Clark Hunt

Marcus Peters Fallout: Reid, Draft, Contract

Andy Reid and Clark Hunt were not yet on board with Marcus Peters as a long-term Chiefs component, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com notes (video link). Concern inside Chiefs headquarters centered on a possible Peters extension, per Rapoport. The fourth-year cornerback is now eligible for a long-term deal, and it’s fairly clear the Chiefs had significant reservations about being the team that signed the accomplished corner to that contract. And that issue may have been forced this year. But Peters’ issues in the locker room played a key part in the franchise wanting to trade him, Rapoport reports.

The Chiefs knew Peters would demand to be the NFL’s highest-paid corner, Terez Paylor of the Kansas City Star reports, leading to this preemptive strike. Peters is set to make barely $3MM this season, and the Rams are now responsible for picking up his fifth-year option — which they surely will given the timing of this trade. Peters skipped OTAs last year, and Paylor notes a possible training camp holdout could have transpired this summer. A 2016 first-team All-Pro and 2015 defensive rookie of the year, Peters received his best Pro Football Focus assessment for his 2017 work. Entering his age-25 season, Peters has 19 interceptions. He forced a career-high five fumbles in 2017.

Here’s more from the Peters front.

  • Rapoport reports this Rams/Chiefs deal will bring a package of picks to the Chiefs, but none of those is believed to be a first-rounder. That will mean the Chiefs still do not have a 2018 first-rounder after shipping it to the Bills in last year’s Patrick Mahomes deal. Kansas City picked up an extra third-rounder in January’s Alex Smith deal and collected a compensatory sixth-rounder in this draft as well. The Rams already shipped a 2018 second-round pick to the Bills for Sammy Watkins, so this latest trade could leave Los Angeles’ selection supply weakened.
  • Wade Phillips‘ strong personality should mesh well with Peters’ polarizing style, Bucky Brooks of NFL.com tweets, recalling a conversation he had with a veteran defensive backs coach when Peters was draft-eligible in 2015. Phillips’ ability to get through to Aqib Talib helped the Broncos’ mercurial corner craft the most memorable portion of his career, with Talib helping the Broncos to a Super Bowl title in his first season with Phillips and landing on the All-Pro first team in his second.
  • The 49ers were also interested in Peters, with the Browns’ interest being disputed, but the Seahawks were not exploring a Peters back back to Seattle despite his history in the city, Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times notes. Peters was kicked off the University of Washington’s team during the 2014 season. Additionally, the playmaking corner measures just under 6-foot and has 31 1/2-inch arms. Pointing out the Seahawks haven’t drafted a boundary corner with arms shorter than 32 inches during Pete Carroll‘s tenure, Condotta writes Peters may not have been a fit in Seattle.

Latest On Chiefs’ GM Search

Former Chiefs general manager John Dorsey‘s firing this past week was surprising for a number of reasons, including the timing. Terez A. Paylor of KansasCity.com writes how the late-June move was “unprecedented” and could lead to several complications for the organization.

John Dorsey (Vertical)As Paylor explains, the NFL is generally on “vacation” during this time of year, with most “player evaluators” fired after the draft to prevent them from passing along information to future employers. The writer also notes that Chiefs chairman Clark Hunt had previously said that he’d like to hammer out extensions for both Dorsey and head coach Andy Reid during this late-June timeframe. Following the firing, Paylor wonders if negotiation discussions may have broken down. Of course, on the flip side, a letter from Hunt earlier this week didn’t give any indications that contract negotiations had to do with the firing.

Either way, it will be particularly difficult for the organization to hire a replacement at this point of the offseason. If the Chiefs are eyeing someone from an outside organization, they’d have to get permission from the opposing team to interview that individual. As Paylor writes, few teams will be willing to grant that permission at this point of the year, as it’ll be presumably difficult to fill that spot in their own organization.

“Teams don’t want to lose a guy at this time of year because they’d be so hard to replace,” Senior Bowl director Phil Savage (and former NFL GM) said. “Most of these moves are made right after the season or after the draft, so you have all of May to get organized.

