NFL Nation: Sean McGrath

The NFL will hand out in 2016 $3.46 million in performance-based pay to Kansas City Chiefs players from last season. The system is designed to get money into the pockets of lower-paid players who got a lot of snaps and, in theory at least outperformed their contracts.

Rookie cornerback Marcus Cooper was the big winner among Chiefs players. Cooper will receive $253,736 in addition to his league-minimum $405,000 salary he received from the Chiefs last year.

Cooper was a nice find for the Chiefs last year. A seventh-round draft pick by San Francisco, Cooper was placed on waivers by the 49ers just days before the start of the regular season. The Chiefs claimed him and it didn't take Cooper long to become the third cornerback.

His strong play was no small factor in Kansas City's 9-0 start. Cooper's play faltered down the stretch, one reason the Chiefs wound up winning just two of their last eight games. But the performance-based pay system is designed to take care of players like Cooper and in this case at least, it worked.

Other Chiefs who will eventually collect a big check under this system include safety Quintin Demps ($193,180), tight end Sean McGrath ($185,734) and wide receiver Junior Hemingway ($182,389).

Everybody who played in a game for the Chiefs last season will receive some extra money. Linebacker Tamba Hali received more than $15 million last year from the Chiefs in salary and bonuses, but he will pick up an extra $7,540. Defensive lineman Kyle Love, who joined the Chiefs at midseason and played in one game before being released, will get $568. Tight end Travis Kelce, who was in uniform for only the season-opening game in Jacksonville before a knee injury ended his season, gets $209.
KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- John Dorsey has made many correct moves since joining the Kansas City Chiefs as their general manager a year ago. Along with coach Andy Reid, he helped set the much-needed tone of professionalism throughout the organization. He led the charge in the trade for quarterback Alex Smith, though with the Chiefs desperate for a quarterback the deal with the San Francisco 49ers made too much sense for it not to happen.

Dorsey was named as the NFL’s Executive of the Year by the Pro Football Writer’s Association. There’s no greater example of where Dorsey shined in Year 1 with the Chiefs than his move shortly before the start of the regular season.

The Chiefs, who at the time were still first in line for waiver claims, grabbed seven players in an effort improve the bottom of the roster. Three came from the Seattle Seahawks and two from the 49ers, two of the deepest teams in the NFL.

Three of those players helped the Chiefs this season and could continue to do so in 2014. Rookie Marcus Cooper, from the 49ers, became the Chiefs’ third cornerback early in the season and, despite hitting a rough patch late in the season, probably has more immediate impact than any of Kansas City’s other rookies. That includes tackle Eric Fisher, the first pick in last year’s draft.

Two players plucked from the Seahawks, tight end Sean McGrath and cornerback Ron Parker, also made contributions. McGrath was fifth on the Chiefs with 26 catches and also scored two touchdowns.

Parker helped preserve a one-point, early-season win over the Dallas Cowboys with a sack and a forced fumble.

Arrow indicates direction team is trending.

Final Power Ranking: 10
Preseason Power Ranking: 19

Biggest surprise: The Chiefs plucked rookie cornerback Marcus Cooper, a seventh-round draft pick of the San Francisco 49ers, off waivers to start the regular season. Cooper played better than the Chiefs had a right to expect for a long stretch of the season as the third cornerback. He had a rough stretch late in the season before bouncing back at the end. At 6-foot-2 and 192 pounds, Cooper has the size to match up with the league's bigger receivers. Cooper projects as nothing less than the Chiefs' third cornerback next season and could eventually become a starter.

Biggest disappointment: Offensive tackle Eric Fisher was the first overall pick in the draft last year but rarely played like it. The Chiefs used Fisher on the right side, and he initially had trouble making the transition. He also had trouble avoiding nagging injuries, which caused him to miss four games, including the playoff loss to Indianapolis. Fisher should eventually develop into the kind of player the Chiefs envisioned. He showed great athletic skills that will help him reach his potential. Fisher was usually unable to anchor against a strong pass rush and that's where many of his problems occurred. A year in Kansas City's strength program will benefit Fisher greatly.

Biggest need: The Chiefs need a fast wide receiver to energize their passing game. They gambled by giving Dwayne Bowe a lucrative long-term contract last offseason, but Bowe didn't play like a No. 1 wide receiver until the playoff loss to the Colts. Bowe will turn 30 next season, so if nothing else, it's time for the Chiefs to plan for someone else to step into that top receiver's role. The Chiefs have a couple of fast wide receivers in Donnie Avery and A.J. Jenkins. While Avery delivered some big plays, he dropped too many passes and disappeared too many times. Jenkins hasn't been able to establish himself as a consistent threat.

