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Minicamp wrapup for Chiefs portends difficult training camp situations

Alex+Smith+Aaron+Murray+Tyler+Bray+Chase+Daniel+Kansas+City+Chiefs+Minicamp+2014
The Kansas City Chiefs wrapped up their yearly mandatory minicamp last week with possibly more questions than answers heading into training camp that will begin on July 24, in St. Joseph, Missouri.  While head coach Andy Reid is hopeful that the Chiefs will come off of an 11-win season (in 2013) to find success during the 2014 NFL Season, Kansas City was a cash-strapped team that saw several of their free agents go on the market leaving holes and question marks behind.

On Thursday, Reid told the media, “I was happy, happy with performance throughout the offseason program. Thought the guys came in good shape and they built off last season.  We’ve got a lot of work to do. The guys understand that. They’re wired that way. They don’t shy away from work.”

In 2013, the Chiefs brought in a relatively unknown bunch of players to training camp in Reid’s second season with the franchise.  It was a franchise that had seen the mid-2000s hand them disappointment – from players, from final scores and even from once-faithful fans.  Reid was able to assemble the group into a competitive team with Alex Smith joining them from the San Francisco 49ers at quarterback.  In one of the most-unexpected turns, Kansas City charged up and down the field to catch many NFL teams off-guard.  Whether they will be able to repeat the performance in 2014 is a puzzle.

Several starters from 2013 departed and last week cornerback Brandon Flowers was waived to free up salary cap space in a system that is already strapped in the cash department.  That left only 16 players, on an 88-man roster on Thursday, who had been with the team the past two seasons.  The biggest questions now will be who will replace Flowers in the defensive backfield, whether quarterback Smith will garner a long-term contract to stay in KC and whether Pro Bowl linebacker Justin Houston will report to camp in July.  Kansas City is also dreadfully thin on both the offensive and defensive lines.

Cornerback Sean Smith would have been the heir-apparent to Flowers had he not missed time due to illness.  That leaves the door wide open in training camp for Marcus Cooper, Ron Parker and rookie Phillip Gaines the opportunity to find favor and step into Flowers’ position.

Houston, who completely skipped mandatory minicamp, is facing the real possibility of fines – ones that will only increase should he refuse to attend training camp.  Houston is in his final year of his contract with the Chiefs, but the organization has expressed a desire to initiate a long-term deal.  Negotiation details are unclear and while Houston stands to make nearly $1.4 million in 2014, his absence is speaking loud enough that many Chiefs faithfuls are wondering if they’ll see him in a Chiefs jersey this upcoming season or not.

Meanwhile, Smith has allowed his representatives to negotiate with Kansas City over a long-term contract, but while both sides are optimistic – nothing has come to fruition.

On the first day of free agency, Pro Bowl left tackle Branden Albert and defensive tackle Tyson Jackson signed with other teams, leaving gaping holes in the two lines.  While the Chiefs look to Eric Fisher to replace Albert, Fisher has been rehabbing an injured shoulder.  On the offensive line, the Chiefs do not have a starting right guard and nearly every other position along the offensive front is up for grabs.

Despite the difficult situation the team faces entering training camp, Reid feels that the team will find the answers they need.

 

What do you think Reid and the Chiefs need to do in training camp to address all the questions they have at several positions on both offense and defense?  Click HERE and get involved in the conversation!

Previewing The 2014 Kansas City Chiefs Schedule Release

Carolina Panthers v Kansas City Chiefs

The Kansas City Chiefs went from taking the first overall pick in the 2013 NFL Draft to turning into serious playoff contenders in just one year. Thanks to Andy Reid and Alex Smith, the Chiefs will be one good offseason from potentially an even better run.

For KC to take the leap, though, they’ll need to maneuver through a tough schedule, and it starts with taking care of business on their home field. They’ll be welcoming New England, the New York Jets, Tennessee, St. Louis and the Seattle Seahawks, and that’s not even including tough division battles with the Broncos and Chargers. The defending Super Bowl champion Seahawks is obviously their toughest get at home this year, but the Patriots and Jets won’t be easy wins, either.

