[Kansas City.com] The Derrick Johnson negotiations are going swimmingly. Really. Just the other day, Chiefs president/general manager Carl Peterson called Johnson a second-stringer, and somewhere, Johnson’s agent let out a giant chuckle.
And then there was the line that GMs throw out a few days before training camp, the one about how the team plane will leave with or without their first-round draft pick. Peterson used a similar one, and said he feels no pressure that the Chiefs start camp Thursday and that only two of their nine drafted rookies are signed.
“They all have had offers for some time, and they’re responding to those offers,” Peterson said.
“There are no No. 1s signed yet. It’s their loss. It’s not ours. See, what people forget is that we played last year without any of these draft picks and we have already acquired some veteran players this year through restricted and unrestricted free-agency. The only person who loses here is, unfortunately, the draftee if he elects not to go to camp on time.”
Peterson is positioning, Johnson is waiting, and it is business as usual in Kansas City.
Although the Chiefs have a long and colorful history of holdouts – six of their last nine first-rounders missed at least part of training camp – Peterson said he won’t cave in to public opinion and rush into a deal he doesn’t think is right.
“Derrick Johnson right now is running second team on this football team,” Peterson said. “I don’t let the media nor the public try to influence what our plans are and what we feel we have to do. Because that’s not my job. My job is to run the Kansas City Chiefs.”
McElroy, who answered his phone on the first ring late Sunday, said he isn’t sweating it. The rhetoric is typical for late-July negotiations. So are the back-and-forth faxes. The Chiefs sent an initial proposal, and McElroy fired another one back last week.
He declined to say how far apart the parties were.