Tait Departs, Bober Signs, Vincent Close

The Kansas City Chiefs declined to match the offer sheet signed by John Tait on Friday night. When the decision became inevitable that the Chiefs could not re-work a deal wth Tait, they quickly signed former New York Giants tackle Chris Bober to a five-year contract.

The Chiefs also might be close to signing veteran cornerback Troy Vincent. Late Friday night the Chiefs increased their offer to Vincent and it appears that Kansas City has moved to the top of his with list. The Chiefs are battling with the Cincinnati Bengals and Buffalo Bills for his services. But unlike Tait, Vincent understands that the Chiefs have a legitimate shot at making the Super Bowl in 2004 and 2005.

As for Tait, his departure actually could be a blessing in disguise. Though Tait was a fine player, he was not a superstar. He had a very workmanlike attitude, played hard but he was not worth the coin the Bears offered him. The Chiefs were wise to pass on matching the offer. If they had, then Kansas City would have been hamstrung in trying to sign any other veterans.

Chiefs President Carl Peterson tried to find a way to match Taits offer but in the end his contract demands would have made Tait the highest paid Chief.

"Through this offer sheet, John and his agent asked for more compensation than our two nine-time Pro Bowl offensive linemen (Will Shields and Willie Roaf), our five-time Pro Bowl tight end (Tony Gonzalez), our three-time Pro Bowl running back (Priest Holmes) and our starting quarterback (Trent Green)," said Peterson. "The cash and salary cap demands for this offer sheet are too prohibitive for the Kansas City Chiefs to retain John's services.''

Bober was a standout center for the Giants until he moved to right tackle in 2003. Based on the contract size, $10 million, it would appear that Bober will be the Chiefs starting right tackle heading into training camp. That means Brett Williams will serve as the back-up and eventually could be groomed to replace Willie Roaf in two or three seasons. Bober is similar to Tait in size and should easily adapt to playing right tackle in the Chiefs offensive system.

The other free agent target on the Chiefs wish list has always been cornerback Troy Vincent. Now that the Chiefs have $6 million in cap room, they moved quickly to increase their offer for Vincent, who is expected to decide shortly and could be signed, sealed and delivered to Kansas City within the next 24 hours. Part of the reason, Vincent, did not sign with the Chiefs on Thursday was because the Chiefs were frantically searching for a way to match the Tait deal.

Vincent would dramatically upgrade the Chiefs defense and would likely be the starter opposite of Eric Warfield. If Vincent does sign with the Chiefs, then Dexter McCleon and Julian Battle would be the nickel backs. William Bartee, who has been rumored to be headed to the New York Giants, would likely not be retained by the Chiefs.

In other Chiefs news, tight end Jason Dunn did receive a contract offer from the Oakland Raiders on Friday night but the Chiefs are hopeful that they can get one more shot at Dunn before he agrees to any deal with their AFC West rival. The Raiders and the Chiefs are the only two teams bidding for Dunn.

With the loss of Tait, the Chiefs would be wise to do everything they can to sign Dunn, who is the best blocking tight end in the NFL. Dunn and his agent want starting money and that might deter the Chiefs from signing him to a rich contract.

Wide receiver Johnnie Morton and Tony Richardson have reached an agreement to reduce their contracts in order for the Chiefs to clear cap room. Morton, who still could be a cap casualty on June 1, agreed to lower his annual salary that might be a pre-cursor to his release.

Richardson's deal likely maneuvered some money to the end of his contract to give the Chiefs immediate cap relief this year and in 2005. With Tait gone and some other free agent targets on the horizon, Richardson agreed to restructure his deal to help out the Chiefs.

According to the Kansas City Star, the Chiefs are going to entertain former Chicago Bears wide receiver Dez White and Denver Broncos receiver Chris Cole who could both be in Kansa City for a visit next week.

White had superstar written all over him when he was drafted by the Bears but he was a casualty of the Bears rotating quarterbacks. Cole has great speed and good hands but was released by the Broncos for cap reasons. The Chiefs want to upgrade their wide receiver corps and if they don't sign a free agent wide receiver, could use their first round draft pick on Wisconsin receiver Lee Evans or Oklahoma State receiver Rashaun Woods.


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