The Kansas City Chiefs schedule on the road certainly isn’t much easier, as they travel to wage war with Buffalo, Miami, Pittsburgh, Arizona and San Francisco. While the Chiefs wild 9-0 run and trip to the playoffs was impressive in 2013, they’ll have their work cut out for them to improve in 2014.

All 2014 Opponents

Home: Denver Broncos, Oakland Raiders, San Diego Chargers, New England Patriots, New York Jets, Tennessee Titans, St. Louis Rams, Seattle Seahawks

Away: Denver Broncos, Oakland Raiders, San Diego Chargers, Buffalo Bills, Miami Dolphins, Pittsburgh Steelers, Arizona Cardinals, San Francisco 49ers

For a look at all 32 NFL team’s 2014 match-ups, click here.

Report: Potential Contract Extension Coming For Eric Berry

Eric Berry could be in line for a contract extension in 2014

Safety Eric Berry, has slowly become one of the league’s best when he is healthy. In fact, Pro Football Focus has Berry listed as the No. 3 safety ranked in the NFL. Berry’s rookie contract has him signed through the 2015 season.

According to a report, Berry could be in line for a contract extension due to the issues the Chiefs are in with the cap. Berry’s base salary is currently $8.42 million and an extension could probably reduce that by roughly half.

Berry’s 2013 season ended with him recording 73 total tackles, 3.5 sacks, 3 interceptions, and two touchdowns. Berry became a first-time All-Pro and earned his third trip to the Pro Bowl in his four years in the league.

The Chiefs would like to lock Berry up for as long as financially possible, so an extension would be the answer before too long.

Brandon Sweeney is Co-Editor of the Gab Network. Follow him on Twitter @NFLNSTUFF, Like him on Facebook , add him to Google+, and Trust him on Sulia.

Chiefs Ink RFA Richard Gordon To A One-Year Deal

Richard Gordon

The Chiefs have signed restricted free agent Richard Gordon to a one-year contract to provide depth at tight end, a position where they struggled through injuries much of last season, the Associated Press reports.

The team had not announced the deal Friday, but NFLPA records indicate Gordon will receive $645,000 in 2014.

Gordon joined the Chiefs in December and appeared in two regular season games, making one catch for 3 yards against San Diego. That was the game in which the Chiefs, already assured of their playoff position, rested virtually all of their starters.

The Chiefs also have tight ends Anthony Fasano, Travis Kelce and Sean McGrath on the roster.

QB Smith Excited About Chiefs Offensive Potential For 2014

Wild Card Playoffs - Kansas City Chiefs v Indianapolis Colts

Alex Smith is still feeling the sting of the season-ending playoff loss at Indianapolis.

“You get over it enough for sure, but it always kind of stays there a little bit,” Smith told Garrett Johnston of the Kansas City Star.. “You kind of have a little bitter taste in your mouth, and I don’t think that ever leaves until next season.”

Smith is not into second-guessing the way the game unfolded either. He is however looking forward to the development of coach Andy Reid’s offense moving in to their second year together.

“I’m very excited, if you look at our last eight or nine games offensively, we really did some good things and took off a little bit there,” Smith said. “And we got some momentum heading into the offseason. Obviously the playoff game was tough to take, but there are some positive things, too.”

“It was our first year in the offense, we didn’t turn the ball over, we were opportunistic in the red zone, but yes we didn’t really have the entire playbook at hand, and that’s to be expected in the first year with a lot of new faces. So as the year went on and we got more comfortable and coach Reid got more comfortable with us and his staff, he started to trust us with more and we showed that we could handle it. By the end, I was feeling really good about things.”

