The Chiefs on Tuesday released wide receiver Steve Breaston and tight end Kevin Boss.
Both players figured in their plans as recently as the start of last season, but neither was a productive player, for different reasons, in 2012. Boss, who joined the Chiefs as one of their big free-agent additions last year, caught just three passes for 65 yards and a touchdown before his season ended in the second game of the season in Buffalo because of a concussion.
The Chiefs will save almost $7 million in cash with the moves. Breaston was due $4 million in salary and bonuses, Boss was due $2.75 million.
Boss had a history of concussions before he joined the Chiefs, so they may have had some concerns about his ability to play again. The Chiefs didn’t wait long after his injury in Buffalo before they declared him out for the season.
Breaston was one of the Chiefs’ main free-agent additions in 2011 and he was their second-leading receiver that year, catching 61 passes for two touchdowns. But last season he lost his starting spot to Jon Baldwin and fell from favor with the coaching staff.
Breaston, though healthy, was often inactive as the Chiefs used other players at wide receiver. He caught just seven passes for 74 yards.
Breaston said as recently as two weeks ago that he felt energized after the Chiefs hired Andy Reid as their new head coach. He said he spoke with new receivers coach David Culley and thought he had a future with the Chiefs.
“Last year was last year,” Breaston said then. “As difficult as last year was, that’s in the past. Now it’s a fresh start and I’m looking forward to that. I’m going to take advantage of that.
“I got a feel for what they expect. It’s a new opportunity for me.”
Reid sounded in a recent interview like he was looking forward to seeing Breaston in practice, recalling a big game Breaston once had for Arizona against Reid’s Philadelphia Eagles.
“I know two years ago he had a good year numbers-wise and this year he was down a bit,” Reid said. “We’ll see how things work out for him but I know that as a slot receiver he was always dynamite against us. That’s a unique skill to have. He had a nice knack for that but I just didn’t see that much from him last year, didn’t see him in that spot.”
The Chiefs have work to do at both positions. At tight end, they are left with Tony Moeaki, who one year after missing the entire 2011 season with a knee injury caught 33 passes and a touchdown. Steve Maneri, a backup last season, has no contract for 2013 but is under the Chiefs’ control.
Jake O’Connell and Martin Rucker are scheduled to be unrestricted free agents.
The wide receivers under contract for next season include Baldwin, who caught 20 passes last season, Dexter McCluster (52) and Terrance Copper (8).
Their leading wide receiver is Dwayne Bowe, who caught 59 passes last year. Bowe played last season under a one-year contract as the Chiefs’ franchise player. He is a candidate for the franchise tag again this year.