Kansas City Chiefs: Thomas Gafford

Kansas City Chiefs Preseason Live

July, 24, 2014
Jul 24
4:00
PM ET
Welcome to Kansas City Chiefs training camp! ESPN.com reporter Adam Teicher has live updates and the latest news from St. Joseph, Missouri.
Here’s a breakdown of the Kansas City Chiefs’ salary-cap picture on defense and special teams. In an earlier post I broke down their salary-cap situation on offense.

Defensive ends

Salary-cap commitments: $6,649,267

Percent of Chiefs’ total cap: 5.1

NFL average: $12,840,629

Chiefs rank on DE spending: 25th among 32 teams

Analysis: The Chiefs are spending only about half of the league average on these positions. For purposes of this discussion, Mike DeVito is labelled as an end because he’s basically a run defender who comes out of the game on passing downs. He makes up most of the Chiefs’ cap spending at this spot with a figure of $4.9 million.

Defensive tackles

Salary-cap commitments: $5,407,274

Percent of Chiefs’ total cap: 4.2

NFL average: $8,979,256

Chiefs rank on DT spending: 22nd among 32 teams

Analysis: The Chiefs are again well below the league average here (about 40 percent below) and that’s counting not only Dontari Poe but Vance Walker as tackles. Poe is still playing under his rookie contract and has a cap number of $3,087,274. That’s only 27th highest among NFL defensive tackles.

Linebackers

Salary-cap commitments: $23,066,768

Percent of Chiefs’ total cap: 17.8

NFL average: $15,526,469

Chiefs rank on LB spending: 5th among 32 teams

Analysis: The Chiefs spend more than 50 percent beyond the league average at linebacker, but they’re getting their money’s worth. Outside linebackers Tamba Hali and Justin Houston and Derrick Johnson on the inside are each working on a string of at least two consecutive Pro Bowl appearances. Hali alone accounts for about half ($11,464,706)of the Chiefs’ cap commitments at this position. Johnson ($4,550,000) and Houston ($1,598,812) are bargains.

Cornerbacks

Salary-cap commitments: $19,886,878

Percent of Chiefs’ total cap: 15.4

NFL average: $12,150,127

Chiefs rank on CB spending: 3rd among 32 teams

Analysis: The Chiefs spend about 67 percent more for their cornerbacks than the NFL average. One starter, Brandon Flowers, has the third-highest salary-cap number for an NFL cornerback ($10,500,000) while the other, Sean Smith, is 16th ($5,750,000). No other Chiefs cornerback has a cap figure above $1 million.

Safeties

Salary-cap commitments: $13,319,700

Percent of Chiefs’ total cap: 10.3

NFL average: $8,333,907

Chiefs rank on safety spending: 6th among 32 teams

Analysis: The Chiefs spend about 67 percent more than the league average at this position, mainly because of Eric Berry and his cap number of $11,619,700. Berry was drafted fifth overall in 2010, the last year before the NFL overhauled rookie contracts, so he’s benefitting from the huge deal he signed then. Berry has the highest salary-cap number for a safety and the only one over $10.1 million.

Kicker

Salary-cap commitments: $2,708,750

Percent of Chiefs’ total cap: 2.1

NFL average: $1,864,515

Chiefs rank on kicker spending: 8th among 32 teams

Analysis: The Chiefs have about 47 percent more committed to Ryan Succop than the average NFL team does to its kicker.

Punter

Salary-cap commitments: $3,800,000

Percent of Chiefs’ total cap: 2.9

NFL average: $1,706,906

Chiefs rank on punter spending: 2nd among 32 teams

Analysis: Here’s another sign the Chiefs value their kicking specialists more than some other teams. Re-signing Dustin Colquitt to a new contract was a priority for general manager John Dorsey and coach Andy Reid when they were hired last year. His cap number is more than twice that of the average NFL punter.

Long-snapper

Salary-cap commitments: $595,000

Percent of Chiefs’ total cap: .5

NFL average: $838,863

Chiefs rank on LS spending: 23rd among 32 teams

Analysis: The Chiefssigned Thomas Gafford to his second straight one-year contract worth the NFL minimum.

Chiefs start work in free agency

February, 6, 2014
Feb 6
11:00
AM ET
KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- The Kansas City Chiefs got started in re-signing their own potential free agents Thursday after reaching a deal with veteran long-snapper Thomas Gafford. He signed as he did last season for the one-year veteran minimum, which is $730,000. The contract also includes $25,000 worth of bonuses but he will count only $595,000 against the Chiefs' salary cap.

The Chiefs brought in competition for Gafford last year in the offseason but he survived and responded with a solid season. Gafford isn't the key to the Chiefs' special-teams success but he is a part of it. That's why re-signing him for the 2014 season was a good move.
KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- The Kansas City Chiefs made big improvement on special teams last season but could lose some key components to free agency.

Roster: Key contributors include kicker Ryan Succop, punter Dustin Colquitt, long snapper Thomas Gafford, punt returner Dexter McCluster, kickoff returners Knile Davis and Quintin Demps and blockers/coverage players Akeem Jordan, Anthony Sherman and Husain Abdullah.

Potential 2014 free agents among these players: Gafford, McCluster, Demps, Jordan and Abdullah.

