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Chiefs at Chargers
Sunday, January 1st
W - 37 to 27

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Spring Housecleaning

More by Ed Fulda
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Spring housecleaning - NFL-style - has begun again with a vengeance. Out go the malcontents, the overpaid & under-productive, the just plain overpaid, and the damaged-beyond-repair. Free agency is a wonderful system. Teams can ditch their current problems (provided salary cap implications don't get in the way) so they can go out and root through their neighbors' trash for "bargains". Here in northern Alabama, where I reside, you see the same thing on Sunday and Wednesday nights. Right after dark, the pick-up trucks start driving slowly through the subdivision ("Hey, Vern, stop over there! I see a TV and an old couch we can grab for the family room.") At least nine times out of ten, the TV's broken and the couch is full of fleas. However, the salary cap ensures that you can find the occasional treasure if you're willing to "dumpster dive."

Some teams never seem to have a serious cap problem that would force them to dump a top player. These same teams are generally consistent losers (The Bengals, for example). Some teams spent so much trying to get into the Super Bowl that they now have to dump a major portion of their good players to get under the cap. Say "sayonara" to the Ravens, Jets, and Jaguars for a while. The Chiefs are somewhere in the middle. Carl Peterson and his staff generally do a good job of retaining the players they want to keep. Occasionally, however, the team has to let one walk. This year the team decided that LB Donnie Edwards is the one that walks.

I think most of us would have liked to see Edwards stay. He has been a solid player and a solid role model for his six seasons in the red-and-gold. Unfortunately, he didn't seem to fit in with Greg Robinson's defensive schemes. Edwards needs to play in a defense where he can free lance and use his speed. Robinson insisted on using Edwards to cover the Tight End and running backs coming out of the backfield. Couple this incompatibility with a high salary, and you end up saying goodbye to a good player. (We'll miss you, Donnie, but don't let the door hit you in the butt on your way out. Oh, before you leave, could you take the other trash out to the curb?) Edwards won't be out there long. Another team will pay him the big bucks to do his thing and I just hope that it isn't the Raiders or Broncos.

I can't say the same for most of the remaining trash that will be piled in front of the curb at Arrowhead Stadium. Victor Riley, Derrick Alexander, Mikhael Ricks, and Todd Peterson would look real good in silver-and-black or orange-and-blue. Few will notice if Derrick Ransom and Larry Parker find new homes. While I would like to see Marcus Spears and Don Willis return, the world won't end if they don't.

I'm going to sit back on my front porch with a cold one. Carl and Dick Vermeil are about to hop into the pick-up truck for their drive through the neighborhood and I can hardly wait to see what sort of "bargains" they come back with.

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