Here is Part 2 of this week’s Kansas City Chiefs mailbag. This edition answers non-draft-related questions.

To ask a question for a future edition, send it to me via Twitter (@adamteicher) and tag it #ChiefsMail.


@adamteicher: I’m thinking the Chiefs will negotiate a lower salary for safety Eric Berry, who has been undergoing treatment for lymphoma. But they haven’t done so yet. He’s still scheduled to make the $5.155 million called for in his original contract.


@adamteicher: No. Tamba Hali is an outside linebacker.


@adamteicher: Backup quarterback Tyler Bray tore his ACL in January. Figuring a nine-month rehab, he won’t be close to ready for training camp. You’re right in that five QBs are too many for training camp with the limited practice schedule now in place. But I don’t think the Chiefs would have brought in Terrelle Pryor had Bray not been injured.


@adamteicher: I doubt Jamaal Charles will be effective that late into his career. Few backs are. We’ll see, but the Chiefs wouldn’t be wise to count on that.


@adamteicher: I don’t know why they would. They already have Jamaal Charles.


@adamteicher: The Chiefs need someone to give nose tackle Dontari Poe a rest now and then, but it doesn’t have to be Raji. I wouldn’t think he’d be interested in coming to a team where he’d be a backup.


@adamteicher: The Chiefs at the moment don’t have a lot of money to offer. Stefen Wisniewski of the Oakland Raiders is still unsigned. I could see the Chiefs being interested, but they would have to clear some room under their salary cap in order to fit his contract.


@adamteicher: A lot of them. The divisional games, always. The Packers at Lambeau Field. The game against the Lions in London. Dwayne Bowe returning to Arrowhead Stadium with the Cleveland Browns.

Here is Part 1 of this week’s Kansas City Chiefs mailbag. This edition answers draft-related questions. Look on Sunday for Part 2, which answers questions on other topics.

To ask a question for a future edition, send it to me via Twitter (@adamteicher) and tag it #ChiefsMail.

@adamteicher: I don't know if the chance of the Chiefs drafting Dorial Green-Beckham, the former Missouri wide receiver, in the first round were good before they signed Jeremy Maclin as a free agent. Whatever they were, those chances are a lot lower now that Maclin is with the Chiefs.

@adamteicher: Better than the Chiefs drafting him in the first round. But Green-Beckham may not be available when the Chiefs make their second choice, which is 49th overall.

@adamteicher: They should be. Parker, from Louisville, is generally considered to be the third-best wide receiver available in the draft behind Alabama's Amari Cooper and West Virginia's Kevin White. But that doesn't mean Parker will be available when the Chiefs pick. Too many receiver-needy teams pick ahead of them for that to be a strong possibility.

@adamteicher: I'm not sure Collins, the Alabama safety, will be there for the Chiefs with the 18th pick. The Chiefs seem to be confident in their ability to dig up safeties. They've found Husain Abdullah, Kurt Coleman and Ron Parker on the scrap heap, and each has played well for them. They also re-signed Parker and added Tyvon Branch this year. But Collins would still make sense for the Chiefs if he's available. Parker is their only experienced safety under contract beyond 2015.

@adamteicher: The 18th pick might be too early for both Florida State center Cam Erving and Minnesota tight end Maxx Williams. But Erving at least might still make some sense for the Chiefs. They need a center.

@adamteicher: Too early to say. They could wind up trading some picks and move around in the draft or perhaps even acquire a veteran or even get some additional picks in next year's draft. That's the good thing about having 10 picks. It allows them some flexibility to do a lot of different things. Keep in mind that while the Chiefs are allowed by NFL rules to trade any or all of their own six picks, they can't trade the four compensatory picks they have.

Dwayne Bowe still could have been a useful player for the Kansas City Chiefs even after they signed free-agent wide receiver Jeremy Maclin. But only under two conditions: He no longer would be the No. 1 receiver and he would play at a greatly reduced contract.

The contract Bowe wound up getting from the Cleveland Browns after his release from the Chiefs -- two years worth $12.5 million -- would have been too hefty for Kansas City.

As things stand, the Chiefs need a No. 2 receiver. They re-signed Jason Avant and still have Albert Wilson but could use someone to run alongside Maclin on an every-down basis.

