The Packers held out hopes of retaining Holliday even after giving KGB an $11 million signing bonus but it was never more than a pipe dream. They doled out a $6.75 million signing bonus a year ago to procure defensive end Joe Johnson from New Orleans and couldn't afford three high-priced ends.
"It worked out well," Holliday said, referring to his deal with the Chiefs. "That's why I put Arizona on hold. This team is a lot closer to winning and getting to the big game than Arizona is at this time."
Holliday also drew interest from Seattle but the Seahawks were concerned about his injury history. He missed 14 regular-season games in five seasons, plus the Seahawks wanted more of a pass rusher.
Thus, they signed San Francisco's Chike Okeafor to a two-year, $4 million contract.
The Packers were strapped on the defensive line. In February, they made the decision to re-sign defensive tackle Cletidus Hunt and not Holliday. Hunt got a $6 million signing bonus.
Holliday had an offer last summer from the Packers that would have paid him around $4 million a year over six years, including a $5.5 million signing bonus. But he turned it down in hopes of getting something bigger.
His deal with the Chiefs actually is a two-year arrangement worth $5.95 million, including a $3 million signing bonus. He has a roster bonus of $5.125 million due in 2005 that will force both sides either to strike a new deal or separate.
Last August, Holliday admitted that he had his heart set on being paid at least a million or two dollars more per year than the Packers thought he was worth.
"I think I'm in the top five," Holliday said at the time, referring to his rank among defensive ends in the NFL. "I can't tell you what it's worth. I guess we'll find out. Sky's the limit, baby."
After ending negotiations early in the regular season, Holliday suffered a torn pectoral muscle in Week 3 and sat out the next four games.
Then, in Week 8, he needed arthroscopic knee surgery to remove torn cartilage and had to miss two games.
Holliday did come back in Week 15 against Buffalo to sack Drew Bledsoe five times, a club single-game record.
"I had so much security in Green Bay and you never worry about things like this," Holliday said. "Then you get into free agency and you think it's going to be this great experience, that you'll get wined and dined and everybody's going to love you and throw a lot of money at you. That didn't happen."
The Chiefs will start Holliday at right end and might play him inside on passing downs.
Just 27, Holliday still could have an enormous payday two years from now. But he will have to post a double-digit sack year, something he never did in Green Bay, and stay healthy.
It is believed that Holliday took less money in Kansas City than he would have received from Arizona. The Chiefs were 8-8 last season and have bolstered with defense with cornerback Dexter McCleon and linebacker Shawn Barber.