AFC West: Patrick Surtain

Posted by's Bill Williamson

Of the Chiefs' four player moves Tuesday the most interesting one came with the decision to cut a lesser known player.

The Chiefs cut tight end Michael Merritt, along with cornerback Patrick Surtain, linebacker Donnie Edwards and backup quarterback Damon Huard. Merritt was a seventh-round pick last year.

Yes, Merritt was far from well known in Kansas City. But his release was significant because it showed the new regime in Kansas City is not going to take kindly to players who have off-field issues.

Merritt was arrested on marijuana charges last month in Florida. Now, he is a former Chief. Let's not get ahead of ourselves, Merritt wasn't expected to be a major impact player for Kansas City in 2009 and he was a low-pay, second-year player.

But a message was sent by the Scott Pioli regime. Troubled players will be dealt with severely.
The releases of Surtain, Edwards and Huard were all expected. All of the players were fairly high priced and they all appeared past their prime. They had little future in Kansas City. At least, Merritt was young. But he is now out the door.

Meanwhile, with the high profile cuts, Kansas City received about $14 million in salary cap relief and is now about $44 million under the salary cap as free agency approaches Friday.
The next player to go could be another player with off-field baggage: Running back Larry Johnson. He is expected to be traded or cut soon.

Chiefs begin roster movement

February, 24, 2009

Posted by's Bill Williamson

The Kansas City Chiefs were quiet this offseason as far as player moment went. Until Tuesday.

In a move that was expected, Kansas City cut cornerback Patrick Surtain. His release is no surprise at all because of his age -- he is 32 -- and his high price tag. The Chiefs saved about $6.2 million by cutting Surtain. Of course, Kansas City didn't need the relief. It has about $37 million in salary-cap space and will be able to do whatever it wants once free agency begins Friday. If the Chiefs are going to be active in free agency, expect defense and perhaps the offensive line to be areas of concentration.

Surtain's release also makes the young Chiefs even greener. The Chiefs have just eight players older than 30 on their roster. Two of them, linebacker Donnie Edwards and backup quarterback Damon Huard, could also soon get cut.

While the Chiefs have great needs on defense, they are pleased with their young cornerbacks, which also played a role in Surtain getting released. The team drafted Brandon Flowers in the second round and Brandon Carr in the fifth round last year. Both rookie cornerbacks played well in 2008, and the team is excited about the Flowers-Carr combination for the long term.

With player movement under the way in Kansas City, we now await to see what the team does with running back Larry Johnson and tight end Tony Gonzalez.

Kansas City free agency primer

February, 24, 2009

Posted by's Bill Williamson

Kansas City Chiefs

Salary Cap situation: The Chiefs are swimming in salary cap room. They have in the neighborhood of $40 million in cap room and could clear some more with the release of some veteran players such as Patrick Surtain, Donnie Edwards, and Damon Huard in the coming days.

Needs: Defensive end, Linebacker, safety, quarterback, offensive line.

Possible targets: Tennessee defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth; Dallas defensive end Chris Canty; Baltimore center Jason Brown.

Biggest possible departures: Center Rudy Niswanger (restricted); safety Jarrad Page (restricted).

How active will they be?: The Chiefs will be interesting to watch. They could pull the trigger on a big-ticket item or try to trade for New England quarterback Matt Cassel. At the very least, Kansas City will try to upgrade its defense with a few signings.

Kansas City salary cap glance

February, 16, 2009

Posted by's Bill Williamson

Kansas City Chiefs

Most recent salary cap availability: $31.7 million.

How can they get more cap room: New Kansas City general manager Scott Pioli will have mad money to play with as he begins his era and tries to turn around the fortunes of the Chiefs, who have won a total of six games the past two seasons. By chopping some veterans the Chiefs will gain even more cap room and they should be able to as much as any team in the league. But again, cap and cash are two different things so Kansas City ownership may not necessarily spend big money. Expect the Chiefs to try to fill several needs in free agency, beginning perhaps at linebacker with Arizona's Karlos Dansby. The Chiefs can get more cap room by whacking cornerback Patrick Surtain, linebacker Donnie Edwards and backup quarterback Damon Huard. Running back Larry Johnson will likely either be cut or traded but the Chiefs won't gain financially by that move. If tight end Tony Gonzalez is traded, more space could be made for the team swimming in cap room.

