CHIEFS – The Week In Review

What happened lately in the world of Chiefs football? What does it all mean? Nick Athan is here to recap the week and offer his analysis.

Matt Cassel Contract Talks Brewing - April 6, 2009

We continue to hear great things about the Chiefs' young franchise quarterback, but better news is on the horizon. ccording to our spies, the Chiefs and Cassel are trying to work out a long-term contract. However, it could take a while for a couple of reasons.

One, the Chiefs still must spend $30 million before the cap is reset before the NFL Draft. I figure the Chiefs' draft cap number will be around $5.2 - $6.2 million so that eats away a part of it. Second, the Chiefs are using Cassel's franchise tag of $14.35 million against the current cap.

The bottom line is that all the talks about him being traded to any team, including the ridiculous rumors about him going to Denver, are garbage. The talks are crazy and about as accurate as Mike Shanahan coaching the Chiefs (couldn't resist taking a shot at myself).

I think Todd Haley sees a young Kurt Warner in Cassel. I'd be shocked if for some reason the combo won't be successful in Kansas City this season.


Should Kansas City and Denver Deal? – April 7, 2009

Yesterday we got wind that the Chiefs and Denver Broncos were talking trade. Now at first glance I felt there was no way, despite constant rumors suggesting otherwise, that the two division rivals would indeed be engaging in draft day talks.

On the table for the Chiefs is the third overall pick. At stake for Denver is a potential franchise quarterback to replace the recently departed Jay Cutler.

Right now the Chiefs have been targeting Wake Forest linebacker Aaron Curry but that could be a big smokescreen. At the top of the draft, the Detroit Lions are circling the wagon and beginning to let it slip that they might indeed take Georgia quarterback Matt Stafford. But I'm still skeptical.


How badly do the Broncos want Sanchez?
Chris Carlson - AP

The Rams pick second and if the Lions do not take Stafford and settle on one of the top two tackles on the board - either Baylor's Jason Smith or Virginia's Eugene Monroe - St. Louis would grab the other offensive lineman to replace Orlando Pace, who bolted for Chicago to join Cutler.

That leaves the Chiefs in the enviable position of having both Stafford and USC's Mark Sanchez to dangle as trade bait. Let the bidding begin!

Talk yesterday was that the Chiefs would be willing to ship the third overall pick to Denver in exchange for the Broncos' two first-round picks (#12 and #18) but that's nowhere near enough to get the deal done - that's just the starting point.

In fact, unless the Broncos are willing to give up at least one of their 2010 first-round picks, there isn't any way Kansas City should trade out of the third spot, especially for a division rival.

Still, from some accounts the Chiefs appear willing to trade within the division and if Denver is willing to give up three first-round picks and another second-day pick, that would be a hard deal to pass up. The Chiefs could address their defensive issues later in the first round by drafting a pass rusher and a starting linebacker.


Larry Johnson Rumors - April 8, 2009

We continue to hear that the Chiefs are not likely going to have Larry Johnson on the roster come draft day. Scuttlebutt yesterday from our spies is that the Chiefs have talked to a pair of teams, the New York Jets and Tampa Bay Buccaneers, about Johnson. If the Chiefs can trade him, it'll just be the first part, as LJ would have to negotiate a new deal in order for either team to take a chance on him. Especially if it means one of those teams would be parting with a draft pick.

The Chiefs are working feverishly to get back into the second round but the Bucs don't have a second-round pick. The Jets do at #52. The bottom line with LJ at the moment is that everyone knows he wants to play in New York. It's where he lives in the offseason, where his friends are, and I think a big city is the right place for him. In New York, he's just another athlete and the spotlight will still be on him, but he won't have a bullseye on his back like he does in Kansas City.

I give him props for showing up to the offseason workouts and for not saying anything publicly after the "Special Master" ruling cost him millions in free money. But I maintain that if the Chiefs can't trade him before the NFL Draft in two plus weeks, that they might just cut their losses and let him go. The team might be making a mistake in the eyes of some, but it's probably the right thing to do.