“I bet half of the teams are in NFL are out of country this week. To get a phone call saying ‘Hey, we want to interview your right-hand man,’ some teams would be reluctant.”

Paylor notes that the team could alternatively promote from within, with the writer suggesting co-directors of player personnel, Brett Veach or Mike Borgonzi, as potential candidates. Regardless of the team’s game plan, it will surely take some time before the Chiefs officially announce a replacement.

Reaction To Chiefs Firing GM John Dorsey

On the same day they announced a four-year extension for head coach Andy Reid, the Chiefs shocked the NFL world by firing general manager John Dorsey. Let’s take a look at some of the reaction and fallout from Dorsey’s dismissal:

  • Despite what owner Clark Hunt stated in the Chiefs’ press release, Kansas City and Dorsey did not “agree to part ways,” a source tells Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (Twitter link). Rather, the Chiefs decided to fire Dorsey, and the decision was made by Hunt, not Reid, according to Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk.
  • The Chiefs weren’t pleased with how Dorsey handled contract negotiations with the team’s premier players such as Justin Houston and Eric Berry, reports Tom Pelissero of USA Today (Twitter link). Kansas City waited until the last minute to work out deals with Houston and Berry (after using the franchise tag on both), and the delay in talks ended up costing the Chiefs down the line.
  • Dorsey reportedly told a confidant that he and Hunt were “butting heads” within the past two months, tweets Jason Cole of Bleacher Report. Dorsey didn’t elaborate on the issue at hand, but it conceivably could have been related to how Dorsey handled Houston and Berry’s contracts, or about Dorsey’s own pact with the Chiefs.
  • Reactions to Dorsey’s firing — both inside and outside the Chiefs organization — were ones of immense surprise. Those around were the league were “stunned” and “dumbfounded,” per Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (Twitter link), while Kansas City staffers were just as shocked,as Terez A. Paylor of the Kansas City Star writes. “It caught everybody off guard,” said a team source. “Nobody saw it coming. Nobody knows (what happened) because everybody is out of the building.”
  • Reid will not take on a more active role in personnel, according to Sam Mellinger of the Kansas City Star. Reid, notably, was the Eagles’ de facto general manager from 2001-12. Additionally, Reid and the new general manager will both separately report to Hunt, the same arrangement utilized by the Reid and Dorsey tandem.

AFC Rumors: Hopkins, Chiefs, Ragland

DeAndre Hopkins displayed his apparent dissatisfaction with the Texans known last week by staging a brief holdout, but the team is not discussing a new contract with the talented wideout. Rick Smith said, via James Palmer of NFL.com (Twitter link), no negotiations between Houston and Hopkins are transpiring right now.

The 24-year-old wideout, who is coming off back-to-back 1,200-plus-yard seasons, said on an NFL Network interview (via Ian Rapoport of NFL.com, on Twitter) he’s not stewing over his contract situation. “It’s not something I sit here and think about. … What goes on off the field works itself out,” Hopkins said during the interview.

Owner Bob McNair said previously that the fourth-year receiver’s contract was going to come up in due time. Hopkins is set to make $1.5MM this season. Houston exercised Hopkins’ fifth-year option, putting him on their 2017 books for $7.915MM. As of now, that figure would rank 20th among wideouts in terms of ’17 earnings.

Regarding Hopkins’ situation, which isn’t unique in today’s NFL, Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk notes the 2011 CBA overcorrected the previous problem of underperforming rookies anchoring payrolls. In allowing teams to wait a minimum of three seasons before giving deserving rookies raises, Florio notes the league not instituting a device that would ensure non-busts received their due earnings penalizes the players who do reward teams by outperforming their contracts.

Here’s more from the AFC on preseason eve.