Bowe could have filled the need but not at $6.25 million a year over the next two years. His production over the past three years isn’t worth that kind of money, at least not to the Chiefs, who unlike the Browns don’t have a lot of cap room to waste.

The Chiefs can find Bowe’s kind of numbers at a lower cost. It appears they intend to do that with one of their 10 draft picks.

ICYMI: Food safety boss at Arrowhead, Kauffman fired

March, 27, 2015
Mar 27
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The food safety manager who went public last fall with allegations of unsafe food handling and pictures of bugs, mouse feces and moldy food at Kansas City's Arrowhead and Kauffman stadiums has been fired.

Jon Costa shared with "Outside the Lines" a copy of a letter he said his former employer, Aramark, sent him on March 17 saying Costa was being fired "for cause." The letter outlines a number of reasons, the first of which is that he violated the company's media policy by taking his concerns public.

Costa came forward publicly with his concerns last November, just after World Series games at Kauffman Stadium, in an email to media and public health officials, including the local health department. He detailed allegations, complete with photos, of cockroaches in vending areas, mouse feces on the same tray as pizza dough, sinks where employees were supposed to wash their hands being blocked by boxes or trash, employees eating in food prep areas and trays of food headed for customers that measured at unsafe temperatures.

Aramark declined to answer specific questions about Costa's firing but issued a statement Thursday noting that "We respect our employees' privacy and consider personnel matters confidential. We maintain that privacy even if an individual chooses to discuss their situation publicly."

ESPN analyst Mel Kiper Jr. listed four players who made sense for the Kansas City Chiefs with their first-round pick in the upcoming draft. The Chiefs have the 18th overall selection.

Those players: wide receivers Breshad Perriman from Central Florida and Jaelen Strong from Arizona State and offensive linemen Ereck Flowers from Miami and La'El Collins of LSU.

“It’s probably going to fall where it’s an offensive lineman or wide receiver, I believe," Kiper said on a conference call with reporters.

The Chiefs recently signed free-agent Jeremy Maclin from the Philadelphia Eagles to be their No. 1 receiver but, as Kiper said with regard to the Chiefs, “You don’t need one (receiver), you need two.’’

Perriman impressed scouts at his school’s recent pro day with a 40 time that was reported to be as fast as 4.19. He’s also big enough at 6-foot-2 and 212 pounds to play every down.

“I think Perriman would be a guy [for the Chiefs] to certainly to look at,’’ Kiper said.

Strong is about the same size as Perriman and ran a 4.44 40 at the scouting combine last month.

“Big, physical wide receiver,’’ Kiper said. “Ran a lot better and tested a lot better athletically than people thought. He caught that Hail Mary pass to beat USC. He would certainly be a guy in that mix.’’

On the offensive line, the Chiefs have already lost in free agency their starting center, Rodney Hudson, to the Oakland Raiders. Three other players who started games for them last season, including right tackle Ryan Harris, are unsigned.

“If you want the right tackle, you’d be looking at Ereck Flowers from Miami of Florida,’’ Kiper said. “At that point he would make sense. La'El Collins from LSU, a great lineman, very versatile out of LSU. Can play left tackle, right tackle (or) guard. He would certainly make sense.’’

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The sky is the limit for Jeremy Maclin in the Chiefs' West Coast offense.

The Kansas City Chiefs are excited about their offseason moves so far, but not everyone shares their enthusiasm.

For those with ESPN Insider access, Mike Sando offers an interesting look grading each NFL’s teams free-agent manuevers. Sando sought the advice of some ESPN analysts, including former Indianapolis Colts general manager Bill Polian, in assessing the grades.

The Chiefs were given a C. Twenty-five teams were given a grade of C-plus or higher. Four others were given a grade of C, so just two teams received a lower grade than the Chiefs.

That certainly won’t fly at Arrowhead Stadium, where the Chiefs are quietly of the belief they’re winning the offseason. Some of that belief rests in the fact they will have 10 picks in this year’s draft, so they will be able to cover a lot of ground.

