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June 04, 2005

Freddie Mitchell Playing for the Chiefs? « Kansas City Chiefs »

I first heard this from another KC Chiefs fan, and pretty much discounted it immediately based on Mitchell's character problems.

But it appears I may have dismissed him too easily. Check out this report.

There's a few interesting aspects to this report.

First, KC is actually considering it. They aren't considering Koren Robinson, and the cited reason is his off-field attitude.

But Eddie Kennison also had a history of attitude and character problems, and Vermeil still gave him one last chance to continue his NFL career, right? And except for one controversy before a game with Denver, Kennison has done a good job of not being a problem or distraction, and has outright won several games for us. Lionel Dalton was also on his last chance, and responded well last year.

So maybe Mitchell has some decent character aspects that might make Vermeil willing to let him try; that make Vermeil believe Mitchell could blossom under the current KC system.

There is another reason Mitchell could be quite good for KC.

Carl Peterson doesn't like to just fix a hole short-term without also thinking of the long-term. Mitchell is young (just 26) and was scheduled to only make the league minimum before he was cut. He's just been cut by a team unwilling to pay even that little, so he's already facing what might be his last chance to revive a career on the rocks. KC should be able to sign Mitchell to an incentive-laden contract that will keep him in KC at a reasonable price for years as long as he keeps producing. With the youth of Parker, Boerigter, Horn, Thorpe, McIntyre, Booth, Curry (most of whom will not progress to starting caliber, but some of whom will), KC could be quite well set at WR for some time to come.

Two things have to happen for that, obviously. Mitchell has to sign with KC, and he has to produce at or near the level expected of a 1st-round pick while keeping his nose clean off the field and in the locker room.

One last interesting point (and this might be the most important point), have you noticed how many players are eager to come play for Vermeil and KC?

Willie Roaf, John Welbourn, and Patrick Surtain are all at least solid players who refused to play for their old teams anymore. KC got them all on trades, and how often do you see trades in the NFL anymore? Not often.

We aren't really told how much they wanted to play for KC, but I think it is significant that KC was the recipient of an excellent deal for three solid-to-excellent players. Look what Denver gave up to get Champ Bailey...and what Washington gave up. KC only gave up a 3rd round pick for Roaf, a 2nd round for Surtain, and a 3rd for Welbourn. Those are steals by any measure. And it had to come at least partially from the mutual realization that these players were willing to perform for KC but not for their own teams, and that likelihood that they would play for KC made it clear that KC could give the highest compensation to the original team for them. I know I'm not stating it clearly; I apologize. Let me put it this way: No other team was able to reach an agreement with both the player and the team to be able to get a pro-bowler for a 3rd round pick, another for a 2nd round pick, and a third solid back-up for a 3rd round. That says something about how much players want to play for Vermeil and Peterson.

That might be a gutsy conclusion for me to make, and some might say it is inaccurate...

...except that the first place Freddie Mitchell visits is KC. KC is the one team that gives Jason White (Heisman winning player) a chance to try and kick-start his NFL career (and succeeds in turning it into a contract/opportunity with the Titans). KC sends more players to NFL-Europe than any other team.

Maybe that doesn't mean much, either. But I do think the players notice that KC gives players every chance to prove themselves.

And LJ Shelton is persisting in trying to get the Chiefs to look at him. Yeah, I saved the best for last. Have you ever heard of a player trying so hard just to get on a specific team?!? I can't remember any. There are other teams with more questions along their O-line who might jump at an aging-but-experienced LT who might have a season left. KC has one of the strongest lines in the NFL, and has had one for years...why would someone push so hard just to get on one specific team? Especially since Carl Peterson is known as a stingy skinflint for player contracts.

I mean, you don't see players lining up to play for the other AFC West teams, do you? Heck, I haven't seen players lobbying for chances to try out for even the Patriots (although they will sometimes take smaller paychecks to play for a proven winner).

Food for thought.

Posted by Nathan at 07:39 PM | Comments (3)

I first heard it from 810 WHB-AM on Kevin Kietzman's radio show. I thought pretty much as you did, until I read elsewhere that he was coming to visit KC.

Posted by: j.d. at June 4, 2005 07:57 PM

First Down Freddie is a good slot receiver - but the problem is he doesn't like being the #3 receiver, he's hungry for #2.

Then there is the problem with being the slot receiver, its the first one to get covered.

Posted by: Jeremy at June 6, 2005 08:41 AM

Freddie may not even get picked up by KC. And if picked up, he may not perform. Or he may cause problems in the locker room and be cut.

But even though Donovan McNabb is a fine, talented, pro-bowl, big-game-winning QB and leader, he's not necessarily the best passer in the league. Trent Green may be able to get more out of Mitchell than McNabb was able to. Heck, aside from ability, if McNabb didn't like Mitchell for some reason, Mitchell would get less balls thrown his maybe a fresh start could revive his career for that reason alone?

Posted by: Nathan at June 6, 2005 10:02 AM