  • Clark Hunt told media (including Terez Paylor of the Kansas City Star) Eric Fisher‘s contract negotiations spanned barely two weeks in late July leading up to training camp. The Chiefs signed the scrutinized left tackle to a four-year, $48MM extension.
  • Hunt envisions the Chiefs revisiting Eric Berry‘s contract after the season. The franchise’s chairman echoed the reports that said the Chiefs and the All-Pro safety were too far apart on terms by July 15. “As soon as we have an opportunity next year, we’ll sit down with his representatives and see if we can work out a scenario where he could finish his career here. … We couldn’t close the gap this year, but next year’s a different situation,” Hunt said. “I can’t say that there will be anything fundamentally that happens that would make it possible, but it’s certainly something that we’ll talk about.” Berry will make $10.86MM this year as part of the franchise tag, one the 27-year-old talent has not signed and is not expected to for a while.
  • As he said in an interview with PFR’s Zach Links, ESPN.com’s Adam Teicher does not foresee Berry being in the Chiefs’ long-term plans. The ESPN.com writer noted that simply a year passing and the sides being back at the negotiating table doesn’t mean either will compromise. Berry stands to be one of the most pursued free agents after this season, should the seventh-year safety reach the open market for the first time. The Chiefs are projected to possess just $6.7MM in cap space in ’17, and Dontari Poe will also be a free agent.
  • The Bills will work out free agent linebackers on Sunday after Rex Ryan backtracked on his statement saying Reggie Ragland likely avoided ligament damage after suffering a knee injury Friday, Mike Rodak of ESPN.com reports. Ryan said the team is “definitely concerned” about Ragland’s knee, via Joe Buscaglia of WKBW (on Twitter). Buffalo’s second-round pick sustained the injury in a non-contact situation. The team is already expected to be without first-round pick Shaq Lawson for multiple games.
  • The Steelers are involved in multiple contract negotiations, with David DeCastro joining Antonio Brown as players with whom management is discussing deals.

AFC West Rumors: Berry, Broncos, Raiders

For the first time since becoming an unrestricted free agent and subsequently receiving the franchise tag, Eric Berry discussed his allegiance with the Chiefs. The seventh-year safety “definitely” wants to stay in Kansas City “long-term,” according to Terez Paylor of the Kansas City Star.

GM John Dorsey has engaged in discussions with Berry’s representatives for months, and chairman Clark Hunt has gotten the impression the two-time first-team All-Pro defender values approves of the direction the Chiefs are going.

I’m hopeful that we’ll be able to get a long-term deal with him done here in the next several months,” Hunt told media, including Paylor. “He’s certainly somebody that we would like to be a Chief for a very, very long time.”

Berry hasn’t signed his $10.81MM franchise tender, a figure that only one other safety — the Saints’ Jairus Byrd — is set to earn this season. Paylor writes the Chiefs, who possess $6.29MM in cap space, can slash that $10.8MM number by about half by signing Berry to an extension.

Here’s some more from the AFC West.
  • The division’s top three finishers last season each signed a player from a division rival, with the Chiefs adding Rod Streater after the Raiders brought in Sean Smith and Broncos poached Donald Stephenson. The Broncos signed Stephenson, a former third-round pick in 2012 whose career has underwhelmed to date, due to the versatility he could bring, Gary Kubiak told media (via Paylor). But the second-year Broncos coach identified Stephenson’s fit on the right side of their offensive line as one of the key factors in Denver deciding to sign him on Day 1 of free agency. Despite being eventually benched at right tackle after opening last season as the Chiefs’ left tackle starter, Stephenson figures to be the top candidate as of now to begin 2016 as the Broncos’ right tackle. Drafted to play right tackle, Ty Sambrailo — Denver’s 2015 second-rounder who slid to left tackle after Ryan Clady‘s ACL tear — may again see an offseason relocation, this time shifting inside to right guard.
  • Instead of meeting Ryan Fitzpatrick‘s salary demands or bothering with Colin Kaepernick, the Broncos should take Dak Prescott with the second round’s final pick, Woody Paige of the Denver Post writes. Paige likens the Mississippi State prospect to a version of Tim Tebow, whom the longtime columnist was high on during his time in Denver, only with a much better passing acumen. Generally sliding in as a Day 2 option for teams behind Conner Cook and the trio of signal-callers with first-round projections, Prescott accounted for nearly 4,500 total yards as a junior and completed a career-best 66.2% of his throws while throwing for a career-best 3,793 yards last season. The former Bulldogs dual-threat talent has a visit scheduled with the Broncos. Former Cowboys personnel man Gil Brandt told Paige a team will use a mid-round pick on Prescott and attempt to develop him into a “Cam (Newton)-like quarterback.”
  • Playing on a one-year lease at their 50-year-old stadium in 2016, the Raiders will pay $3.5MM in rent this season at O.co Coliseum after that figure stood at $925K last season, David DeBolt and Rebecca Parr report for InsideBayArea.com. The massive increase stems from increased costs of game-day security and other factors, Coliseum authority executive director Scott McKibben told the website. “We’re more or less trying to pass along some of these (costs) to the Raiders which is not unlike any other NFL team,” McKibben said. “I spent a lot of time visiting with a lot of other NFL teams and this has been customary throughout the league. And quite honestly at the end of the day the Raiders were very cooperative with us on that.” Seeking a new stadium despite discussions that haven’t progressed, the Raiders have courted other cities in which to settle, with Los Angeles and Las Vegas chief among them.

