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Making Sense Of The Chiefs Free Agents

Posted Jul 26, 2011

Your complete guide to the Chiefs 2011 free agents - how they got here, what they've done and what their status is going forward

We’ll get our first dose of free agency when teams announce their first batch of drafted and undrafted rookie signings later today. Preparations for free agency made for a late night Monday at Arrowhead with the Chiefs front office allowed to begin negotiations with rookie players.

There were discussions, but no signings. Clubs are prohibited from signing rookies until 9:00 AM (CST) today.

Negotiations with veteran free agents will also begin at 9:00 AM (CST), but clubs will be unable to sign those players until Friday evening. Plenty of free agency rumors will be circulating throughout the week – some true, some not. Just be advised that talks aren’t binding, contracts are.

There’s some additional small print involved in free agency this year as well.

Veteran players who sign new contract contracts won’t be permitted to participate in any physical activities with their clubs until the official start of the 2011 League Year on August 4th (that’s next Thursday). This includes on-field activities, workouts and weight training.

Veterans inking new deals will, however, be required to report to camp to attend meetings, classroom instruction and any other non-physical activities scheduled during the Club’s preseason training camp.

With everything happening so quickly, let’s make sense of the Chiefs in-house free agent situation going forward. There were several changes in status from what we’d expected prior to terms of the new Collective Bargaining Agreement going public. We’ll start with Kansas City’s restricted free agents.

CHIEFS RESTRICTED FREE AGENTS (5)


The Chiefs have four restricted free agents who received Qualifying Offers and are subject to the First Refusal/Compensation system of the NFL Collective Bargaining Agreement. Additionally, the Chiefs also own the Rights of First Refusal for free agent WR Kevin Curtis.

 Restricted free agents can negotiate new contracts with any interested team, but his old team (Chiefs) maintains the right of first refusal.

CB Brandon Carr (1st) – The Chiefs placed a first round tender on Carr, meaning that Kansas City would receive a first round draft pick as compensation if Carr signs with another team.  The Chiefs also have the right to match any offer sheet Carr receives from another team.

Carr has started every game for the Chiefs since being drafted out of NCAA Division II Grand Valley State in the fifth round of the 2008 NFL Draft. The Chiefs first signed him to a three-year contract on June 11, 2008.

Last year, Carr ranked fifth on the team with 70 tackles and had a team-high 22 passes defensed. His 48 consecutive starts are the third most of any Chief to begin a career.

DE Wallace Gilberry (2nd)  - The Chiefs placed a second round tender on Gilberry, meaning that Kansas City would receive a second round draft pick as compensation if Gilberry signs with another team.  The Chiefs also have the right to match any offer sheet Gilberry receives from another team.

Gilberry was originally plucked off the Giants’ practice squad November 5, 2008 and agreed to terms of a three-year contract. He entered the league as a rookie free agent and has played in 37 games with the Chiefs over the past three seasons. Gilberry played in all 16 games last year and recorded a career-high 7.0 sacks.

T Barry Richardson (2nd) - The Chiefs placed a second round tender on Richardson, meaning that Kansas City would receive a second round draft pick as compensation if Richardson signs with another team.  The Chiefs also have the right to match any offer sheet Richardson receives from another team.

A sixth-round pick out of Clemson in 2008, Richardson received the most extensive playing time of his career last season. He opened all 16 games for the Chiefs (15 at right tackle and one at left tackle) after Ryan O’Callaghan suffered a preseason groin injury. Overall, Richardson owns 32 games of NFL experience with 17 starts to his name.

He originally signed a three-year contract with the Chiefs on June 25, 2008.

FB Mike Cox (ROFR) – The Chiefs own Rights of First Refusal with Cox. Since Cox was undrafted, the Chiefs would get nothing back if he signs elsewhere.

An undrafted rookie out of Georgia Tech in 2008, Cox originally signed a two-year contract with the Chiefs on April 29, 2008. Kansas City maintained Cox’s rights for another year when the fullback became an exclusive rights free agent in 2010.

Primarily used as a blocker, Cox’s career totals include four carries for three yards with a TD. He’s also caught 22 passes for 125 yards. Cox has played in 39 games (17 starts) with the Chiefs over the past three seasons.

WR Kevin Curtis (ROFR) – Most anticipated Curtis to hit unrestricted free agency. Instead, we’ve come to find out that Curtis is the only player in the NFL with four or more accrued seasons who negotiated Rights of First Refusal with this old club (Chiefs).

