Chiefs won’t go shopping despite extra $7.5 million


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Jan 22, 2006
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free-agent pursuit not part of plan
Chiefs won’t go shopping despite extra $7.5 million

The Kansas City Star

“Unlike some of our former coaches, Herm (Edwards) likes to and will play younger players, including rookies.”

Chiefs president/general manager Carl Peterson

The Chiefs had an extra $7.5 million of salary-cap room dropped in their laps when the NFL and its players agreed to a last-minute extension of the collective-bargaining agreement.

That extra cap space won’t make the Chiefs major players when the free-agency signing period begins tonight.

“It really doesn’t change our thoughts on free-agency,” president/general manager Carl Peterson said. “We didn’t plan to be much of a player this year no matter what the salary-cap figure was.

“We’re not going to bring anyone in for the first few days. It’s not a priority. We’ll observe who’s out there and let the other teams spend the big dollars.”

The salary-cap increase from $94.5 million to $102 million should give the Chiefs a chance to retain their own free agents. Peterson said the Chiefs would make a stronger effort to re-sign fullback Tony Richardson and defensive tackle Lional Dalton, the two starters among their nine unrestricted free agents.

One option for both players is the one-year veteran minimum contract. Richardson would receive a salary of $810,000, Dalton $710,000, but each would cost the Chiefs only about $400,000 against their salary cap.

“We’ll see if there’s something there that makes sense both for them and for the Chiefs,” Peterson said. “They are guys that played for us and started for us, and we’d like to have them back. It will come down to contracts and salaries, as it usually does.”

Peterson said the Chiefs would try to re-sign some of the players who are heading into the final seasons of their contracts. Three such players are tight end Tony Gonzalez, defensive end Jared Allen and linebacker Kawika Mitchell.

Allen, who is due a base salary of $385,000 this season, has outperformed the contract he signed as a fourth-round draft pick two years ago.

Running back Larry Johnson has four seasons left on his contract, but the Chiefs may decide to give him a raise over the $741,000 salary he is scheduled to make this season.

The Chiefs’ other unrestricted free agents will be wide receiver Marc Boerigter, quarterbacks Todd Collins and Damon Huard, defensive end Carlos Hall, cornerback Dewayne Washington and long snappers Kendall Gammon and Ed Perry.

The Chiefs tendered minimum one-year contracts to offensive lineman Jordan Black, defensive lineman Jimmy Wilkerson, cornerback Benny Sapp and kicker Lawrence Tynes.

Black and Wilkerson, as three-year players, are restricted free agents, giving the Chiefs the right to match any contract offer they might receive. Sapp and Tynes, as two-year players, are exclusive free agents, giving the Chiefs sole negotiating rights.

The Chiefs appear to be short at cornerback after last week’s release of Eric Warfield and Dexter McCleon. They combined to make 15 starts last season, and their departure leaves the Chiefs with no obvious candidates to start opposite Patrick Surtain.

Sapp, Julian Battle and Alphonso Hodge are their other cornerbacks. The Chiefs seem content with Sapp as their nickel back. Battle, a former third-round draft pick, was struggling even before losing all of last season to an Achilles’ tear.

Hodge played little as a rookie last season.

“I think we’re OK there,” Peterson said. “(Coach Herm Edwards) likes Benny Sapp very much. Julian Battle is very, very talented. Also, this draft has a lot of quality at the cornerback position. We feel we’ll be able to come out of the draft with some help. Unlike some of our former coaches, Herm likes to and will play younger players, including rookies.”

Ty Law, who signed with Edwards’ Jets last season, is a free agent. So are Surtain’s former Miami teammate Sam Madison and former Raider Charles Woodson.

Peterson suggested the Chiefs might move on without any of them or another veteran cornerback.

“That’s possible,” Peterson said. “I can’t say that for sure right now. We brought in a couple of veterans late in the process last year, and one of them (Washington) was with us for the season. That could happen again.

“Herm has to get out on the field with our guys, and he’ll have a better feel for all of that.”

Peterson and Edwards have indicated interest in wide receiver Terrell Owens once he’s released by the Eagles. Peterson again said the Chiefs wouldn’t be aggressive in that pursuit.

“I think I’ve been specific regarding our plans there,” Peterson said. “If Terrell and his agent are interested in a one-year contract with no guarantees and a lot of incentives, then we’re interested. He knows that, and his representative knows that. They haven’t called me back on that yet, and they may not call me back.

“That’s a very distant thing. I’m not focused on that right now. We’ll have to see how things go.”

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