The Chiefs were able to retain some key components by placing the franchise tag on linebacker Justin Houston, restructuring the contracts of linebacker Tamba Hali and defensive end Mike DeVito and re-signing safety Ron Parker. They also attacked some serious deficiencies by throwing big money at Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Jeremy Maclin and trading for New Orleans Saints guard Ben Grubbs.

But were these the right moves? Will quarterback Alex Smith utilize Maclin enough to where the Chiefs can get their money’s worth from him? Have the Chiefs improved their offensive line, or do they merely have more mediocre players to compete for jobs?

Interesting questions. I like the Chiefs’ moves and believe they are a better team now than when last season ended. They’ll need some help from those 10 draft picks to round things out.

For now, I’d say the Chiefs are squarely in the middle of winning the offseason and an average grade. I’m willing to give them some credit at this point for this, too: At least they’re trying to get better.

Been receiving many questions about the cap space the Kansas City Chiefs would need to conduct their draft. Overthecap.com has a nice piece on exactly what it would take in terms of cap room for each NFL team to make its picks, including the Chiefs and their 10 choices.

The Chiefs will need about $2 million to conduct their draft, according to OTC. Their rookie pool is about $6.4 million. For the differences between the two, I urge you to read the OTC story.

The Chiefs, according to the NFL Players Association, have about $2.75 million of remaining cap space. So the Chiefs could conduct their draft today, assuming these figures to be correct.

But that wouldn’t leave the Chiefs much wiggle room for any remaining free agents they might like to sign, or anything else, really. So they’ll have to clear some cap room as they move forward.

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The food safety manager who went public last fall with allegations of unsafe food handling and pictures of bugs, mouse feces and moldy food at Kansas City's Kauffman and Arrowhead stadiums has been fired.

Jon Costa shared with "Outside the Lines" a copy of a letter he said his former employer, Aramark, sent him on March 17 saying Costa was being fired "for cause." The letter outlines a number of reasons, the first of which is that he violated the company's media policy by taking his concerns public.

Costa came forward publicly with his concerns last November, just after World Series games at Kauffman Stadium, in an email to media and public health officials, including the local health department. He detailed allegations -- complete with photos -- of cockroaches in vending areas, mouse feces on the same tray as pizza dough, sinks where employees were supposed to wash their hands being blocked by boxes or trash, employees eating in food prep areas and trays of food headed for customers that measured at unsafe temperatures.

The city health department responded with an inspection of the Royals' and Chiefs' stadiums on Nov. 3 that found violations at 20 out of 26 stands, including 37 critical violations, including mold growth in ice machines, dirty pans and trays and excessive numbers of fruit flies. A subsequent inspection found those violations to be corrected.

Aramark declined to answer specific questions about Costa's firing but issued a statement Thursday noting that "We respect our employees' privacy and consider personnel matters confidential. We maintain that privacy even if an individual chooses to discuss their situation publicly."

The company defended its food safety record: "In Kansas City, we have served over 17 million fans since 2007 at hundreds of games and events and have a strong record of performance. We have continued to work closely with the Kansas City Health Department who has inspected Truman Sports Complex more than 100 times over our operating tenure. None of our Kansas City sports operations have ever been shut down by the Health Department and there have been no cases of food-related illness tied to our operations."

Aramark put Costa on paid administrative leave on Nov. 5, 2014. On Nov. 18, Costa's attorney said he requested that Aramark reinstate Costa. Costa questions the timing of his firing, noting that the Royals' home opener is April 6.

"I honestly would have gone back to work and be reinstated," Costa said. "I knew it would have been a very hostile environment, but there would have been a ton of things to fix there. But I was up to the task."

An Aramark representative interviewed Costa on three separate occasions after the November publicity, during which Costa said he was asked questions about his employment, prior work history, the nature of his photos and other aspects of his allegations.

In December, Costa's attorney filed a retaliation complaint


(Read full post)


This could change many times between now and the start of the regular season in September but here’s a look at what the starting defensive lineup of the Kansas City Chiefs could look like, based on the players available today.

Defensive end: Mike DeVito. He missed all but the season opener last year after rupturing his Achilles tendon. The run defense suffered as a result. 2014 starter: Jaye Howard.

Nose tackle: Dontari Poe. He not only starts but rarely comes out of the game. That’s uncommon for a player of his size (346 pounds). 2014 starter: Poe.

