When the season ended Chiefs head coach Herm Edwards notified several of his players they were not in the plans for 2008. We’ve speculated on those names this offseason and it appears some of those cuts are already taking place.
The Chiefs released offensive guard John Welbourn Thursday, a move that will save the team $2 million in cap space. Welbourn, who battled a pair of suspensions the last two years, struggled last season after a move from tackle to guard.
Welbourn’s release comes as no surprise because the Chiefs are looking to fill their offensive line holes by pursuing several free agent linemen. Who they sign remains to be seen, but with Kyle Turley announcing his retirement months ago, and the fact center Casey Wiegmann won’t return next year, there’s definitely a need.
The Chiefs know they can’t rely solely on the NFL Draft to fix the offensive line. Two weeks ago Vice President of Player Personnel Bill Kuharich hinted on a national radio show that the team would attempt to address their needs up front via free agency.
A couple of players to watch are Indianapolis Colts guard Ryan Lilja and Pittsburgh Steelers tackle Max Starks. Both fit the mold of ascending players at 26 years of age.
On the other side of the ball, veteran cornerback Ty Law is expected to be released shortly. Law had his moments as a Chief (just ask Peyton Manning), but hit a wall midway through last season.
Law’s 2008 cap number was set at $9.05 million. If he’s cut prior to June 1st the Chiefs will save almost $6 million against the cap this year.
Who his replacement will be is a huge question mark, because the best free agent corners available will ask for huge dollars. Seattle’s Marcus Trufant and the Patriots Asante Samuel will both attempt to breach the $85 million barrier. The Chiefs may have to go after some second-tier players - perhaps Nnamdi Asomugha (Oakland) or Drayton Florence (San Diego).
DE Jared Allen - It appears the Chiefs will not use the exclusive franchise tag on Allen, which would restrict his ability to negotiate a long term contract with another team. The Chiefs can then match any offer, and in the event they should decline, will receive 2008 and 2009 first-round picks from the team that signs him. To our knowledge there have been no significant contract talks between Allen’s agent, Ken Harris, and KC’s front office.
CB Benny Sapp - According to our sources its unlikely the Chiefs will retain one of their top backup corners from a year ago. A one-year deal would make sense, but the team appears to have hit a wall with Sapp. Part of the problem was his inability to stay healthy.
LB Keyaron Fox - The fifth-year linebacker told Warpaint Illustrated he plans to test the open market in search of an opportunity to become a starter. Fox would like to remain with the Chiefs, but as an unrestricted free agent wants to explore every option. It’s doubtful he’ll return to Kansas City in 2008.
P Dustin Colquitt - He has yet to receive a new contract offer. Colquitt is looking for a long-term deal, but is expecting the Chiefs will tender him a one-year deal as a precursor to a long-term contract that would be worked out later in the year.