Kansas City Chiefs Free Agency: Potential Signings, Rumors and Storylines
It is that time of year again. All 32 NFL teams are looking to do whatever they can to revamp and get ready for the 2012 season.
Chiefs fans have all been sold on the idea that general manager Scott Pioli is the master at evaluating talent because he was a key figure in helping New England win three Super Bowls. So far, Pioli's evaluation is under question and many are wondering if he will be aggressive this offseason.
Unlike last offseason, there is no lockout this year. The Kansas City Chiefs have $37 million of salary cap room. The question is not whether or not the Chiefs can accomplish anything this offseason. The real question is, will they get it done?
Pioli was very active in the 2010 offseason when he picked up two linemen and Thomas Jones to join the Chiefs, which made Kansas City's offense the best in rushing. The offseason after that, after the lockout was lifted, Pioli's only notable move was picking up Steve Breaston. And with Todd Haley no longer the head coach, one can wonder if Breaston would have came to Kansas City because of his connection with Haley in Arizona.
Pioli and the Chiefs already got off to a nice start by picking up former Raiders cornerback Stanford Routt. Can the Chiefs follow through with a big-name player in free agency this offseason?
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April 4, 2012: ProFootballTalk is reporting the Chiefs have re-signed Travis Daniels.
Jason La Canfora of NFL.com is reporting via his Twitter that the Chiefs have reached a deal with tackle Eric Winston.
March 15, 2012: Adam Schefter of ESPN is reporting the Chiefs have reached an agreement with tight end Kevin Boss. He cites Aaron Wilson of Fox Sports/Scout.com who reports the deal is for three-years $9 million.
This is an interesting move for the Chiefs. They now seem to have a crowded backfield with Jamaal Charles set to return from his season ending knee injury.
Will Peyton Manning Be a Chief?
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I wrote on article about Mike Kils' report from the Denver Post, in which he stated that the Chiefs were one of two teams reaching out to Peyton Manning and were rejected.
Following the release of Kils' report, Doug Farrar of Yahoo! Sports tweeted that the Chiefs are not out of the Manning sweepstakes just yet. He spoke to a "reliable source" in Kansas City that the Chiefs and "Peyton's people" (possibly his agent and representatives) have had productive meetings.
It has been said by many fans and people in the media that the Chiefs are the best fit. Even though the Chiefs have an entire offseason to work on their woes, Manning might fear the idea of playing under center behind a weak offensive line in Kansas City.
If the Chiefs can shock us by persuading Manning to come to Kansas City, it is no question that he makes Kansas City a championship caliber-like team. But it does not appear that the Chiefs are the front-runners, even though they were reportedly the first team to offer a contract.
In reality, if the Chiefs should do anything about Manning, it might be that they should prepare to face him twice in 2011, if he can stay healthy.
Could Kyle Orton Compete Against Matt Cassel?
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Update: Pro Football Talk is reporting via Twitter that the Chiefs have agree to terms with QB Brady Quinn.
The Kansas City Star reported that the Chiefs would like to have quarterback competition. The first quarterback that comes to everyone's mind is Kyle Orton, who the Chiefs claimed off waivers from Denver.
Orton immediately won over the fans in Kansas City after leading the Chiefs to a shocking victory against the once unbeaten Packers. During his brief tenure with the Chiefs, Orton went 2-1 as the Chiefs quarterback. But is he interested in returning to the team that gave him a second chance in 2011?
Orton made no indications about his future in his final press conference following a win in Denver. There have not been any rumors about Orton possibly returning to Kansas City. Especially with the recent Manning circus.
It is no secret to anyone that Matt Cassel has a lot to prove.
His 27 touchdown passes and seven interceptions in 2010 came under easy terms. When Cassel faced challenging defenses in the 2010 season finale and in the first round of the postseason, Cassel had five interceptions and no touchdowns in those two games combined.
Before his season-ending injury, Cassel threw for 10 touchdown passes and nine interceptions in 2011 when the Chiefs were given a more challenging schedule. Cassel was on pace to throw for fewer touchdown passes while he surpassed his interception total from the season before.
But Pioli says that he believes in his heart that the Chiefs can win with Cassel.
Will Mike Tolbert Make the AFC West Shift to Kansas City?
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When Jamaal Charles left the Kansas City Chiefs in Week 2 with a season-ending injury, no one thought the Chiefs running game would be in good hands.
Thomas Jones, Dexter McCluster and Jackie Battle worked together to help the offense move forward without Charles. Every game, a new running back looked like the best rusher on the team, only to look like the worst in another game. This gave the Chiefs no identity nor any consistency at the running position without Charles.
The Chiefs finished 15th in the league in rushing and hope to climb back to the top next season. Now that Charles is coming back, the Chiefs need to find a new running back to help keep up the one-two punch since Jones and Battle are free agents.
The Chiefs have some strong options through the draft, but some free agents should be considered to help resolve those woes right away and add more experience to the tailback position.
One name who I have been praising for the Chiefs to go after is Mike Tolbert. Tolbert has a lot of experience sharing the backfield with Darren Sproles and Ryan Matthews.
Tolbert's best asset is taking the football and scoring while the team has possession in the red zone, which is where the Chiefs struggled the most last year. Most notably against Green Bay when the Chiefs won, but scored a touchdown only once in five red zone trips.
Adding Tolbert makes the most sense because this is how Tolbert operates. Charles also performs at his best when sharing the backfield so he can stay fresh while someone else is helping the offense move the chains.