Defensive end: Allen Bailey. He had a breakthrough season last year in his first as a starter, getting five sacks. 2014 starter: Bailey.

Outside linebacker: Justin Houston. He is still unsigned as the franchise player, so the possibility remains the NFL’s reigning sack leader will hold out if he doesn’t get a lucrative, long-term contract. In that case, Dee Ford is the starter. 2014 starter: Houston.

Inside linebacker: Derrick Johnson. Like DeVito, he missed all but the season opener last season because of a ruptured Achilles tendon and the Chiefs suffered without him, particularly in their run defense. 2014 starter: James-Michael Johnson.

Insider linebacker: Josh Mauga. He filled in for Derrick Johnson last year and the Chiefs thought enough of him that they re-signed him and released veteran Joe Mays. 2014 starter: Mauga.

Outside linebacker: Tamba Hali. He had six sacks, his lowest total since 2008. 2014 starter: Hali.

Cornerback: Jamell Fleming. The Chiefs pulled him off Baltimore’s practice squad early in the season and wound up starting four games. 2014 starters: Fleming, Marcus Cooper, Ron Parker and Phillip Gaines shared the position.

Cornerback: Sean Smith. The Chiefs would happily take another season from Smith like the one they got from him last year. 2014 starter: Smith.

Strong safety: Ron Parker. He became a regular last year and was recently rewarded with a lucrative, long-term contract. This was Eric Berry’s spot, but he’s getting treatment for lymphoma. 2014 starters: Berry and Parker.

Free safety: Husain Abdullah. He scored the Chiefs’ only defensive touchdown of last season on an interception return against Tom Brady and the New England Patriots in a Monday night game. 2014 starter: Abdullah.

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For those with ESPN Insider access, NFL draft analyst Mel Kiper Jr. has an interesting story linking some of the draft's top prospects to certain NFL teams based on how good a fit that player might be for a particular coach/system.

For Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota Kiper lists coach Andy ReidInsider and the Kansas City Chiefs.

Mariota would make a lot of sense for Reid, even if the Chiefs are committed to Alex Smith as their quarterback. Kiper cites the success of Donovan McNabb as Reid's quarterback for many seasons with the Philadelphia Eagles as a reason Mariota would flourish in Kansas City.

But it's not going to happen. As Kiper suggests, Mariota is going to be long gone by the time the Chiefs pick at No. 18 in the first round. The price for the Chiefs to move into the top few picks would be astronomical and, with Smith on board, there's no evidence the Chiefs are inclined to pay it.

Still, it's fun to think about. Reid even addressed Mariota to reporters at this week's NFL owners meetings in Phoenix, though he made it abundantly clear he knew the Chiefs have no realistic chance to draft Mariota.

"If I'm in a position to draft him -- which I'm not [because] he's going to go much higher than where I'm at -- I would try and spend as much time with him as I possibly could to see if he fits into what I'm doing," Reid said. "That's the name of the game.

"I didn't have an opportunity to visit with him. I'll tell you, he's a pretty good player. That part I can tell you. I don't know about the personality and all of that, but he's a pretty good football player."

Reid may not have met with Mariota. But he said he went as far as to ask Chiefs' punt returner/slot receiver De'Anthony Thomas about his collegiate teammate. Thomas played with Mariota at Oregon.

"Just from afar, I listen to what his teammates say," Reid said. "I've got one on my team and I talked to him about him. I asked him about him. And he goes, 'This guy is unbelievable. Great leader, great person.'

"Again, this is from afar [but] I didn't see any red flags."

Tight end Travis Kelce had a nice and perhaps unexpected debut season for the Kansas City Chiefs last year. He led the Chiefs in catches (67) and receiving yards (862) and for the most part was the one receiver the Chiefs could count on in an otherwise lethargic passing game.

That has coach Andy Reid and the Chiefs dreaming of better things from Kelce. They felt comfortable enough with him to release veteran tight end Anthony Fasano, thus making available more playing time for Kelce.

[+] EnlargeTravis Kelce
John Sleezer/Kansas City Star/Getty ImagesTravis Kelce was sixth among NFL tight ends in receptions last season.