West Notes: Lynch, Washington, Manning

Marshawn Lynch will visit a specialist in Philadelphia, with a possible sports hernia injury, Sheil Kapadia of ESPN.com reports (on Twitter).

Pete Carroll noted after Lynch missed the Seahawks‘ victory against the 49ers that injury hasn’t been ruled out, and such a diagnosis would shelve Lynch for a while.

The Seahawks appear to be in solid shape due to Thomas Rawls‘ presence, however, and Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio didn’t mince words when characterizing what the rookie’s 255-total-yard day means for the 29-year-old Lynch’s future in Seattle, saying the sixth-year Seahawk will not be back with the team for a seventh season due to the gulf between the backs’ contracts.

With a cap number of $11.5MM, Lynch would be the third-highest-paid Seahawk in his age-30 season. Should the Seahawks take Florio’s advice and turn their backfield over to 2015 UDFA Rawls, who’s slated to make $530K next year, Lynch’s recent extension which runs through the 2017 season contains $5MM worth of dead money going into next season.

Here’s some more news coming out of the Western divisions tonight.

  • Former Cardinals Pro Bowl linebacker Daryl Washington continues to violate the terms of the NFL’s substance-abuse policy, Jay Glazer reported on Fox (as relayed by Darin Gantt of Pro Football Talk). The 29-year-old Washington hasn’t played since Week 17 of the 2013 season due to his year-long suspension that hasn’t been revisited. Washington was scheduled to apply for reinstatement in March, and there are concerns his career is over.
  • Rams starter Case Keenum sustained a concussion during the team’s loss to the Ravens today, but he continued to play, losing a fumble that led to Baltimore’s game-winning field goal, Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports. A Timmy Jernigan sack that didn’t count due to an offside penalty negating it did the damage, according to Jeff Fisher. Media learned of Keenum’s concussion only when informed by the St. Louis media relations staff that the quarterback wouldn’t be available for postgame interviews.
  • San Diego mayor Kevin Faulconer met with Chiefs chairman Clark Hunt to discuss progress on a path to a new Chargers stadium, David Garrick of the San Diego Union-Tribune reports. Hunt’s a member of a six-owner committee focused on Los Angeles relocation, and Faulconer’s met with five members of that newly formed coalition thus far. The two didn’t discuss the two LA stadium projects, Garrick reports, with the meeting instead focusing on San Diego’s path to green-lighting construction on its own. Faulconer’s plan features $350MM in contributions from city and county taxpayers, and after California Gov. Jerry Brown’s recent ruling to expedite an environmental review would put this proposal up for a city vote as early as June, but the Chargers have yet to resume negotiations with the city.
  • Gary Kubiak hasn’t decided if Peyton Manning or Brock Osweiler will start for the Broncos against the Patriots next week, Florio reports. The PFT scribe notes Kubiak said he’d have a difficult time benching Osweiler after his solid performance against the Bears, and if the fourth-year career backup follows it up with an upset over the Patriots, Kubiak’s previous declaration of starting Manning again when healthy will simply resolve itself when the first-year Denver coach deems the 39-year-old of insufficient health to recapture the job.

