Around The Web: Mr. Vrabel Goes To Washington, What If Chiefs, Sleeper Behind LJ?

A slew of NFL players swept across Capitol Hill yesterday to ask lawmakers to take a tough look at owner’s profits as the two sides prepare to fight over TV money and other revenue.  Among the players in attendance was Chiefs LB Mike Vrabel.MikeVrabel1

The contract between players and owners doesn’t expire for two years, but only one more season will have a salary cap.  When that goes, executive director DeMaurice Smith said to Rep. Linda Sanchez, D-CA, so does the league’s responsibility for paying its share of benefits for retired and disabled players.

“I don’t think it’s morally right when a league makes $8 billion a year.”

Kansas City Chiefs linebacker Mike Vrabel told Sanchez that the union had sought a leader who could help bridge the gap between current and retired players.

Smith also wants help in getting the NFL to open its books.  He said Congress has leverage because of the benefits it provides to the league, including an antitrust exemption for broadcasting contracts.  That exemption allows the NFL to sign TV contracts on behalf of all teams, helping to transform the league into an economic powerhouse.

About 20 current and former players fanned out across the Capitol in three teams, following a negotiating session one day earlier between players and owners on a new collective bargaining agreement.  Players fear that owners are setting the stage for a lockout and hope Congress can use its influence to help prevent that.

It’s very interesting to see NFL players running around Washington, playing the role of lobbyists.  I wonder if this trip was mandatory for Vrabel, since he doesn’t seem to be a fan of doing anything that isn’t mandatory.  I’m just sayin’…

Do you ever wonder what the Kansas City chiefs would look like right now if Carl Peterson and Herman Edwards were still in charge?  I don’t, but Ron Tepper at SportingNews.com does.  He took a look at the “what if” scenarios for every aspect of the current offseason, starting with free agency.

First of all we can eliminate all the moves made in the Scott Pioli era.  No Matt Cassel, Mike Vrabel, Mike Brown, Zach Thomas, Bobby Engram, or any other “senior citizens”.  The lone exception may be WR Terrance Copper.  Peterson would not have thought on his own to even acquire Cassel unless New England had made it known that Cassel was available.  What would have been interesting would have been a Tony Gonzalez for Matt Cassel deal with New England.

How active would they be in Free Agency?  Alot more than they were in 2008.  Herman would have insisted on players under 28.  Maybe Copper would have been one along with others.  They would not have been big spenders, but they would probably solidify a few positions and kept the fan base content.

As for Quarterback, if not Cassel they would have given Thigpen a second year as a starter.  He came so far in one year, he deserved another year as starter.  They could grab a veteran better than Huard to back him up and keep the spread offense along with new WR’s that are Welker/ Branch clones (guys that can get open quick underneath).  Gailey would continue his great work as mentor.

There are few things that frighten me more than the idea of the dynamic duo of Peterson/Edwards still calling the shots at Arrowhead.  Clearly we don’t know how good Pioli and/or Haley will be, but I am 100% confident they will be better than the last regime has been in recent history.  I think Gonzalez still would have been traded, but not to New England for Cassel.  Herm would have rolled the dice with Thigpen for one more year and hoped that his young team could take a big step towards contention by winning most of the close games the Chiefs lost last season.  Beyond that I try not to think about Herm “what ifs” because it makes my head hurt.

Fantasy football season is right around the corner and while the team capsules will be coming over the next couple JamaalCharlesweeks, there will be plenty of focus on individual Chiefs players.  Today, KFFL.com looks at Larry Johnson’s backup Jamaal Charles.

Pros: In his rookie season last year, Charles averaged 5.3 yards per carry and 10.1 yards per reception.  He showed to be a competent receiver by registering 27 catches. Larry Johnson is probably one gaffe away from a lengthy suspension, which would allow for Charles to shine.

Cons: Johnson remains entrenched as the starter, so it’s unclear how much work Charles will receive.  The offensive line is suspect, and new head coach Todd Haley has a history of employing a pass-first approach.  There is question as to whether Charles is capable of being more than a change-of-pace or third-down back.

Fantasy tip: If LJ goofs and provides Charles with a consistent chance to touch the ball, fantasy owners could have a steal on their hands.  Charles’ average draft placement points to the early 15th round, which could be highway robbery for the speedy second-year back.

Every year I try to use my last pick on a guy that you know will only be an impact fantasy player under extreme circumstances.  If you like to handcuff your players, then it’s harder to take this approach, but if you’re willing to take a risk and not draft your starting RB’s backup then taking a guy like Charles could be the way to go.  He has the kind of speed that always makes him a threat to take it to the house, something LJ never had.  And with the incumbent one trip to a Kansas City nightclub away from landing behind bars, Charles has a good chance to play at some point this season.

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