Around The Web: LJ Takes Manhattan, Unsigned Picks, Jersey Flavor

We’ve seen plenty of Chiefs players spending their last few days before training camp out and about.  Larry Johnson is LarryJohnson1no different.  The running back took to his new blog to tell of his weekend in New York City hanging out with the likes of Kanye West.

Saturday afternoon get my shop on in the LES, before grabbing dinner downtown.  Saturday night back to M2… had a good time, bumped into Kanye politic’d alittle, and back to the hotel, gotta head back to KC in the AM.

Training Camp in a week.  Can’t wait, should be a good team this year, lots of moves in the off season, looking fwd to getting back to work.

I appreciate all the love and support I’ve been getting.  Looking fwd to a big season.

It’s very cool to see LJ being more open with the public and posting on his blog frequently.  One of the biggest issues with Johnson (besides the obvious legal problems) was that he never seemed to adjust to the spotlight.  I expressed plenty of reservations about him spending time at the clubs again, but so far he has been a perfect citizen and does deserve credit for that.  I’d still much rather he stay at home and drink with his friends, but as long as he keeps his nose clean it’s hard to get too bent out of shape.  Hopefully Johnson stays out of trouble and keeps up with the blogging as the season goes along.

When the Chiefs report to camp, there is still a question about how many of this season’s draft picks will be in attendance.  Right now there are still four picks unsigned and Bob Gretz looks at what is taking so long.

There shouldn’t be any trouble getting Magee, Washington and Lawrence done before the team takes the big bird north.  Jackson, figures to be another story.  He’s represented by one of the agent-heavyweights handling NFL players today: Eugene Parker.  Over the years, Parker has done mega-deals for guys like Rod Woodson, Deion Sanders, Emmitt Smith, Derrick Brooks, Hines Ward and Larry Fitzgerald.

Again, the money structure for draft picks pretty much gets set as players sign their deals on a slotting system.  On top of the first round, the first choice QB Matt Stafford got a six-year, $72 million deal with close to $41 million guaranteed.  The fifth choice QB Mark Sanchez got a five-year deal for $60 million with $28 million guaranteed.

Normally, as the third player selected, Jackson’s deal would fall somewhere between those bookend contracts.  Certainly that’s what Parker is going to say in negotiations.  Pioli and the Chiefs are going to counter that those deals are quarterbacks and they should have no bearing on negotiations with Jackson.  And it’s tough to use last year’s third choice as a road map, because that was another quarterback, Matt Ryan with the Atlanta Falcons.  Ryan got a six-year, $66 million deal with $34.75 guaranteed.

That’s the neighborhood where Parker wants to build the house for Jackson’s contract.  It’s highly doubtful Pioli is going to roll with those types of numbers.  The Chiefs have no salary cap problems so there’s nothing hamstringing the GM on that end.  What will hold things up will be Pioli’s desire to draw a line in the monetary sand with this deal.  One of his selling points in conversations with Clark Hunt during the interview process was that the previous regime paid too much for some players.

As important as it is for the Chiefs that Jackson be in camp and get as much preparation time as possible, it’s also important for Pioli to establish that when it comes to compensation, he’s not going to overpay.

That last point that Gretz makes is one I hadn’t thought about.  All throughout this process I was sure that Jackson would be in camp on time so that he wouldn’t be put any further behind the eight ball than defensive linemen already are as rookies.  But Pioli, just like with the initial meeting with Brian Waters, will want to make the point that he makes the rules, not the player or agent.  So after thinking he’d be in camp, now I’m leaning the other way figuring Jackson will at least miss the first couple of camp.  And knowing my short history or making predictions, we should get an announcement of a deal sometime today.

We’ve all heard about the “hotbed” areas in the country for NFL talent.  Florida, Texas, California and so on and so forth.  But what about New Jersey? There have been more than a few Hall of Famers from the Garden State, including a couple of current and former Kansas City Chiefs.

From Rancocas Valley High School’s Irving Fryar, Alonzo Spellman and Franco Harris, to Palmyra’s Deron Cherry to Audubon’s Joe Flacco to Salem’s Lydell Mitchell to Willingboro’s Kareem McKenzie and Shaun Phillips to Woodrow Wilson’s Mike Rozier, Donovin Darius and Turk McBride and many in between.

There are at least 14 South Jersey players currently on NFL rosters, heading into the opening of many NFL training camps this week, including Chiefs LB Turk McBride.

“I think it’s a tremendous thing.  Those great players in the past were stepping stones for us.  A lot of people don’t appreciate and value the talent in New Jersey.  I’m just happy that now we’re getting the recognition we deserve.  Now, a lot of the quality and great players are coming out of New Jersey and we’re putting our stamp on the NFL.”

As a former New Jersey high school football player (JV superstar!) it’s good to see the state finally getting a little bit of recognition on a national level.  A player that isn’t mentioned, since the article focused mainly on South Jersey, is a guy that Chiefs fans will see plenty of in the future: Knowshon Moreno.  I saw him a couple of times in high school and he was a man amongst boys from day one.  Hopefully he has a tough transition to the pro game but I don’t see that happening.

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