Making Call on the Kansas City Chiefs' Hardest Remaining Cuts
Training camp is an exciting time for NFL fans as it marks the beginning of the NFL season. Coaches and players share the same passion and excitement during this time of the year.
At the same time, coaches are given a daunting task every year as some players are fighting for their careers.
The reality is you can only keep 53 players on the active roster. This means some players who stand out in training camp and in preseason games will get the pink slip.
Andy Reid has been in this position as a head coach for 15 years and around this process in the NFL for 22 years. Regardless of how many years a coach has been in the NFL, the roster cuts are never an easy decision.
This year is no different as the Kansas City Chiefs will have to cut ties with some skilled players who have worked hard this preseason.
QB Tyler Bray
Last year, the Kansas City Chiefs kept Tyler Bray and parted ways with Ricky Stanzi. This year, Bray could find himself in Stanzi's shoes.
Alex Smith is the obvious starting quarterback for this team. Do the Chiefs have room for Bray? Does he have a chance against Chase Daniel and rookie Aaron Murray?
Daniel signed a three-year deal worth $10 million when joining the Chiefs in 2013. It is very doubtful the Chiefs make Daniel a No. 3 quarterback with that contract, and he has been taking a lot of repetitions with the second-string players.
As for Murray, cutting a fifth-round draft pick the same year a team drafts him is not ideal.
Bray's performance hasn't created a lot of talk nor has it gotten negative attention. He is involved in heavy competition.
Unless Reid feels the need to keep four quarterbacks on this team, which is doubtful, Bray is likely the odd man out.
RB Cyrus Gray
Cyrus Gray quietly entered the league as a sixth-round draft pick out of Texas A&M in 2012. The expected outcome every year was that he would either be behind Jamaal Charles somewhere in the depth chart or get cut by now.
Unlike Gray, most sixth-round picks struggle to survive this long in the NFL. But like Bray and the quarterback spot, Gray is involved in heavy competition with the rest of the running backs.
He's managed to stay with the Chiefs in 2012 and 2013 because he's been able to make a little bit of noise in the preseason, giving him just enough to earn a spot on the roster. This preseason, Gray continues to be solid.
He's carried the ball 20 times for 99 yards and a touchdown through two exhibition games. With Knile Davis and rookie De'Anthony Thomas on the roster, will the Chiefs keep Gray as the fourth running back, or does Gray get the pink slip?
The Chiefs appear to be stacked at this position and might focus more on keeping extra receivers or linemen instead due to how thin they are in those areas. Another possibility is that the Chiefs keep Gray but find a trade partner to try to acquire a receiver, lineman or draft pick. He would not necessarily be "cut" in that manner, but the team would still cut ties with him at the end of the day.
WR/KR Frankie Hammond Jr.
One skill that helps a player crack a spot on the 53-man roster is versatility, which Frankie Hammond Jr. has. Hammond has been active as a wide receiver and kick returner for the Chiefs in training camp. However, is that enough to keep him in Kansas City?
Knile Davis and De'Anthony Thomas are proven return specialists and appear to be solid locks to handle kickoff and punt return duties. Where does that leave Hammond when it comes to playing wide receiver?
Hammond finds himself near the bottom of the most recent depth chart released by the Chiefs, according to Nick Jacobs of Time Warner Cable SportsChannel in Kansas City.
He's caught four passes for 67 yards, including an impressive game against the Carolina Panthers on Sunday when he had three receptions for 57 yards, excluding a 51-yard catch-and-run play nullified by a holding penalty. He still has time to turn things around. For now, if roster cuts were today, Hammond doesn't look like a candidate to make the team.
ILB Nico Johnson
With three national championships under his belt while playing for Nick Saban at Alabama, it seemed as if the Chiefs got an underrated defensive player in the fourth round of the draft in 2013.
But Nico Johnson only saw time on the field in six games and finished his rookie campaign with seven tackles. He even went as far as calling his rookie season "devastating," according to Terez A. Paylor of The Kansas City Star.
Johnson came into training camp looking to put his rookie season behind him, but he's run into some trouble in training camp this year. Even though there was an open inside linebacker spot beside Derrick Johnson due to the departure of Akeem Jordan, Nico Johnson has been on the bottom of the depth chart since the Chiefs first released their charts.
Through two preseason games, Johnson tied second on the team in tackles against the Cincinnati Bengals and led the Chiefs in tackles this past Sunday against the Panthers. It has been a surprise to see him making little progress in the eyes of the coaching staff.
If this continues, the team will have to part ways with him.
K Cairo Santos
Rookie Cairo Santos and Ryan Succop have had a competitive battle in camp for the kicker spot. Neither kicker has missed in a preseason game, and the Chiefs coaching staff likes what it has seen from Santos.
Special teams coordinator Dave Toub said the team attempts to bring in "high caliber" players to push others and went on to say the team has a high-caliber player in Santos, according to The Kansas City Star.
What happens if both Succop and Santos continue their perfection through the rest of the preseason? The Chiefs might give the edge to the veteran, in this case, Succop.
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