Friday, May 26, 2006

Interesting Personnel Moves From Bucs, Chiefs

It never fails. After the first wave of free agency and the draft ends, there is always interesting signings of older veterans in the second wave of free agency that potentially could make a big difference in a teams playoff chances.

This year is no exception. Recently the Tampa Bay Buccaneers signed former all-pro wide receiver David Boston and the Kansas City Chiefs are close to working out a deal to pick up former all-pro tackle Kyle Turley, who was out of football last season.

I know what you may be thinking? So what! These guys are no longer serviceable and it isn't that big of a deal. Not so fast my friend.

Boston, who has been dogged by steroid accusations for most of his career, has only played in five games in the past two seasons because of a knee injury. But Bucs head coach Jon Gruden said he looked sharp in his tryout/workout, so he was signed almost immediately.

If and I know it's a big if, Boston can stay healthy - Tampa Bay has hit the jackpot. When 100 percent, Boston is one of the best receivers in the NFL. Just look at his career stats.

The 6-2, 228-pound Ohio State product was drafted in the first round in1999 by the Arizona Cardinals. He caught 40 passes his rookie season and then had 71 receptions in 2000 and 98-1,588 in 2001, which earned him a spot in the pro bowl.

The injury bug hit him in 2002 and Boston finished with 32 receptions that season. He signed with the Chargers in 2003 and bounced back for a 70 catch, seven touchdown season. Steroid allegations and personal problems dogged him in San Diego and he was released after one season. After that came two injury-filled season with the Dolphins that produced five receptions.

In four healthy seasons, Boston's numbers are impressive, 279 catches for 4,107 yards, 24 touchdowns and a 14.7 average. If he can keep his head on straight, stay healthy and get close to the form he used to have, the Bucs got a steal. Gruden already has Joey Galloway and impressive young wideout Michael Clayton. What they need is a solid number three and Boston could be the guy.

Turley, one of the best right tackles in the game during his prime, will be trying to latch on to an NFL team in a new position - tight end. Chronic back problems have forced him to drop weight. He is now listed at 262 pounds and has been working out as a tight end.

Kansas City coach Herman Edwards likes the idea of having a former all-pro right tackle being a blocking tight end for Larry Johnson and Priest Holmes, if he returns. Turley was a sixth round draft pick by the Saints in 1998 and proceeded to become entrenched at right tackle for the next five years, missing only one game in that span.

He signed a free agent deal in 2003 with the Rams and after a solid season that saw St. Louis make the playoffs, things changed drastically.

The back injury caused him to miss all of the 2004 season and a falling out with then Rams head coach Mike Martz (Turley reportedly threatened to do bodily harm to Mad Mike), sealed his fate in St. Louis. He was released after the season and was out of football last year.

The situation is very similar to Boston's. If his back holds up, KC could have a solid blocking tight end that could keep Tony Gonzalez fresh. If Turley can grow again and regain old form - then Edwards has a solid right tackle on his roster.

Sometimes the biggest moves in the offseason are the signings of veterans like these. Signings that go practically unnoticed. For some franchises it can mean the difference between a 6-10 record or a 10-6 one.

And while the Boston signing and the potential Turley signing are the most intriguing so far, it isn't over by a long shot. More veterans will be released as teams scramble to get under the cap and sign their draft picks. It's during this time of the year that playoffs teams are made. That's what makes it so worthwhile to watch the wire.

The fun is just beginning.

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Ski said...

you have more faith in Boston than I do

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