When Warpaint Illustrated first reported that Az Hakim had changed his mind about signing with Kansas City; we had to do a double take. After receiving a tip early Friday morning that he was headed to New Orleans to sign a long term deal, we verified the accuracy of the rumor and people within the Saints and Chiefs organization each confirmed that Hakim had decided to take New Orleans up on their contract offer. Needless to say, Chiefs Head Coach Dick Vermeil was not all that happy that his former wide receiver changed his mind.
"I was little disappointed, but I understand. That's just the nature of this game. You can't have everything you want," Vermeil said after the first mini-camp workout.
Though the Chiefs had initially denied the change of heart was related to money, Vermeil clarified what we had confirmed earlier in the day. "Az and his agent got together and they really felt his best situation was not here for him. Then he and I discussed it. I told you all along that I wanted what was best for him and I think he's going to end up in New Orleans."
That is where he'll end up and reportedly he's going to sign a multi-year deal. Hakim received no guarantees from the Chiefs who were only offering a one-year contract. The Saints had offered a two-year deal but when word leaked out of a possible contract snag with Kansas City, New Orleans increased their offer to three years. That was more than enough for Hakim's agent Bruce Tolner to convince Hakim that he better take the money from the Saints.
One person who was very shocked at the turn of events was Chiefs quarterback Trent Green
. He was excited about the opportunity to add a veteran like Hakim to his arsenal of offensive weapons.
"Yes, I really was. Talking to Az Hakim he was excited to be here. Talking to him on the field and when we were going through practice holding the scripts we went through a recall from when we were in St. Louis. He was excited for the opportunity and the offense that we have here. It's really shocking to me. If he is presented with a better opportunity then that's great. Coach came to me this morning and gave me a brief update with what happened and I don't know what it was that he changed his mind," Green said on Friday.
Regardless of what happened the Chiefs find themselves in an awkward situation. They made it clear by signing Hakim that they were not happy with the wide receiver crew currently on the roster. Though Vermeil has talked about taking snaps away from Dante Hall
, right now he's the teams third receiver behind Eddie Kennison
and Samie Parker
. That would be a big mistake by the Chiefs who don't want to jeopardize the return game by spreading Hall to thin by playing on offense and special teams.
Now the Chiefs will likely turn to former Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Freddie Mitchell
. "We're in contact with Freddie because we had him in here before," Vermeil said.
Hakim was clearly the favorite of Vermeil and now they must recruit Mitchell who was the runner-up in the beauty contest. The Chiefs talked to Mitchell briefly before signing Hakim but they felt he wasn't a fit for the Chiefs and thus they passed on him. Now they look desperate and if I were Mitchell's agent; I wouldn't sign for the NFL minimum as Hakim had agreed upon in the first place.
But as Vermeil put it to reporters on Friday, Kansas City is trying to save face on the entire situation. "No, we decided to go with Az Hakim because he already knew the offense. I felt I owed him an opportunity. It didn't work and now we'll bring Freddie in probably if we can talk to him tonight (Friday)," the Chiefs Head Coach said.
In a strange twist of the bizarre, veteran wide receiver Az-Zahir Hakim had a change of heart and decided not to honor his contract agreement with the Chiefs. The vacancy caught everyone by surprise at Arrowhead on Friday as Kansas City will turn their attention to free agent wide receiver Freddie Mitchell.
Hakim took the low road in talks with the Chiefs.
Hakim chose money over loyalty.