AFC West: Amani Toomer

Chargers adding another O-lineman

November, 19, 2011
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The San Diego Chargers, according to the San Diego Union Tribune, are adding their third offensive lineman to the 53-man roster this week. The paper reports rookie Colin Baxter is being promoted in time for the Chargers’ game at Chicago on Sunday.

Baxter spent camp with the Chargers and spent time on the Jets’ 53-man roster before going on San Diego’s practice squad. The Chargers will be without starters Kris Dielman (who is out for the year because of a concussion), left tackle Marcus McNeill (stinger) and guard Louis Vasquez (ankle) Sunday. The San Diego Union Tribune reports that this will be the team’s starting offensive line Sunday. Tony Moll and Ike Ndukwe were signed earlier this week.

In other AFC West nuggets:

The Chiefs have ruled out linebacker Demorrio Williams for Monday night’s game at New England because of a groin injury.

Former Giants’ receiver Amani Toomer is the latest pundit to chime in on Tim Tebow. Count Toomer as among those in Tebow’s corner. In fact, the ex-Giant would take the Broncos’ quarterback over Jets’ quarterback Mark Sanchez if he was building a franchise. Not a bad argument considering Thursday’s results in which Tebow outplayed Sanchez when it counted in the Broncos’ 17-13 win over the Jets.

The Oakland Tribune expects Carson Palmer to have a big day Sunday against a depleted Minnesota secondary.
Posted by ESPN.com’s Bill Williamson

The Kansas City Chiefs latest search for a productive veteran wide receiver began in San Diego on Monday.

The Chargers surprised the league by cutting veteran receiver Chris Chambers, one day after he was demoted as a starter after a sluggish start to the season. Because of a healthy contract, Chambers, 31, was only expected to garner waiver interest from a contender. But the odds were on him becoming a free agent.

Yet, Kansas City, near the top of the waiver priority list thanks to their 1-6 record, jumped at the chance to add Chambers. Looking at the recent history of the Chiefs, it's not a surprise the team added Chambers, who until a year or so ago was considered one of the better possession receivers in the league.

Under new general manager Scott Pioli and new coach Todd Haley, the team has marched several veteran receivers into town, including Amani Toomer, Ashley Lelie, Bobby Engram and Bobby Wade, in recent months. Only Wade and Engram remain on the roster.

Chambers is probably the best of Kansas City’s veteran receiver additions. While he has lost speed, he should be decent No. 2 receiver to Dwayne Bowe and give quarterback Matt Cassel some much-needed help.

A change of scenery from San Diego could serve Chambers well. Chambers believes he may have been cut partly because of a personal issue. If he can regain some of his ability, this will be a good move for the Chiefs. At the very least, he’ll be in the Chiefs’ rotation.

The Chargers also will benefit from Kansas City claiming Chambers, who’ll be a free agent at the end of the season. The Chiefs have taken on the remaining portion of Chambers’ $4.55 million salary by claiming him. San Diego would have been on the hook for the salary had Chambers not been claimed.

Posted by ESPN.com’s Bill Williamson


The Chiefs’ cut down to the league mandated 75-man roster Tuesday couldn’t have been any more newsworthy.

Usually, the cut down from 80 to 75 is filled with no-name free agents. Not the Chiefs’ list.

Kansas City cut veteran receiver Amani Toomer and defensive end Alfonso Boone. Toomer was signed in early August and Boone has been with the Chiefs the past two years and he was working with the first team defensive line at times this summer.

Kansas City also put receiver Devard Darling on the injured reserve after he suffered a serious knee injury Saturday against Seattle. Running back Kolby Smith was put on the reserve physically unable to perform list. He can be activated later in the season.

Rookie tackle Cameron Goldberg was also released. But he’s not the story Tuesday.

Toomer, a former standout for the Giants, was signed to bring leadership and maybe create a spark at receiver. Yet, by all accounts, he offered little on the field, so the Chiefs quickly ended that experiment.

His career is probably over. If the receiver-hungry Chiefs don't have room for Toomer, who'll turn 35 next week, not many teams likely will.

Boone’s release means the Chiefs must feel like their youngsters on the defensive front are ready to carry the load. Young players Tyson Jackson. Glenn Dorsey and Alex Magee are all going to play a lot.

Darling was going to be in the receiving rotation. The Chiefs were planning on scouring the waiver wire and free-agent list after the final 53-man rosters are announced and this will only make that a certainty. It looks like the newly-signed Ashley Lelie has a strong chance of making the team.

AFC West mailbag

August, 30, 2009
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Posted by ESPN.com's Bill Williamson

Lance from Wichita, Kan., wants to know what kind of role does Denver owner Pat Bowlen play in the Brandon Marshall situation.