Biggest free agency needs: Defensive end, linebacker, offensive line, quarterback.

Dream date: Carolina defensive end Julius Peppers.

Posted by's Bill Williamson

Here is the injury report from the Broncos and Chiefs. The two teams meet in Denver on Sunday:

In Denver, cornerback Champ Bailey and linebacker D.J. Williams did not make any progress Friday. Williams is listed as doubtful to play against the Chiefs. He has missed four games. Bailey is listed as questionable on the injury report. He has missed five games.

Linebacker Nate Webster is expected to play. He has missed the past three games with a knee injury. Defensive end Ebenezer Ekuban (back), safety Marlon McCree (ankle) and fullback/linebacker Spencer Larsen (hip) are all questionable.

In Kansas City, the Chiefs will be without receiver Mark Bradley. He has been outstanding since being signed earlier in the season. But Bradley appeared on the injury participation list with a calf injury Thursday. He didn't practice Thursday or Friday and he was ruled out Friday for the game. Bradley practiced on Wednesday.

Linebacker Donnie Edwards (hamstring, knee) and Patrick Surtain (quadriceps) are both out as well. Linebacker Pat Thomas (hamstring) and guard Adrian Jones (ankle) are questionable.

Chiefs, Broncos injury update

December, 3, 2008

Posted by's Bill Williamson

Here is a Chiefs and Broncos injury report:

In Denver, defensive end Ebenezer Ekuban did not practice with a back injury. He was injured against the Jets on Sunday.

For the fourth straight week, cornerback Champ Bailey was limited in participation. Earlier this week, he said he will play Sunday against the Chiefs.

However, Denver did get some positive news as linebackers D.J. Williams and Nate Webster practiced fully for the first time since each suffered a knee injury. Williams has missed four games and Webster has missed three games. Their return is no sure thing, but the fact that both practiced fully is a good sign that the linebackers will be ready to play Sunday against visiting Kansas City. Backup running back Selvin Young also practiced fully for the first time since injuring his groin nine weeks ago.

In Kansas City, linebacker Donnie Edwards and cornerback Patrick Surtain, who have both been dealing with extended injuries, did not practice. Edwards has hamstring and knee issues and Surtain had a quadriceps injury. Defensive end Tamba Hail (ankle) and linebacker Pat Thomas (hamstring) were both limited in practice.

AFC West injury report

November, 6, 2008

Posted by's Bill Williamson

Kansas City
  • Linebacker Derrick Johnson looks like he will not play on Sunday at San Diego unless he has an unexpected turnaround. He missed his second straight day of practice with a thigh injury that caused him to leave Sunday's loss to Tampa Bay.
  • Safety Jarrad Page (groin) and cornerback Patrick Surtain (quad) also did not practice Wednesday or Thursday.
  • Defensive and Turk McBride was limited Thursday with a shoulder injury.
  • Punter Dustin Colquitt and cornerback Brandon Flowers practiced fully on Thursday.


  • Safety Michael Huff didn't practice because of a hip injury.
  • Running back Darren McFadden was limited in practice for the second straight day. He has missed the last two games with turf toe injuries on both feet. It looks like McFadden has a chance to play Sunday against the Carolina Panthers.
  • Quarterback JaMarcus Russell missed the end of practice Thursday with a knee injury. It's not believed to be serious.
  • Safety Gibril Wilson was back at practice Thursday. He has been dealing with a groin injury.

San Diego

  • Receiver Chris Chambers and cornerback Antonio Cromartie practiced on a limited basis Thursday after they both did not practice Wednesday. Chambers has been dealing with an ankle injury and Cromartie has a nagging hip injury.

AFC West injury report

November, 5, 2008

Posted by's Bill Williamson

Here is an injury update from Kansas City, Oakland and San Diego:

Kansas City
Linebacker Derrick Johnson did not practice with a thigh injury that knocked him out of the loss to Tampa Bay on Sunday. There appears to be a possibility Johnson does not play at San Diego on Sunday.