Team MVP: The Chiefs have at least a couple of defensive candidates but the better choice is running back Jamaal Charles. He supplied much of Kansas City's offensive production, particularly early in the season when the offense around him frequently sputtered. Charles led the league in touchdowns and expanded his game to become a much more dangerous pass-catcher. Coach Andy Reid and his offensive staff did a much better job of getting Charles matched up against linebackers in the open field, and he rewarded them with a number of big plays. If the Chiefs had not lost five of their final seven regular-season games, Charles would have been a strong candidate for league MVP.

Chiefs returning to full health

December, 18, 2013
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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- The four regulars who missed last week's game for the Kansas City Chiefs because of injuries returned to practice in some form Wednesday. At least one of them appears to have a good chance of playing Sunday against the Indianapolis Colts at Arrowhead Stadium.

Tight end Anthony Fasano, who missed the last two games because of a concussion, was listed as a full practice participant on the Chiefs' injury report. Also listed as a full participant was right tackle Eric Fisher, who left last week's game in Oakland early because of a shoulder injury.

Three players were listed as limited participants: wide receiver Dexter McCluster (ankle), linebacker Justin Houston (elbow) and left tackle Branden Albert (knee). None of the three played against the Raiders. Albert's participation was limited to working on the scout team.

Four other players were listed as full practice participants: tight end Sean McGrath (knee), linebackers James-Michael Johnson and Nico Johnson (ankle) and defensive back Ron Parker (shoulder).

Chiefs again make TE contingency plans

December, 5, 2013
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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Few endeavors have been more hazardous this season than playing tight end for the Kansas City Chiefs. They're planning on playing Sunday against the Redskins in Washington without starter Anthony Fasano, who has a concussion.

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Fasano
Offensive coordinator Doug Pederson said the Chiefs would activate 270-pound Dominique Jones off their practice squad in time for Sunday's game to take Fasano's place. Jones played last season and early this year with the Indianapolis Colts.

"He's a guy who's been here," Pederson said. "He's got some experience. He's going to have some opportunity to play this weekend and we're looking forward to getting him out there and still using our two tight-end sets."

The Chiefs went to training camp with Fasano, Tony Moeaki and rookie Travis Kelce as their tight ends. Fasano missed four games earlier in the season with knee and ankle injuries. Moeaki injured his shoulder during the preseason, was waived and only this week was healthy enough to sign with the Buffalo Bills.

Kelce injured his knee during the preseason and is out for the season.

The Chiefs added Sean McGrath at tight end at the start of the regular season. He has played in all 12 games.

Chiefs release TE Kevin Brock

October, 29, 2013
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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Tight end Kevin Brock, who was expendable with Anthony Fasano's return to the lineup, was released by the Kansas City Chiefs on Tuesday.

The Chiefs have Fasano and Sean McGrath at tight end.

Brock went to camp with the Chiefs but was released prior to the start of the season. But two games into the season injuries to Fasano and Travis Kelce left the Chiefs short at tight end, so he was re-signed. Brock then played in four games as a backup, catching three passes.

Fasano returned from knee and ankle injuries for the game two weeks ago against Houston, and Brock was inactive for both of the games.
KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- The Kansas City Chiefs drafted tight end Travis Kelce in the third round this year in large part because of his ability to line up in a variety of positions, get down the field to catch passes and create matchup problems.

Kelce
They won't get any of that this season from Kelce. He had surgery to repair a microfracture in his knee this week and on Saturday was placed on the injured-reserve list, ending his season.

The Chiefs promoted an undrafted rookie safety, Bradley McDougald, from their practice squad to take his place.

The loss of Kelce means two of the top three Chiefs tight ends heading into training camp are done for the season. The Chiefs lost Tony Moeaki during the preseason with a shoulder injury.

The third tight end, Anthony Fasano, has played in just two games because of knee and ankle injuries. Fasano is unlikely to play in Sunday's game against the Oakland Raiders at Arrowhead Stadium.

The Chiefs are left with Sean McGrath and Kevin Brock at tight end. McGrath was pulled off waivers from Seattle at the start of the season but has 15 catches and a touchdown. Brock is a journeyman who has two receptions.

Friday's Chiefs practice report

October, 11, 2013
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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- The Kansas City Chiefs ended the suspense with outside linebacker Justin Houston, listing him on their injury report as probable to play in Sunday's game against the Oakland Raiders at Arrowhead Stadium.

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Houston
Houston, hit in the head and neck area in last week's game against Tennessee, missed practice Wednesday as the Chiefs put him through the NFL's concussion protocol. He returned to practice on a limited basis on Thursday and was a full practice participant on Friday.

Houston is second in the NFL with 8.5 sacks.

But cornerback Brandon Flowers, who missed a game against the New York Giants two weeks ago because of a sore knee, injured the other knee in practice and was listed as having a 50-50 chance to play against the Raiders.