Bill Williamson: It depends on who you believe, Lance. Marshall has maintained that Bowlen told him the team would try to trade him back in June. The Broncos deny that. But it really isn't the issue. This thing is beyond Bowlen. I really think Bowlen could have done a better job in the Jay Cutler saga. Yes, I know the Broncos say Cutler didn't return Bowlen's calls. But he could have intervened early. He could have forced Cutler and new coach Josh McDaniels to mend fences. The Marshall deal is about money and Marshall's unhappiness. I really don't pin this one on the owner.


Reggie A. Gamble from Rockledge, Fla., wants to know if the Chiefs will make any moves at receiver.

BW: Yes, I expect the Chiefs to add to their receiving crew. Coach Todd Haley all but said he would look for help when teams make their final cuts Sept. 5. The Chiefs already brought in veteran receivers Amani Toomer and Ashley Lelie since training camp began. The Chiefs have the third highest priority on the waiver wire in the league so expect them to be able to help the bottom of their receiving rotation before the first week of the season.


David from Akron, Ohio, wants to know what kind of season can be expected from Denver second-year receiver Eddie Royal.

BW: Royal has looked fantastic in McDaniels' offense. He can play several different positions. Expect Royal, who had 91 receptions as a rookie, to have a monster year. McDaniels can't wait to unleash him. Don't be surprised if Royal plays a Wes Welker-like role in Denver. Welker was a slot receiver for McDaniels in New England. And if the Marshall saga continues, Royal will have an even bigger role in Denver's offense.

 
  G. Newman Lowrance/Getty Images
  Todd Haley, the new coach for Kansas City, has made his players feel his presence during the offseason and training camp.

Posted by ESPN.com's Bill Williamson

RIVER FALLS, Wis. --- The Kansas City Chiefs are tired.

And they should be.

Camp Haley has been no pleasure cruise.

The Chiefs, who break camp Thursday, have undergone a harsh transition from the cushy Herm Edwards days to the no-breaks, harsh methods of new coach Todd Haley. Mimicking new general manager Scott Pioli's humorless ways, Haley has not been easy on his troops.

Camp Confidential: AFC West
Raiders: Fri., July 31
Chargers: Tues., Aug. 4
Broncos: Wed., Aug. 12
Chiefs: Thurs., Aug. 20
Training camp index

It's all about making the Chiefs -- who have won a total of six games the past two years -- "hard to beat," Haley said.

"I think this camp had to be tough," Haley said Wednesday. "We need a mental toughness .... I've been on teams that have turned it around and each of those teams needed to get tougher."

In the offseason, Haley stressed conditioning and made his team lose weight. Then, he held a conditioning test before the start of camp. Several well-known players didn't pass, thus delaying their camp starting date. Camp practices in this idyllic Wisconsin college town have been long and hard-hitting.

Haley is often heard barking his displeasure at his team and often his media briefings smack of an unsatisfied coach.

Further getting everyone's attention, Haley broke down standout receiver Dwayne Bowe. The team's best receiver was made a third stringer. But the tough love has worked. Bowe has responded and it's been a lesson learned for the entire team.

Haley knows he has a lot of work to do with this team. The Chiefs are being reconstructed. Haley knows it's not going to be easy, but he's bent on making it work.

"I've seen good progress," Haley said. "This team is much tougher than it was a few months ago. But we have to keep on improving."

(Read full post)

Chiefs sign WR Lelie

August, 17, 2009
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Posted by ESPN.com's Bill Williamson

The Chiefs are apparently still looking for the right mix at receiver.

Kansas City signed receiver Ashley Lelie on Monday. The speedster will compete for a backup role. This is his third stop in the AFC West. He previously played with Denver and Oakland.

Two weeks ago, Kansas City signed veteran receiver Amani Toomer. Both veterans could be in the rotation during the regular season.

You pick it responses

August, 14, 2009
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Posted by ESPN.com's Bill Williamson

The Raiders' trade of holdout defensive end Derrick Burgess is the winner of our "You pick it" feature for the story of the week in the AFC West.

The other candidates were the signing of holdout top picks Tyson Jackson and Knowshon Moreno in Kansas City and Denver, respectively, and the Chiefs signing veteran receiver Amani Toomer.

While I know Raider Nation is excited about getting a couple of draft picks for Burgess (it was a good deal by Oakland), I think the story of the week is the Jackson and Moreno signings.

Burgess was not in Oakland's plans anymore. Both Jackson and Moreno are going to play key roles for their new teams. I think their signings were huge. But, again, this is your pick, not mine, so the Burgess story is the winner.

Here are some of your responses:

Gabriel Murillo from Kansas City, Kan.: It would have to Derrick Burgess gettin traded to the Patriots. The last time the Raiders traded a Pro Bowl player to the Pats he broke the all-time TD record. Some no name reciver named Randy Moss. So Burgess is most likely goin to have a breakout year. Maybe comeback player of the year.