Chiefs To Retain Andy Reid, John Dorsey For 2016

Despite the Chiefs being one of the most disappointing teams thus far this season, team chairman Clark Hunt said both Andy Reid and GM John Dorsey‘s jobs are safe, even if this season spirals into a top-5 or top-10 draft choice, Terez Paylor of the Kansas City Star reports (on Twitter).

This lengthy leash from a franchise that hasn’t won a playoff game since January 1994 may not appease some fans, but the Chiefs did qualify for the playoffs at 11-5 two seasons ago after going 2-14 in 2012 under Scott Pioli and Romeo Crennel.

Both Reid and Dorsey arrived in 2013, from the Eagles and Packers, respectively, and have yet to experience a losing season in Kansas City. Although their first seems likely this year, which necessitated the inquiry about the duo’s job status. They’ve gone 22-17 since arriving.

The Chiefs’ five losing seasons from 2007-12 probably help this tandem’s job security. They held top-10 draft picks in 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2013.

I have confidence in Andy and John. … I think they’re the right guys to lead us. Not just this year, but going forward,” Hunt told media from London.

The Chiefs have several impending free agents — from Eric Berry and Sean Smith, to Tamba Hali and Derrick Johnson — but the player most tied to the Reid-Dorsey regime will almost certainly be back as a result of this decision. A year after signing a five-year extension, Alex Smith will carry nearly $25MM in dead money onto next year’s salary cap, making a separation from the polarizing signal-caller unrealistic despite the Chiefs’ struggles this season.

AFC Rumors: Chargers, Gore, Broncos, Browns

San Diego mayor Kevin Faulconer did some scouting before this week’s critical Los Angeles-related owners’ meeting, in paying visits to three owners and commissioner Roger Goodell, according to David Garrick of the San Diego Union-Tribune.

Along with Goodell, Faulconer met with John Mara (Giants), Robert Kraft (Patriots) and Jerry Richardson (Panthers) — each a member of the six-owner committee in charge of assessing Los Angeles’ feasibility as the Chargers, Raiders and Rams vie for relocation — and has requested summits with the committee’s other members, Clark Hunt (Chiefs), Bob McNair (Texans) and Art Rooney II (Steelers).

The prior trio of owners, however, did not say to Faulconer which way they were leaning, or if they did, Faulconer is not communicating that sentiment to the media. Per Garrick, the mayor’s expressing confidence thanks to a joint-county $1.1 billion stadium plan that would call for the prospective new Chargers’ home to be built over Qualcomm Stadium.

No votes are expected on Los Angeles at this week’s meeting, with a final decision likely coming around Super Bowl week, according to Garrick.

Here is some news from the facilities of the Chargers’ AFC brethren.

  • Due to Ty Sambrailo‘s shoulder injury, Peyton Manning will have another first-time blocker Sunday when Michael Schofield joins the Broncos‘ starting offensive line, per Arnie Stapleton of the Associated Press. A third-round pick in 2014, Schofield’s been deactivated for each of the 20 games he’s been on the active roster, counting Denver’s divisional playoff loss last season, and he will take Ryan Harris‘ place at right tackle as Harris shifts to the left side.
  • Colts running back Frank Gore remains miffed 49ers GM Trent Baalke didn’t communicate with him this offseason he left the team after 10 years this winter, Matt Maiocco of CSNBayArea.com writes. “The only thing I was hurt by was that I thought we could have (separated) better,” Gore told the Indianapolis Star’s Stephen Holder. “I don’t know if I even wanted to go back. But I would have felt better if we would have sat down and had a conversation. I mean, I was going to test the market no matter what. Me and the head coach talked and he basically told me I’d be in a certain situation. But I wanted to hear it from the GM.
  • In addressing the issues with the Browns‘ offensive line, Terry Pluto of cleveland.com doesn’t think Joel Bitonio and Alex Mack are performing to the level they did at this point last year. The Browns rank 26th in rushing yards, and Football Outsiders grades the Cleveland front as the 27th-best power-blocking quintet thus far.