The position: The Chiefs had one of the best special teams in the league last season. They scored five touchdowns, allowed none and set an NFL record for kickoff return average. That's threatened by the possible loss of McCluster and Demps. The decision whether to re-sign them is complicated by their roles on offense or defense. McCluster doesn't produce enough as a receiver to demand a big contract, so the Chiefs shouldn't give him one. While he did a nice job as a punt returner, he benefited from some great blocking at times. The Chiefs can find another returner who can do what McCluster does, though that won't necessarily be easy. Demps is a backup and if he's willing to accept backup money, he should be re-signed. Succop did a nice job on kickoffs and though he missed the clutch field goal attempt in the final regular season game in San Diego, he's made plenty of big kicks before. He also bounced back in the playoff game by making all three of his field goal attempts. Colquitt is pricey for a punter, but worth it. He consistently helps the Chiefs win the field position battle. Gafford is a generally reliable veteran but the Chiefs looked around before re-signing him last year and may have wandering eyes again. If the Chiefs lose Jordan and Abdullah, they might have a difficult time in finding players to replace them.

The Chiefs should keep: Succop, Colquitt, Davis, Demps, Jordan, Sherman and Abdullah.

The Chiefs should dump: Gafford and McCluster.

Free agency/draft priority: If the Chiefs lose McCluster and Demps, they'll need to find a replacement return specialist. Otherwise, they should always be looking for players to help in the kicking game.
KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- The Kansas City Chiefs are scheduled to have 16 free agents when the signing period begins, though some will be re-signed before then. Here is a list of the 16 listed by position group:

Quarterback: none.

Running back: none.

Wide receiver: Dexter McCluster, Kyle Williams.

Tight end: Richard Gordon.

Offensive line: Branden Albert, Jon Asamoah, Ricky Henry, Geoff Schwartz.

Defensive line: Tyson Jackson, Jerrell Powe.

Linebacker: Robert James, Akeem Jordan, Frank Zombo.

Defensive back: Husain Abdullah, Quintin Demps, Kendrick Lewis.

Punter/Kicker: none.

Long-snapper: Thomas Gafford.

Gordon and Henry are scheduled to become restricted free agents. I’m not clear on whether Powe and James would be exclusive rights or restricted free agents, though neither has a contract for 2014.

Everyone else is scheduled to be an unrestricted free agent.

I’ll be starting to dig into this with you beginning in the next few days. I’ll have some advice for Andy Reid and John Dorsey as to what they should be doing with this list as well as the players who are under contract for 2014. I’ve already started on what they should do with quarterback Alex Smith.

For now, a couple of quick thoughts on this free-agent list:
  • Ideally, the Chiefs would keep Albert, their starting left tackle. But his contract demands may be out of their price range. Asamoah and Schwartz split time as the starting right guard. The Chiefs will need to keep at least one of them and Schwartz’s versatility was valuable last season.
  • Abdullah, Demps and Lewis are among their top four safeties. But the Chiefs will have Sanders Commings, a rookie, coming back from injuries next year. The Chiefs like him a lot.

Chiefs roster predictions, part I

August, 28, 2013
8/28/13
7:00
AM ET
Not much intrigue left to the preseason for the Kansas City Chiefs. Just trying to stay healthy through Thursday night’s final exhibition game against the Green Bay Packers at Arrowhead Stadium.

That, and the final round of roster cuts that loom afterward. The Chiefs, like all NFL teams, must trim their active roster from 75 to 53 players by Saturday evening.

Here’s my prediction on how their roster will look for the Sept. 8 regular-season opener against the Jaguars in Jacksonville, Fla., at offensive positions and in the kicking game. I’ll post defensive predictions later today.

Quarterback (3): Alex Smith, Chase Daniel, Tyler Bray. This might be the only position where there is no intrigue. They are set and in this order on the depth chart.

Running back (4): Jamaal Charles, Anthony Sherman, Knile Davis, Shaun Draughn. The only real mystery here is whether the Chiefs keep Draughn or Cyrus Gray as the third halfback. Draughn has been more productive than Gray. The Chiefs don’t use their fullback enough to keep more than just Sherman.

Wide receiver (6): Dwayne Bowe, Donnie Avery, Dexter McCluster, Junior Hemingway, Devon Wylie, A.J. Jenkins. This position has come into focus since the Chiefs traded Jon Baldwin and released Terrance Copper. Bowe and Avery are the starters, McCluster the slot receiver. Hemingway has been steady during camp and the preseason and deserves a spot. Wiley and Jenkins are fast, and coach Andy Reid likes speed. The Chiefs might also keep undrafted rookie Rico Richardson, who caught the touchdown pass in overtime in Pittsburgh last week, but I’m not going to predict that.

Tight end (4): Anthony Fasano, Tony Moeaki, Travis Kelce, Demetrius Harris. The shoulder injury to Moeaki might lead the Chiefs to place him on the injured-reserve list. Either way, the Chiefs will need to keep another tight end now, and that’s likely to be Harris. A former basketball player who didn’t play football in college, Harris needs more time to develop, so the Chiefs might be in search of veteran help at this position.

Offensive line (8): Branden Albert, Eric Fisher, Donald Stephenson, Jeff Allen, Jon Asamoah, Geoff Schwartz, Rodney Hudson, Eric Kush. Stephenson is too good to be a backup for long. He and Schwartz will be the first reserves off the bench. Kush is a developmental player.

Specialists (3): Ryan Succop, Dustin Colquitt, Thomas Gafford. They’re the only players still on the roster at their respective positions.

SPONSORED HEADLINES

Insider