Brandon Flowers was best CB Chiefs had

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Brandon Flowers was a bit of a misfit for the Kansas City Chiefs since they hired John Dorsey as general manager and Andy Reid as head coach last year. At 5-foot-9, Flowers suddenly found himself playing for a team that preferred its cornerbacks much larger. He didn't play well last season despite making the Pro Bowl, and his unhappiness over being shifted to nickelback in obvious passing situations became evident when he held out from offseason practice.

Flowers was still the best cornerback the Chiefs had. That, too, became obvious during his offseason absence.

The Chiefs released him anyway, saving $7.5 million this year against the salary cap and another $7.5 against their cap next year. They will need that cap room if they sign quarterback Alex Smith and linebacker Justin Houston to contract extensions.

But Flowers wasn't a luxury for the Chiefs, given their current state at cornerback. They will pay a price for acquiring that cap room, and the only question is how hefty the bill will be.

At cornerback the Chiefs are left with only veteran Sean Smith as a proven commodity, and though Smith is an adequate starter, he's not a No. 1. Their other starter in the offseason has been Marcus Cooper, a seventh-round draft pick last year by the San Francisco 49ers. The Chiefs grabbed him off waivers at the start of last season and he played well for a time as their third cornerback.

By season's end, his play had deteriorated to the point that the Chiefs felt compelled to move him to the bench.

The other cornerbacks currently contending for playing time are Ron Parker, a journeyman who has been beaten several times in offseason practice, Chris Owens, a 5-9 nickelback and rookie Phillip Gaines, a third-round draft pick who so far has shown little.

That is not a great mix, so despite some of the hard times Flowers had last season, this move doesn't make the Chiefs any better. Flowers to an extent forced the Chiefs to make the move, with his holdout. Next week's mandatory minicamp was looming, and the Chiefs evidently tired of the situation.

That is behind the timing of the move, and the cap savings won't hurt, either. But the Chiefs will still feel some pain. It will come as they try to cover for his loss and as they watch him play well for some other team in 2014 and beyond.