The Chiefs need a go-to receiver and I can't think of anyone better than Jerry Porter to give the Chiefs an Otis-Taylor type of player who can stretch and scare opposing defenses.
Before the 2005 season began the Oakland Raiders had a decision to make with Jerry Porter. After much debate and fear he'd land with an AFC West rival if they cut him, they decided to sign him to a contract extension that put $10 million in his pocket. In 2004 he had a breakout season as he scored nine touchdowns, with 17 of his 64 receptions covering more than 20 yards.
A year later he managed only five touchdowns but his receptions increased from 64 to 76. He played in only 14 games in 2005 before falling off the playing map in 2006.
When Art Shell began his one-year stint as head coach of the once proud Silver and Black franchise, he wanted to send a message to the veterans. He made it clear the antics that surrounded his team on and off the field would no longer be tolerated. They were going to be a fine-tuned, disciplined team, with each player acting in the same manner. The players for the most part were all willing to give it a try.
The problem with that theory is that Al Davis wasn't too concerned with what Shell thought.
Shell was willing to give everyone on the roster a clean slate. But Davis wanted to make an example out of some of his players. Because Porter was making so much money, he was Davis' whipping boy and Shell was powerless to do anything about it. He was just happy to have the job.
It appeared early on that Porter fought the changes Shell was trying to make, and he played off his bad relationship with Davis with the intent of finding a way to get off the team. He figured if both of them disliked him he could force the team's hand and they would eventually set him free. But that backfired during the season as the team suspended him for insubordination. It was a joke and it only made the relationship even sourer than it had been during training camp.
Even when Porter was healthy he remained on the bench. In a November game against the Chiefs, the Raiders used their entire roster of backup wide receivers, leaving Porter on the bench until the final two minutes. He was used in a few plays as a decoy, hoping to free up Randy Moss, but that didn't work and eventually he was placed on injured reserve, his season wasted.
Now the Raiders not only have to deal with Porter in the coming weeks but also Moss, who has told the team to trade him. Both of them want out and it's likely both will be released despite whatever fool inherits the head coaching job.
In recent days there have been rumblings Porter could stay if the right coach, like USC Assistant Steve Sarkisian, is hired, but let's assume for the moment he's going to be set free in March or June.
If he is, the Chiefs need to make sure he's their number two priority in free agency. The top priority is left tackle Leonard Davis. Porter
Porter will be just 29 when the season begins and the Chiefs have not had a true number one receiver in over 30 years, but Porter won't be easy to sign. He'll get some large offers from teams who view his potential as I do, but there's no question in my mind that he would be a perfect fit in Kansas City.
With Eddie Kennison still playing at a high level, he and Porter would make an outstanding tandem. If you add Tony Gonzalez in that mix with a balanced run attack featuring Larry Johnson, this offense all of a sudden becomes a lot more dangerous.
The Chiefs have a couple of capable but very unproven receivers in last year's sixth round draft pick Jeff Webb and un-drafted free agent Chris Hannon. Each will get a shot to compete for starting spots next year. Beyond that the Chiefs really don't have much.
Samie Parker showed flashes of brilliance but he's not the answer, nor is Dante Hall. The Chiefs could have signed playoff hero Jabar Gaffney before he inked a deal with New England. The Chiefs instead signed Rod Garnder who, for whatever reason, was never given a shot. Either he wasn't good enough to earn playing time or couldn't learn the offense.
Porter won't have such problems in Kansas City. His reputation is tarnished right now because ‘Randy Moss Disease' infected him. That has to have some NFL teams scared that he'll destroy team unity.
The good thing is that with Herm Edwards as the Chiefs head coach that shouldn't be a problem. To his credit, Edwards has had solid history with guys who have walked the line of inconsistency or have been perceived as a malcontent. He gets the most out of people and he loves to give guys second chances. How great would it be to do that with Porter and stick it to the Raiders at the same time? Joyous, if you ask me.
The Chiefs have to look no further than what the Denver Broncos accomplished this past year when they plucked Javon Walker from the Packers in a pre-draft day trade. He instantly became their number one receiver. He also fought with Green Bay coaches and executives.
The Chiefs need to be just as bold because even though the draft is littered with outstanding receivers they already have two projects in Webb and Hannon. They need a talented, veteran receiver who has experience playing in the AFC West, and one who will elevate the potential of the Chiefs offense by his presence alone.
Porter has plenty of game left. There might not be a better place for him to resurrect his status as one of the NFL's elite offensive playmakers than in Kansas City with the Chiefs.
Tomorrow: Come Back Home Donnie
Move #5 Set Jerry Porter Free
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