Kansas City Chiefs: First Moves in the Chess Match of the NFL Offseason

Rodney LayContributor IIIFebruary 21, 2012

FOXBORO, MA - NOVEMBER 21:   BenJarvus Green-Ellis #42 of the New England Patriots is tackled by  Brandon Carr #39 of the Kansas City Chiefs on November 21, 2011 at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
Elsa/Getty Images

When the final gun sounds at the end of the Super Bowl, the season officially comes to an end. For the 2011 season, that happened 15 days ago on February 5th.

It doesn't take long to get the new season started, now does it? Like a gigantic game of chess, the marathon of carefully planned moves begins. The thing is, every move affects the moves of every other player. Carefully planned?

The Kansas City Chiefs made their first move in this crazy game today, a move that started to materialize four days after that final gun sounded at the end of the Super Bowl.

The Oakland Raiders released CB Stanford Routt, and nine days later the former Raider's player switched from Silver and Black to Red and Gold.

This story is not about the signing of a free agent cornerback, and what it may mean for the Kansas City Chiefs and their prospects going into the 2012 season. This story is about that game of chess called the offseason in the NFL and how each negotiation, each decision and each change by one of the many players in the game affects the fortunes and future of every other player.

The Chiefs are facing negotiations with two of their primary players in this offseason, and how those negotiations are resolved will affect the fortunes of the team for the coming year and more.

Dwayne Bowe, the team's top receiver and, according to many, one of the team's best players will be an unrestricted free agent. Brandon Carr is the other main player who will also become an unrestricted free agent.

Some of the busiest conversations about the Chiefs and the upcoming season have revolved around these two players and whether the team could re-sign one or both.

Each player is a key figure in the team's hopes for success.

KANSAS CITY, MO - NOVEMBER 27:  Receiver Dwayne Bowe #82 of the Kansas City Chiefs prepares for the game against the Pittsburgh Steelers on November 27, 2011 at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Missouri.  (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
Jamie Squire/Getty Images

Just like the game of chess, the move by the Raiders to release Routt affected the next move by the Chiefs when they had the opportunity to interview and sign the newly available cornerback, and that move changes the possible outcomes of the negotiations with Carr and Bowe.

Suddenly, Brandon Carr seems like an ex-Kansas City Chiefs player. Suddenly, other teams are eying him more closely as a possible solution to their defensive backfield.

Two weeks ago, no one would seriously entertain the thought that the Chiefs would want to let Brandon Carr part ways with the team, but, with the signing of Stanford Routt, it almost seems like destiny.

Two weeks ago, if the franchise tag needed to be used it seemed like a toss of the coin as to whether it would be used on Carr or on Bowe. Two weeks ago, people were almost resigned to the fact that if one of the two players had to leave the Chiefs it would be Dwayne Bowe.

On February 9th, when the Raiders let Stanford Routt go his way, that dynamic changed for the Chiefs even though no one knew it yet. The game of chess is a game of mystery that changes with every move and causes the players to rethink their strategy from start to finish.

The Oakland Raiders changed the possible future of the Kansas City Chiefs by parting ways with one of their players. If the Chiefs let Brandon Carr go, that move will change the future of some other team, and so on and on. So what lies ahead?

I don't play the guessing game when it comes to the draft and free agency. I am a pretty good chess player, but I learned a long, long time ago that there is no way to plan more than a couple of moves in advance. And, I have never played a game of chess that involves hundreds of players. That is mind boggling just to think about.

Does the signing of Stanford Routt make if more likely that Brandon Carr will be wearing a different uniform in the coming season? It would seem so. Does that signing make it more likely that the Chiefs will be able to keep Dwayne Bowe in Kansas City? It would seem so. Does anyone know what the next play will be in this chaotic, muddled web of a game?

Just give me a month and I will tell you exactly what happened in the past 30 days.