Another starter, free safety Kendrick Lewis (ankle) practiced for the first time this week and was also listed as questionable for Sunday's game. Tight ends Anthony Fasano (ankle/knee) and Travis Kelce (knee) did not practice all week. Fasano is listed as doubtful, and while Kelce will not play.

The Chiefs have nine other players on their injury report, and all were listed as likely to play: running back Jamaal Charles (toes), wide receiver Donnie Avery (shoulder), punter Dustin Colquitt (knee), tackle Eric Fisher (concussion), guard Jeff Allen (groin), tight end Sean McGrath (knee), fullback Anthony Sherman (knee), offensive lineman Geoff Schwartz (triceps), and linebacker Dezman Moses (toe).

Thursday's Chiefs practice report

October, 10, 2013
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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Outside linebacker Justin Houston returned to Kansas City Chiefs practice on a limited basis but has yet to be cleared to play in Sunday's game against the Oakland Raiders at Arrowhead Stadium.

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Houston
Houston was hit in the head/neck area last week against the Tennessee Titans. He remained in the game. He did not practice Wednesday.

The loss of Houston would be a major one for the Chiefs. Houston leads the Chiefs with 8.5 sacks.

If he doesn't play, Houston would be replaced by veteran Frank Zombo, a former starter with the Packers. Zombo had four sacks as a rookie in 2010.

Running back Jamaal Charles, who has blisters on his feet, also returned to practice on a limited basis after sitting out a day earlier.

Two starters, tight end Anthony Fasano (knee/ankle) and free safety Kendrick Lewis (ankle) did not practice. Backup tight end Travis Kelce (knee) did not practice and will not play against Oakland.

Other players listed as practicing on a limited basis were wide receiver Donnie Avery (shoulder) and punter Dustin Colquitt (knee).

Listed as full practice participants: tackle Eric Fisher (concussion), guard Jeff Allen (groin), tight end Sean McGrath (knee), fullback Anthony Sherman (knee), offensive lineman Geoff Schwartz (tricep) and linebacker Dezman Moses (toe).
KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- The Kansas City Chiefs had 12 names on their injury report, so things are looking up for them in that category. They listed 14 players last week.

Four starters did not practice: linebacker Justin Houston (possible concussion), running back Jamaal Charles (toes), tight end Anthony Fasano (knee/ankle) and free safety Kendrick Lewis (ankle). Backup tight end Travis Kelce (knee) also did not practice. Kelce, who had arthroscopic knee surgery Tuesday, will not play Sunday against the Oakland Raiders at Arrowhead Stadium.

Two other regulars were listed as being limited participants in practice: wide receiver Donnie Avery (shoulder) and punter Dustin Colquitt (knee).

Tackle Eric Fisher, who missed last week's game against the New York Giants because of a concussion, was a full practice participant. Others listed as full participants: guard Jeff Allen (groin), tight end Sean McGrath (knee), fullback Anthony Sherman (knee) and offensive lineman Geoff Schwartz (triceps).

Friday's Chiefs practice report

October, 4, 2013
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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- For having 14 players, including 10 regulars, on this week's injury report, the Kansas City Chiefs look like they will be in decent shape for Sunday's game at Tennessee. The only players who have already been ruled out are two rookies, starting right tackle Eric Fisher (concussion) and backup tight end Travis Kelce (knee).

Three starters are listed as questionable to play on Sunday: cornerback Brandon Flowers (knee), free safety Kendrick Lewis (ankle) and tight end Anthony Fasano (ankle/knee). Flowers didn't play in last week's game against the New York Giants, but said after practice that he was far ahead physically from where he was at this point last week and that he would play against Tennessee.

Nine players are listed as probable to play in Sunday's game, including running back Jamaal Charles (blisters on his feet). The problem was so severe early in the week that Charles had to miss practice on Wednesday. But Charles, like Flowers, said he would play against the Titans.

The others listed as probable include five regulars: guards Jeff Allen (groin) and Jon Asamoah (knee), center Rodney Hudson (shin), fullback Anthony Sherman (knee) and punter Dustin Colquitt (knee). Also listed as probable are tight end Sean McGrath (knee), cornerback Marcus Cooper (knee/thigh) and linebacker James-Michael Johnson (thumb).

Upon Further Review: Chiefs Week 4

September, 30, 2013
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An examination of four hot issues from the Kansas City Chiefs' 31-7 win against the New York Giants:

[+] EnlargeSean McGrath
AP Photo/Ed ZurgaTight end Sean McGrath had five catches for 64 yards against Dallas.
Using the tight end: Tight end was a bright spot in the passing game as Sean McGrath and Kevin Brock combined for seven catches, 91 yards and touchdown. It’s critical that the Chiefs get help from all of their receivers because they don’t have a superstar for Alex Smith to throw to. The Chiefs were confident heading into training camp that they would get big receiving numbers from their tight ends, but none of their top three players at the position suited up against the Giants. Tony Moeaki is out for the season, and it might be at least one more week before Anthony Fasano (ankle) or Travis Kelce (knee) will be ready to play. The Chiefs grabbed McGrath off waivers from Seattle when the regular season started, and Brock re-signed only two weeks ago after being released by the Chiefs at the end of camp.