With that negotiation, the Chiefs get the chance to match any offer Curtis receives from another club.

Kansas City signed Curtis to a one-year deal on January 5, 2011, just days before the club’s AFC Wild Card Game against Baltimore. Curtis started that game and caught one pass for three yards. He had played with the Dolphins earlier that season after making a comeback from testicular cancer.

An eight-year NFL veteran, Curtis has tallied 253 receptions for 3,297 yards with 20 TDs. His best year came with Philadelphia in 2007 when he caught 77 passes for 1,110 yards with six TDs.

CHIEFS FRANCHISE PLAYER (1)


The Chiefs placed the franchise tag on OLB Tamba Hali in February. By designating Hali as the club’s franchise player, the Chiefs own Right of First Refusal and would receive compensation of two No. 1 Draft Choices.

In order to submit an Offer Sheet for Hali, a New Club must have available the required choices, defined as its own or better choices in the First Round in the 2012 and 2013 NFL Drafts. Offer Sheets may be submitted to an Old Club (Chiefs) until 3:00 PM (CST) on the Tuesday following the 10th regular season weekend.

OLB Tamba Hali – Originally a first-round pick of the Chiefs in 2006, Hali first signed a five-year contract with the club on July 28, 2006. He’s started all 79 games he’s played in over the past five seasons and turned in a career-high 14.5 sacks to lead the AFC last season.

Hali was selected to his first Pro Bowl in 2010 as an injury replacement, but did not attend the event. He owns 296 career tackles, 41.5 sacks, 59 QB pressures, 19 forced fumbles, four fumble recoveries and one INT. Hali has finished as Kansas City’s sack leader four of his five professional seasons.

CHIEFS UNRESTRICTED FREE AGENTS (15)


Unrestricted free agents are free to negotiate with any team beginning today at 9:00 AM (CST). All of these players are coming off expiring contracts with four or more accrued seasons of NFL service.

OLB Charlie AndersonAnderson originally signed a one-year deal with Kansas City on September 15, 2010, following his release from Miami just nine days prior. He appeared in two games on special teams last season, but did not see any defensive snaps. Anderson was also inactive for 11 contests.

A seven-year veteran, Anderson owns 94 games (seven starts) of NFL experience. He’s recorded 62 career tackles.

RB Jackie Battle – Battle joined the Chiefs practice squad as a rookie free agent in 2007 and signed a three-year contract upon his promotion to the active roster December 12th. A reserve runner, Battle has played in 33 games at both fullback and tailback registering 41 carries for 118 yards and two TDs. He’s also caught five passes for eight yards and added 20 special team tackles.

FB Tim CastilleA mid-season addition two seasons ago, Castille agreed to a two-year contract November 17, 2009. He had played in 14 games the year before as a rookie free agent for Todd Haley in Arizona.

Castille split time with Mike Cox as the Chiefs fullback in 2010, appearing in 10 games and notching four starts. The four-year pro owns 31 games of NFL experience (four starts) with 58 yards coming off 19 carries. He’s also caught 18 passes for 91 yards with a TD and added 18 special teams tackles.

WR Terrance CopperCopper originally signed a one-year deal as an unrestricted free agent March 17, 2009. He hit the open market last off-season and re-signed with Chiefs March 6, 2010. This is the fourth consecutive season that Copper has been declared an unrestricted free agent.

Copper played in 16 games on special teams and 15 games (three starts) on offense last season. He’s caught 22 passes for 225 yards during his two years in Kansas City.

QB Brodie CroyleThe primary backup to Matt Cassel each of the last two seasons, Croyle originally signed a four-year contract July 28, 2006 after his selection in the third round of that year’s draft. He was tendered as a restricted free agent last off-season and played under the terms of a one-year contract in 2010.

Croyle has made 10 starts under center for the Chiefs and completed 181-of-319 passes for 1,669 yards with eight TDs and nine INTs.

CB Travis DanielsOriginally signing with the Chiefs as an unrestricted free agent March 11, 2009, Daniels was cut following training camp and didn’t re-appear on Kansas City’s roster until November 4th of that season. He’d make the squad out of camp last year and spent all of 2010 on Kansas City’s active roster.

Daniels played in 16 games on special teams and eight contests on defense last season. His most extensive action came at Seattle where he picked off a Matt Hasselbeck pass after injuries hit both Brandon Flowers and Jackie Bates. Daniels has played in 25 games with the Chiefs making two starts.