Do the Cardinals Hold Key for KC? - April 9, 2009

We are all well aware of the defections from the Arizona Cardinals organization to the Chiefs' coaching staff. At the helm of the exodus was Chiefs Head Coach Todd Haley, assistants Maurice Carthon (Assistant HC) and Clancy Pendergast (Defensive Coordinator).

But what about some of the players? The Chiefs didn't make a run for defensive end Antonio Smith, he signed with Houston. They also skipped out on Bertrand Berry, who signed with Atlanta.

However, there is a name or two the Chiefs would like to add, and one of them is Cardinals franchise linebacker Karlos Dansby. He's been trying to get a new contract out of the Cardinals but this week he declared a new deal was not close, leading to speculation that either the Cardinals will seek a trade partner for Dansby.

He isn't exactly sounding like a man who wants to stay in Arizona. In fact, because talks have been slow to get a new contract done prior to offseason workouts, he's not likely to show up.

Complicating things is the fact most NFL Experts felt the Cardinals were idiots to franchise a linebacker who is solid, but not the NFL's best. Arizona did it because they feared losing a player who fit into their system. They thought by franchising him, he'd give them a home town deal, but that clearly has backfired to this point.

So how do the Chiefs get into this mix? They shouldn't give the third overall pick to the Cardinals for Dansby unless they make some other moves, first. So, if the Chiefs' rumored trade with Denver happens and they acquire the 12th and 18th picks this year, and a 2010 first rounder, would the Chiefs ship one of them for Dansby?

Why not?


Dansby would fit in KC's 3-4
Chris Carlson - AP

But this gets better. What about disgruntled wide receiver Anquan Boldin? He wants out and despite all his efforts to lobby for a trade to the Miami Dolphins, he's still in Arizona. Though we've heard he may not be a big fan of Haley, with a new contract in hand, he'll love him again.

Like Dansby, Boldin wants a big-time contract and the Cardinals are willing to trade him provided some team is dumb enough to give them the same deal Jerry Jones gave the Detroit Lions for wide receiver Roy Williams. In that deal, the Lions received four draft picks - the Cowboys' first rounder, third rounder and sixth rounder in 2009, plus a seventh-round selection in the 2010 draft.

There isn't any way the Chiefs are going to overpay for Boldin, but he's certainly a better receiver than Williams. But Boldin still wants to get paid and based on the fact he's one of the top receivers in the game, and a perfect fit for KC's new offense, you'd have to think the phone will be ringing between the Chiefs and Cardinals prior to the start of the NFL Draft.

But what do the Chiefs offer? What about Larry Johnson, Tony Gonzalez or Brian Waters?

Since some of you have considered my outlandish trades in the past, here's another one to chew on:

The Chiefs ship off the 12th overall pick (acquired from Denver), Waters, Johnson and Gonzalez. In return they receive Dansby and Boldin, plus the Cardinals' second-round pick this year, and a 2010 third rounder.

Everyone wins. The Cardinals get three players that will help them crush the NFC West and guarantee a playoff spot. Arizona would have a hole on defense, but they can grab a USC linebacker – Rey Maualuga, Brian Cushing or Clay Matthews – to replace Dansby.

The Cardinals won't get as many big plays out of Gonzalez as they would out of Boldin, but his presence in the red zone will be a big matchup problem within the division. Waters is a bonus.

Meanwhile, the Chiefs would have a solid number one receiver in Boldin, which only makes Dwayne Bowe more lethal. They'd have a linebacker crew headlined by Mike Vrabel, Derrick Johnson and Dansby (editor's note: and now Zach Thomas!).

Regardless of what happens, I strongly believe the Chiefs are not done dealing. With voluntary mini-camps starting April 17, the coaching staff will get an idea of what they have and don't have - and who wants to be here in 2009 and who does not - as they make final preparations for the draft.

Should be an interesting draft weekend!!!

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