7 Free Agents the Kansas City Chiefs Have to Pursue This Offseason
The Kansas City Chiefs are one week into the offseason, and Scott Pioli is being viewed closely by the fans and the media. We have all been sold on the idea that Pioli is one of the best figures in professional football today because of his work with the New England Patriots.
Some of that has carried over, but now every Chiefs fan has been impressed with him since coming to Kansas City and taking over as the Chiefs general manager.
The Chiefs have the potential of having an exciting 2012 season. Matt Cassel, Jamaal Charles, Tony Moeaki, Eric Berry and other players who were on the injured reserve hope to return and help make an impact next season.
With the Chiefs getting back some players from injury, Pioli must follow through with a strong offseason, preferably similar to the one he had in 2010, which led to Kansas City winning the AFC West.
Pioli knows that by the time the Super Bowl is over, he must conclude the search for a head coach and begin re-signing his players before free agency begins on March 13. Once free agents are available, Pioli must make a splash and not fall behind the eight ball.
Which free agents should the Chiefs pursue this offseason? Let me know what you think!
QB Matt Flynn
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This probably isn't a surprise to anyone. He has turned into the NFL's most popular player.
Everyone is still going crazy for Packers backup quarterback Matt Flynn after his stunning performance against the Detroit Lions last week. Flynn completed 31-of-44 passes for 480 yards and six touchdowns in the Packers 45-41 win.
Flynn also shined in his first career start against the New England Patriots in 2010. When Flynn had to play for an injured Aaron Rodgers in Week 15, he completed 24-of-37 passes for 251 yards, three touchdowns and one interception. Flynn did get sacked five times, but almost led the Packers to a win over the Patriots. Flynn earned a 100.2 quarterback rating in the 31-27 loss to the Patriots.
While many football fans want Flynn to be the quarterback of their team for his preeminent performance, it needs to be kept in mind that the Chiefs haven't had great success with Matt Cassel. Cassel was Tom Brady's backup in New England and led the Patriots to 11 wins in 2008 after Brady suffered a torn ACL during the first game of the season.
Cassel was an attractive quarterback during the 2009 offseason by many teams. In the end, the Chiefs traded for Cassel and signed him to a six-year contract. Looking back, it is safe to say the Chiefs overpaid Cassel by giving him a big contract for just one season of success.
I'm not saying Flynn will follow the same path as Cassel, but considering Flynn has only started two games in his career, fans might want to be careful with what they wish for.
Flynn's agent could demand some money after his big game. Depending on what the Chiefs decide to do with their current quarterback situation with Cassel and Kyle Orton, the Chiefs should see if having Flynn as a backup is an option. Flynn might come off as an expensive backup, but he could be useful if the Chiefs lose a starting quarterback to injury again. We learned this past season that having Tyler Palko as your backup will lead you no where.
Earlier this week, it was reported that the Chiefs met with Packers offensive coordinator, Joe Philbin. If the Chiefs make Philbin their head coach, the talks of Flynn coming to Kansas City could turn into a reality, rather than just a rumor.
RB Mike Tolbert
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Getting Mike Tolbert would be a nice division snag for the Chiefs.
With Charles returning and Thomas Jones most likely not coming back, the Chiefs have some options to explore.
With Charles, Jackie Battle and Dexter McCluster would be the backups. However, Tolbert would be a much more viable player to have.
Tolbert led the Chargers in rushing touchdowns with eight. Tolbert also had two receiving touchdowns, giving him 10 total touchdowns on the season. No Chargers player caught and rushed for more touchdowns than Tolbert.
As an offense in 2011, the Chiefs struggled in the red zone as many of their potential touchdowns turned into field goals. The Chiefs finished last in the league in red zone scoring. Their most notable red zone problems came against the Packers. Although the Chiefs handed the Packers their first and only loss of the season, the Chiefs scored only one touchdown on five red zone trips.
Tolbert is a player who could erase their red zone woes. Tolbert's ability to get the ball into the end zone could also help the Chiefs avoid being last in the AFC in scoring.
WR Wes Welker
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The Chiefs have some tough choices to make this offseason. One of them being whether they should bring back Dwayne Bowe.
Wes Welker would be great to have on your football team, but the Chiefs are not desperate for a receiver, depending on what they do with Bowe.
Bowe has had a roller coaster career since being drafted out of LSU in 2007. Bowe started his career off with a bang, catching a touchdown in Weeks 2, 3 and 4 of his rookie season to get the Chiefs offense going.
Bowe struggled in 2008 and 2009 due to dropping many passes thrown to him.
In 2010, Bowe improved and led the league in receiving touchdowns with 15.
However, Bowe's drop habits came back in 2011 after a hot start to the season. Bowe scored a two-touchdown game against the Indianapolis Colts in Week 5, but did not catch another touchdown pass until Week 16.
If Bowe is not retained by the Chiefs, it is important that Pioli tries to get a hold of Welker and bring him to Kansas City to help create a good corps of wide receivers with Steve Breaston and Jon Baldwin.
With the exception of his first season as a Patriot, Welker has been voted to the Pro Bowl every year while playing for the Patriots.
Saints OG Carl Nicks
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The Chiefs had some issues with their interior offensive line. Rodney Hudson and Ryan Lilja are players that could shift around the interior line.
Carl Nicks, who becomes a free agent this year, would be a great add for the Chiefs. Nicks is only 26, but he has a Super Bowl ring and has the possibility of earning another one with the New Orleans Saints in the playoffs. Nicks has also been voted to last season's and this season's Pro Bowl.
Depending on whether the Chiefs want to shift Lilja to right guard, where he had success in 2010, the Chiefs should make an attempt to get Nicks as a left guard.
C Jeff Saturday
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Casey Wiegmann will be 39 years old next year, but it is likely that he will retire. Although Jeff Saturday will be 37 next year, he could be good for a short-term deal.
If the Chiefs are not comfortable with Hudson at center, they should seek Saturday and give him an opportunity, if he still has another season left in him.
Saturday five Pro Bowls and has one Super Bowl ring.
C Scott Wells
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If fans are not comfortable with Saturday because of his age, then Scott Wells of the Packers would be another profitable option.
Wells will turn 31 during this postseason and has a chance to snag his second Super Bowl ring. He was also voted to his first Pro Bowl this year.
Wells has been a key starting player for the Packers since 2005. Since 2005, Wells has given up 13.5 sacks and has been one of the reasons Brett Favre and Rodgers played well.
LB E.J. Henderson
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E.J. Henderson is the only defensive player on this list because the Chiefs are very well set on defense. Having Henderson on the Chiefs is a long-shot due to the fact that he plays in a 4-3 while the Chiefs are in a 3-4. However, Crennel, if he returns as either the head coach or the defensive coordinator, he has mixed things up with the defense.
Henderson would be very beneficial and bring in a lot of run-stopping experience. From 2006 through 2008, Henderson has been part of a Vikings team that finished first in the league in stopping the run.In 2009, the Vikings finished second. In 2010, they were ninth and slipped to 11th in 2011.
If Henderson feels he could perform well and continue to stop the run in a 3-4 scheme, he would be playing alongside Pro Bowler Derrick Johnson and help complete a very strong corps of linebackers in Kansas City.