Chiefs make statement by cutting young player

Posted by ESPN.com's Bill Williamson

Of the Chiefs' four player moves Tuesday the most interesting one came with the decision to cut a lesser known player.

The Chiefs cut tight end Michael Merritt, along with cornerback Patrick Surtain, linebacker Donnie Edwards and backup quarterback Damon Huard. Merritt was a seventh-round pick last year.

Yes, Merritt was far from well known in Kansas City. But his release was significant because it showed the new regime in Kansas City is not going to take kindly to players who have off-field issues.

Merritt was arrested on marijuana charges last month in Florida. Now, he is a former Chief. Let's not get ahead of ourselves, Merritt wasn't expected to be a major impact player for Kansas City in 2009 and he was a low-pay, second-year player.

But a message was sent by the Scott Pioli regime. Troubled players will be dealt with severely.
The releases of Surtain, Edwards and Huard were all expected. All of the players were fairly high priced and they all appeared past their prime. They had little future in Kansas City. At least, Merritt was young. But he is now out the door.

Meanwhile, with the high profile cuts, Kansas City received about $14 million in salary cap relief and is now about $44 million under the salary cap as free agency approaches Friday.
The next player to go could be another player with off-field baggage: Running back Larry Johnson. He is expected to be traded or cut soon.