West Notes: Chiefs, Manning, Knighton

Count Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith among those who didn’t see the shakeup in San Francisco coming. “I think for me, it’s still just tough to believe all those guys are gone, all that turnover,” Smith told Mark Purdy of the San Jose Mercury News. “I wasn’t there so obviously it’s hard for me to speculate on any of that. I was just kind of shocked. There were a lot of ballgames that got won over the last few years, but for whatever reason, they couldn’t make it work.” Smith, of course, played for the 49ers from 2005-12 before being traded to Kansas City. Here’s more from the West divisions:

  • Smith’s backup, Chase Daniel, is scheduled to count $4.8MM against the Chiefs’ cap in 2015, the highest such figure for a No. 2 quarterback in the league. Kansas City can save $3.8MM by releasing him, but Daniel doesn’t expect that to happen, according to Todd Palmer of the Kansas City Star. Indeed, as Palmer notes, cutting Daniel would leave the Chiefs with inexperienced options like Aaron Murray and Tyler Bray behind Smith, although the club did add Terrelle Pryor earlier this offseason.
  • Following reports that Peyton Manning intends to play next season, Jason Fitzgerald of Over the Cap looks at a few salary cap maneuvers the Broncos could use to lower the future Hall of Famer’s cap hit. Fitzgerald writes that Denver could either convert most of Manning’s base salary into a signing bonus, or add voidable years to the end of his contract — either move would allow them to retain Demaryius Thomas and make other additions.
  • Terrance Knighton is a perfect fit for the Broncos’ new 3-4 scheme, and although he wants to remain in Denver, there haven’t been any contract talks as of yet, writes Troy E. Renck of the Denver Post. Renck speculates that Knighton could latch on with former Broncos defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio in Oakland, projecting a five-year, $30MM deal.
  • Joel Corry of CBSSports.com looks at the top candidates to take a pay cut before the 2015 season, and three of the players — Sam Bradford of the Rams, Larry Fitzgerald of the Cardinals, and Tamba Hali of the Chiefs — reside in West divisions. I took a look at Hali’s chances of getting released last month.
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