Safety Jarrad Page (groin) and cornerback Patrick Surtain (quad) didn't practice, either. The Chiefs signed two cornerbacks, Ricardo Colclough and David Macklin on Wednesday, so Surtain could be out a while. Punter Dustin Colquitt (groin) and cornerback Brandon Flowers (head) were practicing fully Wednesday.

Rookie running back Darren McFadden was on the practice field. He was practicing on a limited basis but after missing the past two games, it is a good sign that McFadden is, at least, getting some work in. He has turf toe injuries on both feet. Defensive end Derrick Burgess did not practice. He has missed four straight games with a triceps injury. Safety Gibril Wilson has a groin injury and he did not practice, either.

San Diego
Receiver Chris Chambers (ankle) and Antonio Cromartie (hip) both did not practice. Both players have been hampered by these injuries for several weeks. It is not a good sign that they are still being hobbled, even after the bye. This will be a situation to monitor the rest of the week.

Chiefs add to the roster

November, 5, 2008

Posted by's Bill Williamson

The Chiefs are busy Wednesday as they prepare to face San Diego on Sunday. The Chiefs made several roster moves, including the addition veteran cornerbacks Ricardo Colclough and David Macklin.

Both players bring valuable NFL experience to one of the young Chiefs' greenest areas. Macklin is an eight-year veteran who has played in 116 games for three teams. He was cut by St. Louis this summer. Colclough was a second-round pick of Pittsburgh in 2004.He has played in 36 games, most recently with Cleveland last season. He was cut by Carolina this summer.

Colclough and Macklin could potentially play at San Diego because of injuries to Brandon Flowers and Patrick Surtain.

Kansas City also signed defensive end Wallace Gilberry. The former Alabama star was on the New York Giants' practice squad. The Chiefs also signed running back Omar Cuff to the practice squad. The former Delaware standout was previously with Tennessee as an undrafted free agent.

AFC West injury report

September, 26, 2008

Posted by's Bill Williamson

Here's a look at the injury situation in the AFC West heading into Sunday's games:


Defensive tackle DeWayne Robertson practiced on a limited basis today after practicing fully Thursday and after not practicing at all Wednesday because of a nagging knee injury. He is listed as questionable on the injury report to play Sunday at Kansas City. He is expected to play.

Receiver Darrell Jackson, who is set to miss his third straight game with a calf injury, is expected to start practicing next week.

Kansas City:

Cornerback Patrick Surtain is out against the Broncos with a shoulder injury.

Defensive end Tamba Hali was limited in practice today for this first time this week with a knee injury. He is listed as probable on the injury report.

Kick returner B.J. Sams is questionable with a hamstring injury. He was limited in practice today after practicing fully Thursday and Wednesday.


Running back Justin Fargas (groin) will miss his second straight game, Sunday against visiting San Diego, as expected. He is expected to be back Oct. 12 at New Orleans when the Raiders return from their bye week. Newly signed tight end Ben Troupe is out with a foot injury.

Guard Cooper Carlisle (ankle) and defensive tackle Gerard Warren (pectoral) are both doubtful. Both players worked on a limited basis today after not working earlier in the week. It would be a surprise if either player plays Sunday.

Cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha has a fracture in his elbow but he will try to play Sunday. This could be a situation to watch in future weeks. Asomugha is one of the better cornerbacks in the league. If Oakland loses him it would be a huge factor.

Pass rusher Derrick Burgess is questionable with a tricep injury. He has been practicing the past two days on a limited basis.

Running back Darren McFadden has been limited with a turf toe. The team believes McFadden, who will start in Fargas' absence, could be hampered for a few weeks with the injury. All of these injuries could make Oakland's chances of beating San Diego quite daunting.

San Diego:

Center Nick Hardwick is listed as questionable to make his 2008 debut. He has practiced fully all week and he is expected to try to play for the first time since an off-season foot injury. Overall, the Chargers are as healthy as they have been since last season.