A new formula: The Chiefs proved they can win a game without winning the turnover battle. They were even in turnovers against the Giants, with each team committing three. That’s a positive sign as they head to Tennessee for Sunday’s game against the Titans, the only team in the league yet to commit a turnover. The Chiefs had been thriving through their first three games by winning the turnover battle. Heading into the Giants game, they were plus-nine in turnover differential, which was best in the league.

Streak ends: Smith's streak of 160 passes without an interception is over, but he didn’t appear much at fault with either of the two interceptions he threw against the Giants. Dwayne Bowe was running a slant on one interception and then appeared to cut the route short. Smith’s second interception was deflected by Jamaal Charles to a New York defender. Smith’s streak was second only to Denver’s Peyton Manning. Smith’s three touchdown passes were a career high. He is 23-5-1 over the past four seasons as a starter.

Scoring in every phase: The punt return brought back 89 yards by Dexter McCluster was the third touchdown scored this season by either the special teams or the defense. That equals the Chiefs’ total for the past two seasons. Touchdowns from the defense and special teams will continue to be important for the Chiefs, who don’t have a big-play offense. The Chiefs did a nice job sustaining long drives against the Giants, including one for 98 yards and another for 80 yards that resulted in touchdowns. But the big gains, such as a 69-yard touchdown catch by the Giants' Victor Cruz, have largely been the domain of the opponent.

Locker Room Buzz: Kansas City Chiefs

September, 29, 2013
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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Observed in the locker room after the Kansas City Chiefs' 31-7 win over the New York Giants:

Fisher
Walking wounded: Pro Bowl punter Dustin Colquitt injured his knee in the first quarter when the Giants deflected one of his kicks. The situation appeared ominous when Ryan Succop, the kicker, began practicing punts into a net along the sideline while Colquitt received medical attention. The Chiefs would have missed Colquitt's deft touch inside the 20. But he stayed in the game and finished with another big game: a 44.6-yard average on five kicks with two downed inside the 20.

Turn of events: A month ago, tight end Sean McGrath was on waivers after being released by the Seattle Seahawks, meaning his career was balanced on the whims of a team claiming him. The Chiefs were that team, fortunately for them because injuries forced Anthony Fasano and Travis Kelce out of their lineup. McGrath tied with Jamaal Charles and Dexter McCluster for the team lead with five catches Sunday and scored Kansas City's first touchdown.

Fisher out: Tackle Eric Fisher, the first pick in this year's NFL draft, received a concussion and didn't play in the second half. Donald Stephenson took his place and the Chiefs didn't lose anything with Fisher out of their lineup.

Wednesday's Chiefs practice report

September, 25, 2013
9/25/13
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KANSAS CITY , Mo. -- The practice week began in earnest for the Kansas City Chiefs with five players, including four starters, not working. Cornerback Brandon Flowers (knee), free safety Kendrick Lewis (ankle), guard Jeff Allen (groin) and tight end Anthony Fasano (ankle) were the starters who did not practice.

Dunta Robinson was starting in Flowers' spot. Quintin Demps filled in for Lewis, Geoff Schwartz for Allen and Sean McGrath for Fasano.

The fifth player who did not practice was backup tight end Travis Kelce (knee).

Two other starters, tackle Branden Albert (shoulder) and defensive end Mike DeVito, were listed on the injury report as being limited practice participants. Fullback Anthony Sherman (knee) and linebacker Frank Zombo (elbow) were listed as full participants.

Wednesday's Chiefs practice report

September, 18, 2013
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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- The Chiefs have issued their final injury report before Thursday night's game against the Eagles in Philadelphia. Tight end Anthony Fasano (ankle) did not practice and is listed as doubtful to play in the game. Cornerback Brandon Flowers (knee) was listed as a limited practice participant, and his game availability was questionable.

Two other starters, tackle Branden Albert (shoulder) and defensive end Mike DeVito (neck), were full practice participants and listed as probable to play against the Eagles.

With a second tight end, Travis Kelce, hobbling on a sore knee, limited in practice and listed as questionable, the Chiefs are down to Sean McGrath and Kevin Brock as healthy players at the position. McGrath joined the Chiefs off waivers from Seattle at the start of the regular season while Brock re-signed only this week. He went to camp with the Chiefs but was released before the regular season started.

McGrath has two receptions for 31 yards.

Three backup linebackers were full practice participants and listed as probable: Nico Johnson (ankle), Dezman Moses (toe) and James-Michael Johnson (neck).

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