free agent or a street free agent. That’s a fact of life.

But a bigger fact of life for any coach is this – victories allow him to stay, losing is a ticket out the door. Help a team win and the coach won’t care at all about where the player has come from or how many digits are in his bank account.

“That is what this is going to come down to – who are the best football players,” said Haley. “We are working to try and be a good team and not just for one year but every year be a consistently good team. I am encouraged with the direction things are going right now.”

Haley made his comments between practices on Tuesday. In the afternoon workout, Jackson was no longer working exclusively with the first defense. Gilberry was getting snaps next to Ron Edwards and Glenn Dorsey.

And even bigger than that, Jackson was working on the defensive scout team, taking a bountiful number of snaps in helping the offense prepare to face Philadelphia on Friday night. That’s not something that usually happens with starters.

So despite his big paycheck, Tyson Jackson may soon be a part-time player, maybe even as early as Friday night. In the big picture, that’s not necessarily good news for the Chiefs. But it’s a fact of football life.

NO BLACKOUT FOR FRIDAY NIGHT’S GAME

I think by now any intelligent Chiefs fan knows that Friday night’s Chiefs-Eagles game at Arrowhead Stadium is not a sellout, even though the threat of a TV blackout has been lifted.

In fact, it’s doubtful that the tickets sold at this point even come close to a legitimate sellout. But the business of football, television and selling tickets is a crazy world in the NFL these days. Obviously, the Hunt Family thinks it’s more important that this game is on live television, so they’ve stepped to the plate and purchased enough tickets to meet the NFL regulations. Plus, it would not be a surprise if KCTV Channel 5 didn’t make a contribution as well, given that a live broadcast on Friday night is going to be a better draw than a taped-delayed event.

If you are a Chiefs fan that doesn’t want to spend your money on a ticket to Arrowhead, then you should be sending thank you letters to the Hunts. The question is how long is this largess going to last? With the exception possibly of the regular-season opener on Monday night against San Diego, it’s unlikely there will be any sellouts on this year’s home schedule.

At this point it all becomes accounting. Here’s how it works – the NFL lists the capacity of Arrowhead Stadium as 76,416. That’s down from 79,451 that was capacity in the ’09 season. Without a doubt you can bet that the Chiefs have “blacked out” certain seats, meaning that while there is a chair there, they will not sell that seat for any game in the ’10 season. How many blacked out seats there are has a big effect on the next step. That’s where the Hunts step to the financial plate and pay the visitors share of the tickets unsold. Basically, they have to fork over 34 percent of the face value of the tickets.

If that’s say 5,000 tickets at an average of $100 per seat, that’s $500,000 and 34 percent of that would cost the Hunts $170,000 to lift the blackout. That’s not that big a number for NFL owner-types. But say that number of unsold tickets is 20,000 seats unsold at $100 per. That’s a $2,000,000 pool and 34 percent would be $680,000. Do that for a few games and suddenly were talking about a real investment.

There’s one unknown in the blackout/ticket/sellout equation for 2010 and that’s the labor situation. All of this paying 34 percent of tickets affects the league’s gross revenues and thus that’s something the NFL Players Association is interested in as well. Publicly, the league will not acknowledge the fact that teams can assure a sellout by picking up the difference, so they are not going to acknowledge that they’ve pulled this option because of the labor situation.

Last year, the Buccaneers had the same problems in Tampa that the Chiefs had here. They did not have a single blackout, while the Chiefs had one, the last home game of the season. But already, the Bucs had a blackout for their first home game against the Chiefs last weekend. They have said there will be more.

Whether or not blackouts revisit Kansas City is going to depend on the Hunt Family and how much of a premium they place on local television.