Parker from Spokane, Wash.: I gotta go with the Burgess trade for this weeks pick it. Yes, the rookies getting signed is important but that was going to happen anyway, neither was a holdout prospect. Toomer is also tempting but there is a reason he was still an FA, he wont have a large or a long term impact. But the Raiders getting a 3rd and a 5th, not to mention from the Pats, for a player who wasn't likely to ever play a down for them again is a very big deal. The Raiders have had some trouble getting good production out of 1st round picks this decade but they have quite a few gems in the middle rounds the past few years. These two picks could represent one or two more players such as Morrison and Scott, not all-pros but very solid players, and could be play a part in the Raiders getting back on top. The draft is a long way off but this trade will have the most long term impact in the division of anything this week.

Juan Jorge from Santa Rosa: Burgess has held out of training camp and the reason? More money, you not mess with al davies for 1 for 2 you dont ask for money when the past two seasons you have had injury prone seasons last season he had 3.5 sacks and the year before 8, tom cable wants guys who are a part of the team and not only interested in themselves like derrick burgess, i loved burgess and wanted him and ellis to be a tandem but if you dont want to play for the raiders then get out! Luckily Tom cable probally convinced Al to trade him or else Al would have let burgess sit the pine all year!

Byron from Boulder, Colo.: I'd say rookie signings are huge. Being a Raider fan, I know what its like to not sign you 1st round pick. This is something that needed to get done sooner before later. Those guys need to get in camp.

You pick it: AFC West storylines

August, 12, 2009
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Posted by ESPN.com's Bill Williamson

The candidates are:

Chiefs sign Toomer: To add leadership, Kansas City signed former New York Giants standout receiver Amani Toomer.

Burgess traded: Oakland traded Derrick Burgess, a holdout pass rusher, to New England for two future draft picks.

Rookies are in: Kansas City and Denver top picks Tyson Jackson and Knowshon Moreno, respectively, ended their week-long holdouts by signing their contracts.

Hit my mailbag with your story of the week and why. I will post some of your answers later in the week.

Around the AFC West

August, 8, 2009
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Posted by ESPN.com's Bill Williamson

Denver

Andre Goodman is tearing it up in Denver.

My take: If Goodman, signed as a free agent from Miami, can play well in the regular season, it will be a huge benefit for Denver. The Broncos will get excellent play from left cornerback Champ Bailey. That's a given. If Goodman performs well, Denver's pass defense could be decent.

Kansas City

Amani Toomer is putting in work.

My take: Toomer is a leader. Expect to hear more stories like this. This is a reason why Kansas City signed Toomer, who will be 35. The Chiefs need experience and Toomer provides that.

Oakland

The Raiders' hit the training camp wall.

My take: This is no big deal. Every team hits the wall and get a little sloppy during the dog days of camp. They will work through it.

San Diego

Shawne Merriman is motivated by the presence of Larry English.

My take: Many people believe the Chargers drafted English in the first round to eventually take over for Merriman should he walk through free agency. That very well may be. You can't blame the Chargers for being forward-thinking. But right now, I think this pairing can work. San Diego's excited about using both Merriman and English at the same time. If Merriman gets better by the presence of English, then everyone benefits.

Posted by ESPN.com's Bill Williamson

When I departed San Diego on Tuesday morning, the word was still that the Kansas City Chiefs were getting close to signing veteran receiver Amani Toomer.

Upon the conclusion of my trip, the word was that Toomer has signed with the Chiefs. The Chiefs selected the former New York Giants receiver after working out three veterans Monday.

Toomer will be 35 next month. I know a lot of people think that he is way past his prime. But I stand my analysis of this pairing. Toomer will bring leadership to the offense and I think he still has a few key catches in him. This is a decent, low-risk move by the Chiefs.

Sources: Chiefs may sign Toomer

August, 3, 2009
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Posted by ESPN.com's Bill Williamson

The Kansas City Chiefs are leaning toward signing veteran receiver Amani Toomer, according to two NFL sources.

Toomer could be signed as soon as Tuesday if the Chiefs follow through their current thinking, the sources said. Toomer was one of three veteran receivers Kansas City worked out Monday as their early training-camp work showed the team they may need more help for new quarterback Matt Cassel.

Kansas City also looked at receivers D.J. Hackett and David Terrell. Toomer is the most accomplished of the three. Despite the fact that he will turn 35 next month, Toomer can still be productive. He had 48 catches for the Giants last season, which was his 13th with the club.

Adding Toomer would be similar to what the Chiefs are doing on defense: Loading up on veteran leadership. With the core of the Kansas City roster on the young side, new general manager Scott Pioli and head coach Todd Haley, are adding leadership at key spots. The team has added linebackers Zach Thomas and Mike Vrabel and safety Mike Brown. All three players are known leaders.