What Part of the Offensive Line Needs to Be Repaired?
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From left-to-right, the Chiefs 2011 offensive line consists of Branden Albert, Ryan Lilja, Casey Wiegmann, Jon Asamoah and Barry Richardson.
Wiegmann and Richardson do not have a contract and it does not appear that the Chiefs plan on bringing them back. Wiegmann will be 39-years-old in July and is expected to retire. Richardson did Chiefs quarterbacks few favors in the pass-protection game in the last two years.
With Wiegmann taking off, last year's second-round pick, Rodney Hudson, will most likely step in at center. With the center position under control, the Chiefs will need a new right tackle since their starter and backup, Ryan O'Callaghan, are both without contracts.
The Chiefs might also consider upgrading the left guard position, played by Lilja. Kansas City has one of two options to fix their issues at guard, one being to draft the best ranked guard among this year's class, David DeCastro. The Chiefs do have one nice option through free agency.
Free agent guard Carl Nicks is looking to be the highest paid player in his position. With the salary cap room Kansas City has, it is likely that Nicks and the Chiefs have had private meetings and possibly some contract discussions.
As for right tackle, Pioli might go with the draft in this one rather than find a player from the market. Pioli's personal connections with Kirk Ferentz and the University of Iowa might lead to the Chiefs taking offensive tackle Riley Reiff in the draft. Bringing in Reiff would fix Kansas City's issues at right tackle. This would also be the third year in a row that the Chiefs select a player from Iowa in the draft.
Will Dwayne Bowe and Brandon Carr Sign with the Chiefs?
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Last week, the Chiefs put the franchise tag on Dwayne Bowe and hope that he will respond by signing a long-term deal with the Chiefs.
As always, the Chiefs keep things under the radar and there have not been any reports about Bowe's future. Therefore, nobody outside of the Chiefs front-office knows what the final result will be and whether or not he will be traded.
While the use of the franchise tag is normally viewed as a bad thing, perhaps the Chiefs are trying to send a different message. They waited to tag Bowe with less than an hour before the deadline. They must have been trying to workout a deal in order to avoid using the tag.
What does that mean, ultimately? The Chiefs value Bowe. He has been inconsistent, but the Chiefs know his issues are amendable and he can be a top-five receiver.
What about Brandon Carr? How much interest does he have in playing for the Chiefs again after the signing of Routt?
Carr should be viewed as one of the best No. 2 cornerbacks in the NFL. Therefore, it should not come off as a surprise if he signs a contract early into free agency.
In a passing league, it does not hurt to have three good corners. But do the Chiefs want to pay Carr? Even though they have the money, that does not mean they can spend a large amount of it corners.
With the Chiefs signing Routt, this might be all we need to believe that Carr's final play as a Chief was when he picked off Tim Tebow on New Year's Day.
How Else Can the Chiefs Continue to Improve Their Defense?
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Kansas City's defense was last in the league after Week 2 when they allowed 89 points combined against the Buffalo Bills and the Detroit Lions. Their defense came together by fighting back and creating some low-scoring games in 2011.
The Chiefs started out in last place for points allowed, but improved to 12th. The Chiefs defense has some strong cornerstones in Tamba Hali, Derrick Johnson, Justin Houston, Brandon Flowers and Eric Berry.
The Chiefs nose tackle position might be the only area of concern for the Chiefs front office. Kelly Gregg is showing that he draws a lot of similarities to former nose tackle Ron Edwards.
Some mock drafts project the Chiefs taking Dontari Poe in the first round, which would help solve their problems for the interior defensive line and help provide a pass rush from the center.
The Chiefs signed Gregg last year to a one-year contract, making him a free agent right now. With no possibilities of Gregg returning, you can believe that the Chiefs could consider Poe or another nose tackle this offseason to play in the middle of Glenn Dorsey and Tyson Jackson.
Can New Offensive Coordinator Brian Daboll Recruit Former Players to KC?
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Since Pioli's arrival to Kansas City, we have seen a lot of signings, players and coaches, made because of connections from the past. Brian Daboll has his history with Pioli and head coach Romeo Crennel in New England. Following 2006, Daboll left the Patriots to pursue opportunities with other teams.
We went over why Tolbert would be a great option to have team up with Charles in the backfield. Before joining the Chiefs, Daboll has witnessed two running backs unfold and breakthrough in front of him.
One option that Peyton Hillis might consider is to reunite with his former offensive coordinator in Kansas City. Hillis came through with over 1,000 rushing yards and 11 touchdowns on the ground in 2010, Daboll's final year in Cleveland.
Another running back who improved under Daboll was Reggie Bush. Coming from New Orleans, Bush matured and improved in Daboll's offense. Bush finally got his long overdue 1,000-yard season since being drafted by the Saints in 2006.
Bush is not a free agent after signing a two-year deal with Miami last offseason, so the Chiefs would need to trade for Bush. With Bush's improvement, Miami will demand a lot if the Chiefs really want him.
If the Chiefs want to create quarterback competition, Daboll's former quarterback in Miami, Chad Henne, is a possibility. Kansas City is considered as a possible landing spot for Henne. With Crennel now the head coach, he may shake up some of the things that Haley put together. He has seen Cassel struggle while coaching the defense in Kansas City.
As of now, there have not been any serious rumors about any of these players ending up in Kansas City. But now that players and teams can come together with contracts, the rumors could begin to build.