It was simply a matter of when and that time was now for defensive end Vonnie Holliday. If Kansas City had kept Holliday beyond March 1st, then they would have been forced to pay him $8 million in 2005 and that was a far to steep a price to pay for a back-up.
Holliday lost his starting job to rookie Jared Allen from Idaho State. The collegiate Buck Buchanan Award winner has solidified his starting spot by nearly eclipsing double digit sacks in 2004. Holliday spent part of the season injured but at the Chiefs felt that he had served his purpose on the field.
"Vonnie and his agent knew that in his initial contract with the Chiefs that the large roster bonus coming due this week would probably preclude his continuation with the Kansas City Chiefs," Carl Peterson said. "We appreciate Vonnie's efforts both on and off the field while in Kansas City and wish him success in the future."
Holiday came to the Chiefs after an up and down career in Green Bay with the Packers. The former North Carolina Tar Heel had a reputation for being on one game and off the next. He's never been a consistant performer on the field for the Chiefs after coming to Kansas City two years ago with linebacker Shawn Barber and cornerback Dexter McCleon.
Always good for a good line and a great locker room guy but Holliday was needed to make plays on the field and he couldn't get that done consistently. He made a sterling debut for the Chiefs in his first game at Arrowhead. He sacked San Diego Chargers quarterback Drew Brees three times and hope was eternal that he would become a dominating pass rusher. But he only managed 2.5 sacks the rest of the season.
Now Kansas City will turn to the free agent market and keep an eye on a pass rushing defensive end in the draft. Though the free agent market is shrinking at that position some good values are still to be had.
Players like Reggie Hayward from Denver, Chike Okeafor from Seattle and Marques Douglas from Baltimore could be prime for the pickings for the Chiefs. Each has an upside and could easily be an improvement over Holliday.
As the Chiefs prepare for free agency, they could release other players like Dexter McCleon or Jerome Woodson defense or Johnnie Morton on offense to offer up even more cap space. However, releasing any of them besides McCleon before June 1st would make little sense in regards to maximizing cap space for the Chiefs.
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