2012 NFL Free Agents: 3 Restricted FAs the Kansas City Chiefs Should Target

Marc FreshmanContributor IFebruary 24, 2012

2012 NFL Free Agents: 3 Restricted FAs the Kansas City Chiefs Should Target

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    The easiest way to discover the value of a quarterback is to give him the weapons to win and then see if he actually does it.

    Look at Tony Romo. He has a treasure chest of high-end receivers and tight ends, a phenomenal defensive unit to keep him on the field and a billion-dollar stadium to play in.

    And despite all of these riches, he still loses like clockwork. In giving him everything, Jerry Jones ended up exposing his own quarterback's true worth.

    The Jets are in a similar position with Mark Sanchez. Gang Green has surrounded Sanchez with some of the finest players in the NFL, yet all they can do is fight amongst themselves and routinely come up short of the expectations they loudly place on themselves.

    There's a similar situation going on in Philadelphia. There's a growing list of high-profile quarterbacks under fire right now. 

    Matt Cassel isn't as high-profile as some of the others, but he's still on the list. He doesn't have the same weapons as Romo or Sanchez, but he's got some serious talent on his roster and he hasn't found a way to get the job done yet.

    Cassel has a lot of people in Kansas City questioning his value.

    Truth is, the Chiefs have the most underrated quarterback in the league. Getting rid of Todd Haley and replacing him with Romeo Crennel was a fantastic move that'll probably show you a whole new side of Cassel in 2012.

    He's a former Patriots quarterback, and now he has a former Patriots coach to help him blossom.

    With a little new blood, the Chiefs will be in great shape next season. They're really not as far away from success as you might think. When you look at this roster, it's pretty damn impressive. Now they have a coach who can bring out the best in everyone.

    We all know about the amazing unrestricted free agency pool this offseason, but how about the restricted guys in the mix? There are some you should know about.

    Here are three restricted free agents the Chiefs should consider going after.

Mike Wallace

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    Prior to the new collective bargaining agreement, a restricted free agent was pretty much destined to stay where he was. Now, the rules have changed.

    A first-round tender and some money could land Mike Wallace on any team looking to take the next step. Why not the Chiefs? Kansas City should make a move and force Pittsburgh to match their offer.

    It's worth considering and it's ultimately worth doing. If Chiefs fans want their quarterback to succeed, then Cassel must be given the weapons to prove himself. 

    Back in New England in 2008, Cassel hooked up with Randy Moss for 68 receptions and over 1,000 yards. He also hit Wes Welker for 111 catches and 1,165 yards.

    If the Chiefs have Dwayne Bowe and Mike Wallace flying down the field, Cassel will show you what he's capable of doing. Before you turn your back on this quarterback, give him an opportunity to play with studs. 

    If there's one restricted free agent who everyone should be targeting with gusto, it's Mike Wallace. Not only is he one of the fastest and most explosive receivers on the open market, but his team will be negotiating from a position of inferiority.

    The Steelers are feeling the heat of the cap like a suspect under interrogation. They're bleeding cash. They can't afford to keep all of their toys.

    The Steelers are fixated on keeping Wallace. They've said as much. But it's easier said than done.

    It may be out of their hands. In any case, it's a tremendous opportunity for other teams to chase Wallace and put as much pressure as possible on the Steelers. No matter what the Steelers do, they'll lose players they value. That's a reason to keep the heat on them.

    The contracts that Pittsburgh have structured with their roster amounts to a house of cards. When you play with that kind of fire, you'll get burned.

    Fact is, the Steelers went insane with their money and spent like there was no tomorrow. Now one of their best players might have to be sacrificed.

    The Chiefs may as well profit from the Steelers' mistakes.

Brian Hoyer

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    There's a growing uncertainty about Matt Cassel's future as a franchise quarterback in Kansas City. For many of the Arrowhead faithful, Cassel just hasn't delivered the goods.

    Cassel really is a solid franchise quarterback. Is he Peyton Manning? Of course not. Is he Tom Brady or Aaron Rodgers? No and no.

    But he's better than Jay Cutler and he'll definitely be better than Tony Romo. That makes him a solid mid-level quarterback who can lead a team toward success.

    There's been a lot of chatter lately about bringing in a new quarterback. The goal wouldn't necessarily be to replace Cassel, but rather to motivate him to earn his job as a starter. This plan could work.

    Brian Hoyer is a restricted free agent, and you should consider him. Since signing with the Patriots in 2009, Hoyer has consistently outperformed his competition to keep his job as Brady's top understudy.

    Bill Belichick doesn't keep a backup quarterback unless he's sure the guy can step in and win games. Cassel won 11 games for the Patriots back in 2008. There's no telling how many games Hoyer could win, but the fact that Belichick and Brady have kept him around should tell you something. 

    Consider the potential here. You want to light a fire under Brady's former understudy? Bring in Brady's newest understudy. It's a semi-devious act of psychological manipulation, but it might be what Cassel needs to really break out of his shell and take a dominant stand in Kansas City.

    The Chiefs will never evolve with Tyler Palko or Kyle Orton at the helm.

    As of now, Kansas City has four options: Select a stud quarterback in the draft and cross your fingers that his talent translates to the NFL, stick with Matt Cassel without challenging him, swap Cassel with Brian Hoyer or use Hoyer to push Cassel to the next level.

    This Cassel-Hoyer experiment could be interesting. Like Romeo Crennel, both Cassel and Hoyer are graduates of the Bill Belichick school of football. I know the constant New England connection drives Chiefs fans nuts, but the truth is that you can't find better mentors than Belichick and Brady.

    There's a reason why so many former Patriots are winding up in Kansas City. The Chiefs want to win, and they're using the most dominant football team of the last decade as the model.

    They're building an identity based on the mold of greatness. That's not a quick elixir for success, but it's a wise move that can really pay off in 2012.

Arian Foster

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    The Texans are about to become a monster in the AFC. This team is on a path toward big-time success. It wouldn't hurt for Kansas City to put a little dent in their journey by taking one of their best players.

    The Texans can only apply the franchise tag to one guy. It'll either be Arian Foster or Mario Williams. Common sense tells us it'll be Foster, especially because the Texans played great football last season without Williams.

    But you really never know. Sports are a funny thing. Coaches, managers and owners make odd decisions all the time.

    Bill Belichick is one of the best coaches of all time, and he still has millions of Patriots fans irritated with his history of releasing good players and mismanaging draft picks.

    The Steelers are an intelligent organization that has completely mismanaged their contract situation and are at risk of losing Mike Wallace. The Broncos have painted themselves into a terrible corner with Tim Tebow to the point where the fans would demand Tebow stays even if he can't perform at a high level. The Colts are probably about to get rid of one of the five-best quarterbacks of all time.

    You just never know.

    Sure, the Texans will probably tag Foster. But it wouldn't hurt for the Chiefs to keep their eyes on the situation. Foster is a game-changer in every possible way, and Houston's potential mistake could be the very opportunity Kansas City needs to take the next step in 2012.