2014 NFL Free Agents – Chiefs Have $2.4 Mil Of Cap Space

Cleveland Browns v Jacksonville Jaguars 12-1-2013

Unrestricted Free Agents

Quarterbacks

Derek Anderson CAR
Jimmy Clausen CAR
Josh McCown CHI
Jordan Palmer CHI
Jon Kitna DAL
Shaun Hill DET
Matt Flynn GB
Chad Henne JAX
Josh Freeman MIN
Luke McCown NO
Curtis Painter NYG
David Garrard NYJ
Michael Vick PHI
Charlie Whitehurst SD
Tarvaris Jackson SEA
Colt McCoy SF
Kellen Clemens STL
Brady Quinn STL
Dan Orlovsky TB
Rusty Smith TEN
Rex Grossman WAS

Running backs

Rashard Mendenhall ARI
Bernard Scott BAL
Willis McGahee CLE
George Winn DAL
Knowshon Moreno DEN
Kahlil Bell GB
James Starks GB
Ray Graham HOU
Jonathan Grimes HOU
Deji Karim HOU
Chad Spann HOU
Ben Tate HOU
Ahmad Bradshaw IND
Donald Brown IND
Tashard Choice IND
Tauren Poole IND
Delone Carter JAX
Maurice Jones-Drew JAX
Toby Gerhart MIN
LeGarrette Blount NE
Andre Brown NYG
Peyton Hillis NYG
Darius Reynaud NYJ
Rashad Jennings OAK
Darren McFadden OAK
Jonathan Dwyer PIT
Felix Jones PIT
La’Rod Stephens-Howling PIT
Ronnie Brown SD
Anthony Dixon SF
Spencer Larsen TB
Brian Leonard TB
Jackie Battle TEN
Leon Washington TEN

Fullbacks

John Kuhn GB
Lex Hilliard NYJ
Chris Gronkowski SD
Michael Robinson SEA
Erik Lorig TB
Greg Jones TEN

Wide receivers

Andre Roberts ARI
Jacoby Jones BAL
Brandon Stokley BAL
Brandon Kaufman BUF
Ted Ginn CAR
Domenik Hixon CAR
Brandon LaFell CAR
Devin Hester CHI
Brandon Tate CIN
Andre Caldwell DEN
Eric Decker DEN
Kevin Ogletree DET
Micheal Spurlock DET
James Jones GB
Deion Branch IND
Darrius Heyward-Bey IND
Josh Lenz IND
Taylor Price JAX
Kyle Williams KC
Terrance Cooper KC
Chad Hall KC
Jerrell Jackson KC
Dexter McCluster KC
Marlon Moore MIA
Jerome Simpson MIN
Joe Webb MIN
Austin Collie NE
Julian Edelman NE
Robert Meachem NO
Louis Murphy NYG
Hakeem Nicks NYG
Julian Talley NYG
Josh Cribbs NYJ
Jacoby Ford OAK
Riley Cooper PHI
Jeremy Maclin PHI
Plaxico Burress PIT
Jerricho Cotchery PIT
Emmanuel Sanders PIT
Seyi Ajirotutu SD
Danario Alexander SD
Lavelle Hawkins SD
Arceto Clark SEA
Golden Tate SEA
Bryan Walters SEA
Anquan Boldin SF
Mario Manningham SF
Kassim Osgood SF
Adam Henry STL
Tiquan Underwood TB
Kenny Britt TEN
Marc Mariani TEN
Kevin Walter TEN
Damian Williams TEN
Dezmon Briscoe WAS
Josh Morgan WAS
Santana Moss WAS

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Chiefs Ink Long Snapper Thomas Gafford To One-Year Deal

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The Chiefs have re-signed long snapper Thomas Gafford, to a one-year deal worth $730,000, which represents a slight raise on the $715,000 salary he collected in 2013, Terez A. Paylor of the Kansas City Star reports.

It’s unclear whether the new deal for the 31-year-old includes any bonuses, however; last season, he collected a $10,000 workout bonus.

Gafford joined the Chiefs in 2008 and hasn’t missed a game the last five seasons.

Only linebacker Derrick Johnson, punter Dustin Colquitt, linebacker Tamba Hali, tackle Branden Albert, running back Jamaal Charles and cornerback Brandon Flowers have been with the team longer.

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