In a somewhat indefensible transaction, veteran corner Brandon Flowers is suddenly a free agent after he was released by the Kansas City Chiefs Friday. Flowers was selected by the Chiefs in the second round of the 2008 NFL Draft (35th overall) and has played six seasons there, earning his first Pro Bowl selection last year.
This move was financially motivated, primarily made to clear precious cap space that the Chiefs can use in part to attempt to re-sign quarterback Alex Smith. Kansas City's general manager John Dorsey apparently favors taller corners—Flowers is 5'10"—so this is another step in molding the team to fit his vision.
After discussing a possible trade of CB Brandon Flowers, the @KCChiefs announce they’ve released him. He was due $5.25M in 2014.— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) June 13, 2014
In addition to the $5.25MM he was owed, an impending $2MM roster bonus required the move to be made with more urgency, and limited their ability to swing a trade in time. A number of teams made inquiries about acquiring Flowers via trade, and now that he's on the open market there's no question he will be highly coveted as the premier free agent corner.
The funny thing is, that the Chiefs had a pro-bowl caliber players at a contract that was actually quite reasonable. In order for them to "upgrade", they will likely have to restructure other deals after the Flowers money allotted to Smith and DE Justin Houston is paid out. This organization appears to be robbing Peter to pay Paul.
So Where Does He Go From Here?
Team to watch for Brandon Flowers: The #Falcons. They have been monitoring the situation & preparing in case Flowers was cut. Today he was— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) June 13, 2014
The financial aspect of this decision can be justified, but from a football standpoint its pretty questionable. Flowers is without question the Chiefs' best corner. He has good ball skills and is an extremely hard-hitter for his size. Clearly Dorsey fancies a secondary of bigger hard-hitters like the one in Seattle. Of course, no one seems to question the toughness of 5'10" safety and human battering ram Earl Thomas.
Richard Sherman told me two years ago that Brandon flowers was a guy that he really respected. Someone is going to get a solid free agent cb— Brian Nemhauser (@hawkblogger) June 14, 2014
While respect from your peers is nice, we should caution that endorsements from Richard Sherman should be taken lightly.
Brandon Flowers' Career Stats: Games: 88 Tackles: 374 Sacks: 2.0 Interceptions: 17 Forced fumbles: 4 pic.twitter.com/mOSrrZaJaG— NFL Stats (@NFL_Stats) June 13, 2014
Flowers has been hampered by injuries at times in his pro career but he's still put up terrific numbers.
He was already unhappy with the situation in Kansas City. Last season, he was used primarily at the nickelback position in obvious passing downs forcing him to cover larger receivers; doing so mostly in the slot where he lined up 56% of the time. Nothing quite says, "We've got a plan" like taking your best corner and putting him in a position to struggle. And he still made the pro bowl in the face of this, in what all the pundits describe as his worst year yet as a pro.
Don't expect him to be a free agent for very long. Several reports have the Falcons as the primary suitors and that could be a good fit. They desperately need defensive help in the secondary and it would finally give Hokie fans a reason to watch Falcons games again. It's been a while since that was appointment television for us. Though they might seem the front runners due to the connection with former Chief exec Scott Pioli, there are several other ideal fits:
Take a look at some Hokie highlights of Flowers below and remember just how good he was during his time in Blacksburg.
We'll be back with news of Flowers new team as soon as he inks a deal, which shouldn't be long. May the Kansas City franchise be visited with plague and pestilence for their short sightedness. But then again, what can we really curse them with when they haven't won a playoff game since Joe Montana limped to the end of his career (1994), the third longest streak of futility going in the NFL right now.
The Gobbler Country hex* now extends to Cleveland, Oakland, Arizona, and Kansas City. Keep releasing Hokies NFL teams, and watch the Jacksonville Jaguars hoist the Lombardi trophy next year. You've been warned.
*Disclaimer- Effectiveness of hex varies from situation to situation.