Earlier this offseason, the Chiefs signed veteran receiver Bobby Engram. Toomer would likely play a similar role and give Cassel another steady hand to play with. Toomer is not going to burn teams with his speed, but he will come up with some solid plays and he can help this team take the next step.

He has a reputation as being a leader who helps young players. He has 668 career catches and a Super Bowl ring to show his young teammates if he ends up in Kansas City. He is less than two years removed from winning a Super Bowl (over Pioli's Patriots). That type of veteran experience can only help.

If the Chiefs get this deal done, it won't make them an instant playoff contender. But it will be another positive step made by the new regime.

AFC West mailbag

April, 4, 2009
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Posted by ESPN.com's Bill Williamson

Weekend mail call:

Jake from Sacramento: Bill, I cannot, for the life of me, figure out why Oakland is not trying to sign a veteran receiver like Torry Holt or even Amani Toomer when they have an absolutely glaring need. Russell will never have the opportunity to succeed when he is throwing to bums like Higgins, Schillens, and Walker. The same can be said for McFadden if teams are unconcerned with the Oakland passing game as they very well should be. I'm not sure a WR draft pick is the right move either, after all, its not like Calvin Johnson is in the draft and ready to jump right into the fold. But even if they draft a WR, that would compliment Holt nicely and turn around their wideout situation immediately, right?

BW: I thought Oakland would go after a veteran as well. There is still time. Amani Toomer would be a nice fit even if the Raiders draft a receiver in the early rounds, which I believe, will be the case.


Zac from Oswego, KS: Hey Bill, Read the blog all the time. I'm a huge KC Fan and was wondering, could the chiefs trade down in the draft to get a 5-10 pick and maybe a late round Cassel?? Wow what an offense!!!! Thanks for the time, and I LOVE YOUR BLOG, Keep writing.

BW: Thanks, Zac. I could see Kansas City moving down. The Chiefs need a lot of help and they can get some nice picks by trading the No. 3 pick. But if they want Crabtree, they better not wait too long. He will be a top 7 pick, I think. And, yes, he would look good in that offense.


devin from Aztec, NM: What do you think the chances are that Denver goes for Mark Sanchez in the draft? It would give them a shot to start with a new QB and he seems to know his stuff.

BW: Really, I think Sanchez is a great fit and if he is there at No. 12, Denver should take him. But I think Josh McDaniels would rather take his chances this year with Kyle Orton and Chris Simms and draft a quarterback in the late rounds to develop. That has been the New England way and it is clear McDaniels lives by the New England way.


Maynard from Florida: hey i love how you feature the raiders.im a huge fan what is the possibility of the raiders getting Ramses Barden with our second round pick?

BW: Yes, I think the Raiders love this kid. But if Oakland takes a receiver in the first round (which I believe they will do) I don't think Oakland will take a receiver in the second round as well.


Chris from Chicago, IL: Bill, I've seen reports that Denver is working out Pat White. What are the chances of grabbing him in the second/third rounds? Could he fit there as a third or fourth receiver and run a little QB in situations?

BW: Yes, Denver looking at White. I think he is a third rounder. He is an interesting prospect who can help out in a lot of different areas.


John from Shingle Springs, CA: What do you think it would cost the Chargers to get Peters from the Bills? If they were able to do so, I see Peters being the LT and McNeill moving to RT. What do you think about this?

BW: Jason Peters will cost a lot. Buffalo wants a ton in return for him. It would cost San Diego, at least, its No. 16 pick in the draft. I don't think it'd be worth it. The Chargers should use their resources on defense or on a top offensive player who falls in the draft.

AFC West news and notes

March, 22, 2009
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Posted by ESPN.com's Bill Williamson

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell made it clear he is staying out of the Jay Cutler-Denver Broncos rift. Goodell entered the Brett Favre fray last year, but he'll stay out the Cutler mix which is sure to be one of the hottest stories at the NFL owners' meeting this week.

Here is a Denver columnist who strongly suggests Cutler's agent, Bus Cook (who is Favre's agent as well), is the root of the problem and that the quarterback should fire Cook. Yes, this saga gets more interesting every day.

Here's an Oakland columnist who thinks the young Raiders should sign savvy veterans Derrick Brooks and Amani Toomer. These two Super Bowl ring owners are among the classiest men in football, and they surely would help a young locker room that is trying to find its way. Still, it's unknown if either Brooks or Toomer would be interested in a reclamation project.

Here is a report saying USC quarterback Mark Sanchez will meet with Washington. This is interesting because it shows the Redskins are at least thinking about quarterbacks. Last week, they denied they are interested in Cutler.

Cutler's new backup, Chris Simms, has entered a strange situation. If things get worse in this saga, Simms could conceivably find himself as a starting NFL quarterback.

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