NFL PERSONNEL FILE FOR TUESDAY, AUGUST 24

  • BEARS – released LB Matt Mayberry with an injury settlement.
  • BILLS – signed TE Andrew George.
  • BRONCOS – released LB Akin Ayodele and OT Tyler Polumbus; claimed TE Kory Sperry off waivers from the Dolphins; LT Ryan Clady is expected to return to practice on Wednesday, coming back from a torn patella tendon he suffered in the spring.
  • BROWNS – released injured DL Kwaku Danso.
  • BUCCANEERS – re-signed QB Jevan Snead, who they released back in July; released injured DE Brandon Gilbeaux (knee).
  • GIANTS – signed S Matt O’Hanlon, last with Bucs; released S Matt Greco.
  • LIONS – claimed OT Cliff Louis off waivers from the Giants; released WR Contreverious Parks.
  • RAMS – signed LB Devin Bishop; released injured LB Dominic Douglas (hamstring).
  • REDSKINS – QB Donovan McNabb will not play in the Redskins next pre-season game because of an ankle injury.
  • SAINTS – released LB Troy Evans, WR Mark Bradley, WR Rod Harper, G Tim Duckworth and CB Danny Gorrer.
  • SEAHAWKS – first-round draft choice LT Russell Okung has a high ankle sprain and is expected to miss two to four weeks.
  • TEXANS – returner Trindon Holliday is headed for the injured-reserve list because of torn ligaments in his thumb. Surgery is expected and that will end Holliday’s season.
  • VIKINGS – WR Sidney Rice underwent hip surgery that will keep him out a minimum of eight weeks and likely for 10 to 12 weeks; signed WR Javon Walker; released RB Ryan Moats.

18 Responses to “Who Gets To Play? … Wednesday Cup O’Chiefs”

  • August 25, 2010  - Edward says:

    Its too early to judge Tyson. Maybe right now he’ll become part-time but that doesn’t mean he want develop into a full-time starter. Gilberry is getting shots at first team because he’s playing well and consistent. But also because Haley is trying to light a fire under Jackson same way he did with demoting Bowe to 3rd team. Or making Charles a scratch during regular season. We’ll see how it all plays out this season.


  • August 25, 2010  - Tim says:

    Well, something needs to be done with Jackson. That’s pretty clear. He’s definitely had the benefit of the doubt. Romeo seems to feel enough is enough as well. Haley trusts Romeo, so Tyson is in the doghouse.


  • August 25, 2010  - Scotty says:

    Friday Night’s Game – I hope that its clearer than the last 2 games. It seems like whenever they show the field level shots the HD quality looks great but when they show it from the press box you can hardly make out the player’s numbers. That’s what it looked like in Omaha, was anyone else experiencing that?


  • August 25, 2010  - Brandon says:

    I get the games over the internet since I’m in England. Consider yourself lucky to make out names Scotty. I’m just hoping that I don’t have to watch the game two days later or the middle of the night like I’ve had to for the last two games.

    Better than no Chiefs though.


  • August 25, 2010  - dan in joplin says:

    Top 10 players should never have to be developed! They are drafted @ that position to make an immediated impact! There are alot of players we could have drafted in that #3 spot last year that would have made an immediate impact. I understand that DL are a little different, but if that is the case, then why draft a DL @ that spot? Anyway, like it or not we are stuck w/ him, so HOPEFULLY they can make something of him. I hope i’m wrong, but drafting jackson @ #3 is prob the worst move pioli & co. have made.


  • August 25, 2010  - gorillafan says:

    glad to see Clark caugh up his money, eventhough im not in the local area. but to me its not up to clark on whether or not there is more blackouts. If this team can string some wins together, the fans will come, not doubt about that. Just win SOME games, and the blackout thing will go away,

    scotty, yeah i hear ya, but i think the quality of the CTN (chiefs television network) is better than last year!


  • August 25, 2010  - Ernie says:

    The size of early round contracts are certainly eye popping in the NFL and it becomes magnified when a top pick does not produce up to expectations. It appears the dollars involved with the high draft pick contract is just a “cost of doing business” as it stands in the League currently. As has been discussed and commented on early round picks don’t always pan out but they certainly do cash in. In the real world businesses don’t usually pay newbies top dollar for their industry (exceptions occur of course). I would suspect that the owners would be looking for some method to limit their risk upfront as any business does. Although with all the hype of the Draft/April reality show and the buzz it generates I have to wonder. Bob, what do you see as potential changes to the cba (such as a rookie salary cap) to address this issue, if any? As to playing or not a non-performing high dollar/high draft pick guy you’d want to cut your losses at some point (try and trade, cut, demote, whatever) and move on. Not good for any organization or GM but draft busts happen all the time. But at what a cost! Great site and reporting Bob!


