AFC West: Devard Darling

Last week, at the NFL combine, Kansas City general manager Scott Pioli indicated that the Chiefs will consider being active in free agency.

They definitely have financial room to add to the roster. Kansas City’s current payroll is $41 million after it cut receiver Devard Darling, who was set to make $2 million. It is the lowest payroll in the NFL. When Arizona cuts safety Antrel Rolle this week, its payroll will be in the $47 million range.

Quarterback Matt Cassel accounts for more than a quarter of Kansas City’s current payroll. He is set to make more than $11 million this season. Only eight players make more than $1 million.

It remains to be seen if Kansas City spends a lot of money in free agency, but it is clear it can absorb more payroll.
The Kansas City Chiefs continue to shed players from the Carl Peterson regime.

Kansas City cut receiver Devard Darling and running back/returner Dantrell Savage on Wednesday. Both Darling and Savage were role players.

Darling was on injured reserve all of last season. He joined the team in 2008.

Savage had 34 kickoff returns for 793 yards in two seasons in Kansas City. He was brought in as an undrafted free agent in 2008. He also rushed for 98 yards on 25 carries. The previous regime thought Savage had a future as a return man, but he never really developed.

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.

Breaking down the Chiefs' game

August, 30, 2009
8/30/09
11:18
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Posted by ESPN.com's Bill Williamson

A look at the Chiefs' 14-10 loss to visiting Seattle:

The Chiefs didn't say what Matt Cassel's injury was other than he has a leg injury. It's believed that Cassel has a knee injury that is not overly serious. He departed after being sacked on the third play of the game and he did not return. The Chiefs are expected to next address Cassel's situation Monday. The Chiefs start the season in 14 days at Baltimore.

Cassel was brought to Kansas City for stability at the position after the Chiefs saw two quarterbacks do down with injuries last season.

Cassel's injury Saturday night was another indication of how the team needs much better offensive line play. This unit is a liability, and Cassel, when he returns, is going to have to deal with playing under constant pressure.

The Chiefs have to find a way to protect the quarterback better or the injuries are going to pile up.

With Tyler Thigpen replacing Cassel, it makes you wonder if the team will still consider trading him if Cassel is going to miss any time.

Matt Gutierrez, who is competing with Thigpen to be the No. 3 quarterback, completed 10 of 13 passes. Brodie Croyle didn't play Saturday night because the Chiefs wanted to get Thigpen and Gutierrez more playing time, but Croyle still appears to be the choice as the No. 2 quarterback.

The Chiefs were terrible on third down, converting just 1 of 10 opportunities.

Top pick Tyson Jackson was terrific and showed his play-making ability.

Newly signed receiver Ashley Lelie showed a spark and he had 52 yards on four catches. Lelie has some ability and the Chiefs need receivers, so he may have a chance of making an impact.

In addition to Cassel, standout cornerback Brandon Flowers and receiver Devard Darling were injured. There injuries are not known.

Rookie kicker Ryan Succop has been good, but he missed a 27-yard field goal Saturday night.

AFC West injury update

December, 12, 2008
12/12/08
5:18
PM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Bill Williamson

Here is a Friday injury report on the Broncos, Chiefs and Chargers:

In Denver, star cornerback Champ Bailey will test his groin injury, which has kept him out of the past six games, Sunday prior to the Broncos' game at Carolina. He was limited in practice all week. He is listed as questionable on the injury report.

Weakside linebacker D.J. Williams appears to be on his way to playing after starting the past five games with a knee injury. He practiced fully all week and he is listed as probable. Receiver Brandon Stokley is questionable with a foot injury he suffered last week against Kansas City. If Stokley doesn't play, Darrell Jackson and Chad Jackson will get more playing time.

In Kansas City, receiver Mark Bradley is questionable with a calf injury that kept him out of the Denver game. He was limited in his participation all week. Devard Darling replaced him against the Broncos. Center Rudy Niswanger (knee), cornerback Maurice Leggett (shoulder) and linebacker Donnie Edwards (knee) are also all questionable to face visiting San Diego on Sunday.

In San Diego, safety Clinton Hart and fullback Mike Tolbert are listed as doubtful to play at Kansas City, They both have shoulder injuries. Steve Gregory is set to play for Hart and Jacob Hester is set to play for Tolbert for the third straight game. Linebacker Jyles Tucker is probable and he practiced fully Friday after being limited with a hamstring injury Thursday.

Pre-game notes from Denver

December, 7, 2008
12/07/08
4:02
PM ET

him.Posted by ESPN.com's Bill Williamson

DENVER -- Here are some pre-game notes prior to the Chiefs'-Broncos game:

Denver star left cornerback Champ Bailey is inactive for his sixth straight game. Bailey tore his hamstring Oct. 20 against New England. Undrafted rookie Josh Bell will start for Bailey.

Linebacker D.J. Williams is out for a fifth game with a knee injury. Undrafted rookie Wesley Woodyard will start for Williams.

Middle linebacker Nate Webster is back after missing three games with a knee injury.

Rookie Spencer Larsen will start at fullback. He was playing for Webster at middle linebacker.

Kansas City receiver Mark Bradley is out. Devard Darling is starting.

This will be Kansas City's Derrick Johnson's first game at middle linebacker since being moved from outside linebacker. Rocky Boiman takes Johnson's place on the outside.

Denver is wearing its orange jerseys for the second time this season and second time since 2004.

Here is an interesting quote from Tom Jackson on ESPN's Sunday NFL Countdown: "The Broncos are doing a pretty good Jekyll and Hyde act this season, but the tip is to watch Peyton Hillis. ... If they can find a guy who can run the ball downhill, this team has a chance to go deep in the playoffs with the passing of Jay Cutler - Elway-like if you will."

Posted by ESPN.com's Bill Williamson

I just arrived in San Diego and wanted to give an update on some injury news as game time approaches in the AFC West.

In Kansas City, the Chiefs have ruled out three players. The biggest problem will be at receiver because the Chiefs now have just three healthy receivers: Dwayne Bowe, Devard Darling and Jeff Webb.

In Oakland, it looks like Javon Walker will get his chance for revenge Monday night against Denver, the team that cut him this winter. Walker worked Saturday after being hobbled by a hamstring injury this week. Walker has had a tough start to his Oakland career so it will be interesting to see how he does in his first game as a Raider.

The NFL, Bahamas style

July, 7, 2008
7/07/08
2:16
PM ET
Devard Darling
Darling
Posted by ESPN.com's Bill Williamson

Chiefs receiver Devard Darling is doing a great thing. He is bringing football to the Caribbean.

Darling's football camp in the Bahamas for the children begins today. It will be chock full of NFL players, eager to introduce the game to kids who otherwise would not get a chance to be around the NFL game and its players.

Darling, a native of Nassau, Bahamas, and the other participating players receive a strong dose of kudos for being part of this camp. But then again, they all get to spend a week in the Bahamas. It is a good deal for everyone involved.

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