Over the last two seasons, the Kansas City Chiefs have asked wide receiver Johnnie Morton to take a pay cut. Each year he's refused and now the veteran wide out, who struggled mightily in a Chiefs uniform, received his walking papers on Thursday afternoon.
Morton signed a five-year $25 million contract before the start of the 2002 season. He struggled the first two years of his contract with the Chiefs but in 2004, he made strides as a playmaker in the Kansas City offense. He would have ended up with 1000 yards receiving until an injury forced him to sit out the last few games of the season. Maybe it was his ‘Worm" like dance he did in the end zone that led to his injuries.
Morton had difficulties adjusting to the Chiefs stringent practices. Coming over from Detroit, practice and conditioning were after-thoughts and the former Lions receiver never adapted to the pace that was demanded from him by the coaching staff. Plus the Chiefs coaching staff lost all confidence in his ability when he dropped a pair of passes in the 2004 AFC playoff game against the Indianpolis Colts at Arrowhead. Those drops thwarted a pair of scoring chances and Morton was fortunate to last another season in Kansas City.
The Chiefs were contemplating releasing Morton before the start of last season but with injuries to Marc Boerigter and Eddie Kennison, the Chiefs had little choice but to hold onto Morton. He missed all of training camp in 2004 as he was recovering from a strained Achilles Heal. But five days before the season started, he found his way back on the practice field and somehow managed to overcome the injury that prevented him from practicing for nearly two months.
With the departure of Morton, second year wide receiver Samie Parker will jump to the #2 slot behind veteran Eddie Kennison. Parker has been the offensive star of the Chiefs OTA's in May and he looks more equipped and confident to handle an increased role in the offense. Parker struggled with injuries a year ago so it would be prudent for the organization to look for a veteran insurance policy.
The Chiefs will meet with former Philadelphia Eagle wide receiver Freddie Mitchell. He's worked out with the Carolina Panthers and division rival Oakland but Carl Peterson confirmed late Thursday night that they are willing to accept the overtures from his agent and thus Mitchell will be in town next week for a private workout.
We've also confirmed that the Chiefs are interested in former Seattle Seahawk receiver Koren Robinson. He was released on Thursday after being arrested for a DUI. The Chiefs were very high on him four years ago and they feel that with offensive coordinator Al Saunders and wide receivers coach Charlie Joiner on his side that they can bring out his best on the football field once again. Granted if convicted of the DUI that he was charged with last week, he could be suspended again but Robinson has more upside than any other receiver on the market. With that said, don't be surprised if Robinson and Mitchell both visit Kansas City next week.
Another possibility might have been Atlanta Falcons Peerless Price but reports indicate that he's considering retirement. Another player to keep an eye on is Washington Redskins receiver Rod Gardner. Neither Price nor Gardner has officially been released by their respective teams so it's premature that either will be available.
In other news, veteran cornerback Bobby Taylor has been cut by the Seattle Seahawks and he could be in the mix along with Ty Law to make a visit to the Chiefs in the next week or so. Kansas City would like to see how Law is getting along on his injured foot. Despite suggestions otherwise, the Chiefs remain in the hunt for Law. If they pass on him, then Taylor could be a possibility if Kansas City hopes to add another veteran cornerback in the event Eric Warfield is suspended the first four games of the season.
Tackle L.J. Shelton is still trying to get a visit with the Chiefs. Thus far Kansas City has not shown any interest in him despite the efforts of his agent to get him in town for a workout.