Inside Skinny: Chiefs Make Big Move in Welbourn

The Chiefs' biggest move of the draft weekend likely came Sunday when Kansas City acquired an established offensive line starter, disgruntled Philadelphia guard John Welbourn, for a pair of middle-round draft choices.

Welbourn, an Eagles starter for the past four seasons, came to Kansas City for a mere fifth-round draft pick in 2004 and a fourth-rounder in '04 that could be an third-rounder if Welbourne plays 50% of the snaps in 2004.

Though he played left guard for the Eagles, he began his career at tackle and thus is a possible replacement for free agent John Tait at Kansas City's right tackle position.

"John had the quality of play and ability that far exceeded anything we could find in the fifth round or later in this draft," said Chiefs president Carl Peterson. "We think he can come in and do a good job in a backup role and very possibly compete at the right tackle spot."

Welbourn does not come to Kansas City without both risk and considerable cost. Unhappy with the seven-year, $13 million contract with the $3 million signing bonus he signed in July 2001, he recently went on a release-me rant, blasting the Eagles publicly.

That's not the kind of player that fits what is commonly known as the Dick Vermeil profile. Those thoughts were on Vermeil's mind as the Chiefs considered the trade, but he eventually put them aside for the comfort of gaining either depth or a replacement starter on his offensive line.

"It's a tremendous security blanket, tremendous," Vermeil said. "He's a very fine pass protector."

Because of that, the Chiefs are willing to accept Welbourn and the remainder of his contract, as well as the player's word that he now can live with it, too -- albeit in a new environment.

"I'm always concerned, like Dick is, when you acquire a player that doesn't want to play with his current franchise," Peterson said. "But all of our quick research has indicated that he's a guy that will stand by his word. Right now he's under contract; he's indicated he will play with that contract. As Dick says, it gives us a great deal of insurance with the interior of our line and the possibility of playing right tackle."


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