Chiefs Offseason Report – Chase Daniel: Keep or Release

Currently, the buzz around Kansas City is focusing more on the reigning American League champion Royals, but the Chiefs have many decisions to make in the coming months to attempt getting back into the playoffs after a one year hiatus. As I mentioned in a previous column, one of the glaring needs facing the Chiefs right now is at the wide receiver position. The critics of Alex Smith’s so-called “conservative play” are plentiful, but with the lack of talent on the outside, it’s tough to pin all the hate on Smith. The draft is loaded with high-end and middle-level receiver prospects. The free agent list is impressive as well, including the likes of Randall Cobb and Jeremy Maclin. With this said, if the Chiefs are going to be able to sign someone like Cobb, they’ll need to clear up some cap space.

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Where to cut money?
There are numerous ways in which the Chiefs can clear some money, as well as having to hand out money. One area where they will definitely have to pay a lot is to star outside linebacker Justin Houston. After the 22 sack season, Houston isn’t going to come cheap and may even be seeking J.J. Watt-type money. However, the Chiefs may end up franchise tagging him, but a long-term deal will need to be done either this year or next.

A second area where a lot of money is tied up is with current number one receiver Dwayne Bowe. Despite receiving praise for becoming a more mature player and great teammate, Bowe headlined a group of receivers that failed to catch one touchdown pass throughout the entire season. At $11 million for the 2015 season, his contract needs to be restructured or he may be headed out.

Next, there’s outside linebacker Tamba Hali, who could free up $9 million if he were cut. This would be a tough one, as Hali has always been a fan-favorite and the model of consistency over the course of his 9-year career. Despite this, the Chiefs selected Dee Ford last year in the first round and look ready to lay out a big check for Justin Houston.

All of these players mentioned above (Houston, Bowe, and Hali) have all been key contributors for the Chiefs over the last few years. So, even while some of the contracts, like Bowe and Hali, need restructured, the Chiefs know they are keeping guys that have proven the ability to play consistent snaps. The Chiefs do have $4.8 million set to be tied up with a backup quarterback. After signing a three-year, $10 million deal in 2013, backup quarterback Chase Daniel is set to earn $4.8 million for the 2015 season. To me, this seems like a lot for a player that’s attempted seventy-five passes over his five year career. Alex Smith looks to have a firm grip on the starting job, which should make Chase Daniel expendable.

Keep Daniel? Current situation at the QB position
While Daniel has looked solid in his two starts over the past two seasons, it just doesn’t really make sense to hang on to him when the Chiefs would be able to save $3.8 million in cap space. It is also a really small sample size to base a decision off of. Along with this, the Chiefs already have three other backup quarterbacks. This group consists of:

  • Aaron Murray – He was their 5th round pick in the 2014 draft out of Georgia. Murray had an impressive career in college, but it is unclear if he’ll ever translate into a legitimate NFL starter, due to size concerns.
  • Tyler Bray – Coming out of Tennessee, no one ever questioned the potential of Bray, but various other red flags led to him being an undrafted free agent. The Chiefs are intrigued by his talents, as they chose to go through last year with four quarterbacks in order to further the development of Bray. He spent all of 2014 on IR with a high ankle sprain and has recently been diagnosed with a torn ACL. His time with the Chiefs may be running low.
  • Terrelle Pryor – The former Oakland Raider and Ohio State Buckeye recently signed a one-year deal with the Chiefs. Of the group, he may be the most physically imposing, but poor passing ability limits his potential. He does have some starting experience during his time with the Raiders, although it is not necessarily very impressive. An interesting twist may be to try and get Pryor involved as a receiver. At 6-foot-4, 233 lbs, it would be enticing to see what could arise from such a case.

The case for Chase
Daniel does have a strong following in the Kansas City area, having starred at the University of Missouri and recently being inducted into the University of Missouri Hall of Fame. Over his four-year career there, Daniel set Missouri records for passing yardage, completion percentage, touchdown passes, and total offense. Also, one of Daniel’s primary targets during his stay at Missouri was none other than Jeremy Maclin, who happens to be one of the elite free agent receivers. During his induction, Maclin stated that he fully expects to be back in Philadelphia, but offered plenty of praise for his former college quarterback.

Maclin said, “He’s a guy that’s won everywhere he’s been. He’s a leader. He’s a competitor. Even now, in the league, when he gets his opportunities, he fights.”

This perfectly defines Daniel. He’s a fiery competitor that is respected by all of his teammates. Unfortunately, the opportunities have been limited in the NFL, but he has been respectable in those chances.

Bottom Line
Chase Daniel brings a lot to the table, but at the end of the day, he doesn’t project as anything more than a backup quarterback and is a cap casualty at the moment. However, it may be interesting to see if he could help bring Jeremy Maclin into Kansas City. Ultimately, the Chiefs right now have 5 quarterbacks and will likely need to cut two before the season starts. My prediction is the two that will be headed out will be Daniel and Bray, but that may change if they are able to convert Pryor into a receiver.


Follow me on Twitter @_BrandonOgle and tweet me what you think the Chiefs should do in the offseason.

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