DT Ron EdwardsThe Chiefs primary nose tackle each of the past two seasons, Edwards originally joined the Chiefs as an unrestricted free agent on a one-year contract March 30, 2006. He then re-signed a four-year deal with the Chiefs March 16, 2007.

Edwards has played in 80 games, making 61 starts over the past five seasons in Kansas City. He’s totaled 109 tackles, 8.5 sacks, 22 QB presses and two fumble recoveries for the Chiefs.

LB Corey MaysA surprise starter in 2009, Mays came to the Chiefs on a one-year deal March 13th of that year. He’d re-sign as a restricted free agent in 2010.

After starting 13 games for the Chiefs and tallying a career-high 100 tackles in 2009, Mays assumed a reserve role last season behind starter Jovan Belcher. Mays saw action in 14 games on special teams and five contests on defense.

S Jon McGrawMcGraw first arrived in Kansas City on a two-year contract as an unrestricted free agent signee March 29, 2007. He then re-signed another two-year deal as an unrestricted free agent March 6, 2009.

Providing a steady veteran presence in the defensive backfield and on special teams, McGraw turned in a career-high 50 tackles last season. He’s played in 112 career games (26 starts) and added 107 special teams tackles since entering the league as a second-round pick of the Jets in 2002.

OL Rudy NiswangerHats off to Niswanger for working hard on behalf of his teammates as the Chiefs player representative to the NFLPA. Despite not having a contract for the 2011 season, Niswanger continued to represent his teammates in good faith throughout the NFL Lockout. His commitment during that time revealed his off-field character.

On the field, Niswanger arrived in Kansas City as an undrafted free agent by signing a four-year contract on May 17, 2006. Niwanger played behind iron man Casey Wiegmann for two seasons before taking over as the Chiefs starting snapper from 2008-09. He was offered a one year tender last off-season and played 2010 as a backup to Wiegmann.

Ryan O’Callaghan – The Chiefs originally obtained O’Callaghan off waivers from New England September 6, 2009. He was tendered as a restricted free agent last off-season and played 2010 under a one-year deal. O’Callaghan was originally a fifth-round draft pick in 2006 when Chiefs GM Scott Pioli headed the Patriots personnel department.

O’Callaghan become Kansas City’s starting right tackle several weeks after his acquisition and opened 12 games for the team in 2009. He entered training camp last season as the club’s probable starter at right tackle, but a preseason groin injury left him inactive for the first five games of the season. Once O’Callaghan was ready to return, Barry Richardson wasn’t willing to relinquish the starting job.

Leonard PopeHailed as a hero this off-season for saving a drowning boy at an Americus, Georgia pool party, Pope now heads into the world of unrestricted free agency for the first time of his career.

The Chiefs originally acquired Pope September 29, 2009, following his release from Arizona. Pope had played under Todd Haley while with the Cardinals.

Despite the emergence of rookie Tony Moeaki, Pope played significant snaps for the Chiefs last season and started six games. He’s played in 29 games (14 starts) and caught 30 passes for 250 yards with three TDs since joining the Chiefs in 2009.

Shaun SmithSmith originally received a one-year deal to play nose tackle March 10, 2010, but would end up settling in as a defensive end by the time training camp closed. He opened the year as Tyson Jackson’s backup, but quickly found his way into the starting lineup when Jackson suffered a knee injury in the season opener against San Diego. From there, Smith became somewhat of a folk hero inside the Chiefs fan base.

The Chiefs got far more production out of Smith than most would have imagined prior to the start of the season. The nickname “Deep Freeze” was born in a road contest at Seattle when Smith lined up as a fullback in the club’s goal line formation and bullied his way for a one-yard TD run. More importantly, however, Smith played in all 16 games and started 10 when the Chiefs situation at defensive end was anything but stable.

Casey Wiegmann – One of Wiegmann’s preseason goals was to run his consecutive snaps streak over the 10,000-snap mark. He was successful.

Returning to the Chiefs on a one-year contract March 12, 2010, Wiegmann played every offensive snap last season and ran his consecutive snaps total to 10,141. Despite turning 38 last week, Wiegmann has expressed an interest to return to Kansas City for a 16th NFL season.

*OLB Mike Vrabel – Vrabel announced his retirement from professional football earlier this month to become an assistant coach at his alma mater. He’ll coach linebackers on the staff of close friend and former college roommate Luke Fickell at Ohio State University.

Vrabel played in 30 games with the Chiefs, all starts, after joining the franchise in a 2009 trade with New England that also included QB Matt Cassel.