Running back LaDainian Tomlinson (turf toe) and tight end Antonio Gates (hip and big toe) both practiced fully Thursday and today after not working Wednesday. Both players are listed as probable on the injury report.

AFC West mailbag

September, 10, 2008

Posted by's Bill Williamson

Mail call ...

Forbes from NYC: Bill - I am curious why most commentators are refusing to take the Broncos seriously. Granted the Raiders looked shabby on Monday, but the Broncos play calling and execution would have shredded any secondary. Also with the problems the Chargers have been having the Broncos should seriously be considered as a strong bet to win the AFC West. Forbes

BW: I didn't hear the telecast because I was there. It is difficult for me to understand why anyone wouldn't praise Denver for that performance. It was dominant on both sides of the ball. I heard a lot of people saying that Oakland was too terrible to give Denver praise. But any time a team wins by 27 points they are doing something right.

Ray from Oakland: Do you think it will be possible for the Raiders to have a bounce back week against the Chiefs ?

BW: Sure I do, Ray. The season is not lost for Oakland. They were just blindsided. Granted, it was a terrible start and it makes you wonder if the Raiders are ready to compete. But Kansas City is young and is not starting its first-string quarterback. The Raiders have a chance. Let's put it this way: If Oakland is hammered in Kansas City then it is time to worry.

Freddy from San Diego: There's been a lot of talk about Merrimans knee and how his health will be a big factor in San Diego's defensive productivity, but is it possible that the 4 game suspension of Stephen Cooper is harming the bolts defensive unit way more then anything?

BW: It's an interesting point. With Merriman now out for the year, the team will be missing two starting linebackers for the next three weeks. That will hurt. But Cooper will be back soon. He is an underrated player and his presence will be big for San Diego.

Chartguy from Nederland. Co: Is Jarvis Moss another first-round bust for the Broncos? I don't believe he even played last night.

BW: Moss did not play Monday night. He was healthy and he was inactive. That is a terrible sign for the No. 17 overall pick in the 2007 draft. It is too early to call Moss a bust but the team was expecting a lot from him this year after he was injured much of last season. But he has started slow. There will be some better matchups for Moss and he will be active for some games. But the No. 17 overall pick should be a good matchup for every team.

Lawrence from San Jose: With the addition of DeAngelo Hall and Gibril Wilson, the Raiders secondary was supposed to be good enough that they could use the blitz to get a pass rush. The Raiders had absolutely no pass rush against the Broncos. Is Ryan not applying enough pressure, or are the Raiders just not talented enough on defense?

BW: No, the Raiders didn't blitz much but the Denver offensive line was dominant. This is an area Oakland must improve on soon or the season could get away from this defense.

Rick from KC: BW, in light of the petrified rock in Pat Surtain, who got torched twice at Foxboro, by second stringer Cassell will the Chiefs look for some serious DB help?

BW: Probably not but expect an expanded role for fifth-round pick Brandon Carr very soon.

Tony from San Diego: Hey Bill, I sent this last week and will ask again. Is John Lynch still unsigned? If so do you think he would be a good fit in San Diego? We have young safety's and I'm not sure he would want to back up a 2nd year safety but could possibly start if Weddell struggles. We could use his leadership back there for our playoff run.

BW: Yes, he is still unsigned. Many folks thought he'd sign back with New England or maybe go to the Jets. So far, though, Lynch remains on the street and he could announce his retirement. San Diego has not shown any interest in Lynch in recent weeks.

Thanks and keep them coming.

Chiefs name their captains

September, 4, 2008

Posted by's Bill Williamson

The Chiefs just named their captains for the 2008 season.

Pro Bowl guard Brian Waters will captain the offense. Cornerback Patrick Surtain and linebacker Pat Thomas will lead the defense and Jon McGraw will captain the special teams.

With Kansas City being such a young team, these veteran choices are no surprise. The only mild surprise is the election of Thomas. He won the starting middle linebacker job this training camp after joining the team last October. But Thomas is such an important piece for Kansas City he quickly emerged as a leader and now he has been rewarded for it.