Reid called Kelce elite this week at the NFL meetings in Phoenix.

“Absolutely,’’ Reid told reporters. “Tremendously talented. Loves to play the game. He’s like a little kid out there.

“You’d think the natural progression would be more and better and he was pretty good last year.’’

Kelce missed almost all of the 2013 season, which would have been his rookie year, because of an ailing knee. He was better last year, but the Chiefs weren’t quite comfortable giving Kelce a lot of playing time early in the season.

He forced his way into more of that with an eight-catch, 93-yard, one-touchdown game against the New England Patriots in Week 4.

“You could see the progress every week in a positive direction,’’ Reid said. “We kept adding to his menu there, plays that we wanted to dial up and formations and motions. Running backs and tight ends, they have to know what they’re doing with those. He continually got better with that as time went on.’’

Reid said Kelce played at about 250 pounds last season but wants him bigger this year. He indicated he believed Kelce could handle an additional 15 pounds without losing speed or quickness.

“It helps you in protection,’’ he said. “He’s got a good feel for that, kind of a knack. He got better at the line of scrimmage. He had dropped some weight early and he was able to gain some weight as we went on. He played as high as 265 at the college level, where I considered him a pretty good blocker. So he can function even with a little more weight added.’’

Sizing up the Chiefs' offensive line

March, 25, 2015
Mar 25
10:00
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ESPN Chiefs reporter Adam Teicher talks about the team getting two offensive lineman in free agency and the possibility of them acquiring another in the NFL draft.

Coach Andy Reid dropped some nuggets regarding the Kansas City Chiefs' offensive line to reporters at the NFL meetings in Phoenix:

  • Reid indicated Donald Stephenson would be first in line as the starting right tackle. Stephenson went through the offseason and training camp as the starter last season but was suspended for the first four games by the NFL shortly before the regular season started. Ryan Harris, currently unsigned and an unrestricted free agent, was entrenched as the starter by the time Stephenson returned.
  • Jeff Allen will be next at right tackle and will compete to be the starter at right guard as well. Allen played mostly tackle in college at Illinois but played mostly guard since being drafted by the Chiefs in 2012. He missed all but the season opener last season with an elbow injury. “Tackle might be his best position," Reid said. “By the way, Jeff is coming off that injury, so we’ve just got to see a little bit.”
  • Reid said Ben Grubbs, acquired from New Orleans for a fifth-round draft pick, would start at left guard. “That’s kind of home for him," Reid said. “That’s where he played. He’s smart, he’s physical. Everybody that I’ve talked to says he’s a phenomenal guy in the locker room. Good football player. And we felt like we needed to buff up the offensive line just a little bit. And here you bring in a two-time Pro Bowler. [General manager John Dorsey] kind of had his eyes on that. It was just a matter of being able to work through the trade and they were able to work that out.”
  • Eric Kush, the Chiefs’ sixth-round draft pick in 2013, has hardly played in his two NFL seasons. But Reid said Kush is the starting center, at least for the time being at least. The Chiefs lost last season’s starter, Rodney Hudson, in free agency to the Oakland Raiders. “We drafted Kush and we said, ‘Well, maybe in a year or two this guy has an opportunity to be a starter if he continues to progress' and now he has that opportunity," Reid said. “Not that we weren’t doing to try to sign Rodney back."
  • Reid indicated the Chiefs were sorry to see Hudson go. He signed a five-year contract worth $44 million. “He hit it right," Reid said. “There weren’t a lot of centers out there. So you go back to Business 101, (supply) and demand. He was the man out there and he got paid like the man. More power to him. He made that move and we’re lucky [Dorsey] had a plan with [Kush]."

The Kansas City Chiefs have 10 selections in the 2015 NFL draft, which will be held April 30 to May 2 in Chicago. Here’s a breakdown of the Chiefs' selections:

First round: 18th overall selection

Second round: 49th overall selection

Third round: 80th overall selection

Third round: 98th overall selection

Fourth round: 118th overall selection

Fifth round: 172nd overall selection

Fifth round: 173rd overall selection

Sixth round: 193rd overall selection

Sixth round: 217th overall selection

Seventh round: 233rd overall selection

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