  • August 25, 2010  - jim says:

    The Chiefs top nine DL make an average of $509,833.

    If I’m the HC, knowing that average, I just became the pure definition of an “equal opportunity employer”. The best play, and they all earn $509,833 at the end of the day. I would think of it this way just to keep my sanity.

    And Dan, while I enjoy your comments, I don’t think there is a person that would agree with you that the top 10 picks don’t need to be developed. I think that is just a wrong concept on too many levels to mention here. With all respect, Dan.


  • August 25, 2010  - dan in joplin says:

    @ jim, maybe i shouldn’t have just used the word developed, how about not as much developing. There are too many players coming out of college that are “more” ready to play that a top ten pick should be used on. I’m really frustrated with this whole jackson situation! For instance, if you take a LT in the top ten, you can bet he is going to start and PERFORM right out the gate. Like I said, I understand that w/ DL there is probably a little more “developing” that has to go on. I would like to see how Suh and guy the Bucs picked work out! sorry I can’t think of his name!


  • August 25, 2010  - Todd says:

    I’m wondering about blackouts.

    Isn’t the point of a blackout to encourage the local community to buy tickets to come see a game? If too many stay home to watch on tv then nobody can catch the game on tv, right?

    OK. So, they can’t sell enough tickets to lift a blackout. Not only do the fans lose, but the team loses the revenue from being on tv. I don’t see how a blackout is helping anyone.

    So, it makes sense that the Hunt family would buyout the blackout. I guess my question is: who made this silly rule up and how is it good for the NFL in this unstable economy?


  • August 25, 2010  - Niblick says:

    I wonder if part of Jackson’s problem is that he was a top three pick. If he had been drafted around 12, where he was projected, would he be more productive. Perhaps he is trying too hard to be a top three pick. Also, perhpas he is more difficult to coach up as a top three pick as opposed to a lower 1st round pick.


  • August 25, 2010  - gorillafan says:

    todd,

    the blackout rule is stupid. IMO,and in not in the k.c. area, it wouldnt matter if it was blacked out or not for me to buy a ticket. If I wasnt going it would be because of money or whatever. I wouldnt just say, “okay its blacked out so I guess I will go.”

    IF we win we wont have the problem, and when we dont it wont matter if its blascked out or not, we still dont go..right?

    Has anyone went to a game just because it was blacked out?


  • August 25, 2010  - TDKC says:

    blackouts are just an excuse for me to listen on the radio instead. It’s not my first choice but i usually work in the garage or something. “At least SOMETHING gets done” says the wife.


  • August 25, 2010  - TDKC says:

    The CTN quality is bad in Columbia Mo.

    My live/local channel has poor quality through directv and over the air.

    The last 2 games had the home teams’ feed on NFL network replays. That quality was much better both times. In fact the Tampa crew talked up the Chiefs players as much as their own.


  • August 25, 2010  - Michael says:

    Jackson should be playing part-time and earn his spot in the staring lineup. They’ve got other options, and don’t have to play him out of desperation. He’s young, it’s early in his career at a difficult position. He just needs coaching and keep playing. He’ll learn to disengage quicker, and to better use his size and strength. No one should panic; he can still be a good one.


  • August 25, 2010  - Jonathan says:

    It depends on how the Chiefs start. If the Chiefs can beat San Diego and Cleveland then the 49ers game will be a sellout. If the Chiefs then beat the 49ers the Jacksonville game would be a sellout even if the Chiefs lost the next two games against Indianapolis and Houston. If the Chiefs start 0-2 then the 49ers game would be up in the air. Hopefully, the is the last time this year that either the Hunts and the local TV statons come out of pocket and the fans come out of pocket instead.


  • August 26, 2010  - jim says:

    Gotcha Dan. Now I understand your POV. Wasn’t tryin to be critical, just understand it better.

    I’m ready for me some serious Chiefs football. This game could be a defining moment for several, and a ‘teaching exerience’ for others.


  • August 26, 2010  - dan in joplin says:

    @ jim, I didn’t think you were, thanks for calling me on it!

    Me too! I can’t wait until we can play for real! That’s when we’ll start to really see the changes!




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