Kansas City Chiefs Free Agency: Chiefs Attacking Offensive Needs on Day One
For the Kansas City Chiefs, they had a quiet Tuesday evening and did not sign anyone on the first day of free agency.
Although the Chiefs do not appear to be the leaders in the Peyton Manning sweepstakes, there are four players whose names were tied with the Chiefs and may plan a visit with the Chiefs soon.
Kansas City can fill some holes and build depth at running back, tight end and right tackle. The Chiefs reportedly have expressed interest in some players who could help them improve their 27th-ranked offense for the 2012 season.
RB Peyton Hillis
The Chiefs have two potential candidates to come to Kansas City and play running back with Jamaal Charles.
One running back the Chiefs appear to have their eye on is the former Brown, Peyton Hillis. Hillis had his breakthrough season in 2010, when Brian Daboll was his offensive coordinator. Hillis ran for over 1,000 yards in 2010, proving to the Denver Broncos that they made a mistake letting him go.
2011 was a setback year for Hillis after strep throat and a hamstring injury kept him away from the playing field. When he played in 10 games, his yards-per-carry average dropped significantly to a 3.6 after putting up a 4.4 the season before.
Although Thomas Jones, who is now a free agent, was a locker-room leader, his performance on the field prevented the Chiefs from finding success on offense. Hillis would be able to help the Chiefs move the chains on 3rd-and-short or in goal-line stands.
Joining Kansas City would be good for Hillis, as it would allow him to reunite with Daboll. There was also a rumor that Hillis considered retirement to join the CIA. However, Hillis denies those rumors and wants to continue playing football.
RB Mike Tolbert
Another halfback the Chiefs are expressing interest in is Mike Tolbert, who spent his four-year career in San Diego. Tolbert is another power back the Chiefs are looking at to have as Charles’ sidekick.
Last season, Tolbert rushed for 390 yards and caught 433 yards for 10 combined touchdowns to lead the Chargers. Tolbert was best used by the Chargers when they had possession of the ball in the red zone. Philip Rivers would often handoff the ball to Tolbert or throw the ball to him near the sideline as Tolbert would take the ball to the end zone.
Snagging Tolbert will help the Chiefs improve on offense and take away a big part of San Diego’s offense. As division rivals, it would be a beneficial move by the Chiefs. The Chargers offense would continue to shrink after Vincent Jackson agreed to a deal with Tampa Bay.
Which Running Back Should Kansas City Sign?
Both Hillis and Tolbert would be great for the Chiefs. Kansas City ranked last in the league in red-zone scoring, with only 33 percent of the time inside the 20-yard line. While the Chiefs have a lot of money, they have to spend it wisely and can only sign one of these two players.
For the Chiefs, adding Tolbert to their offense would be better than adding Hillis.
Tolbert’s ability to catch and run fast is a strong asset that he could bring to Kansas City. Unlike Hillis, Tolbert does not have a strong history of injury. Both players entered the league in 2008. Since 2008, Tolbert has been inactive for five games while Hillis has missed 12.
The most important reason as to why the Chiefs should pursue Tolbert over Hillis is because the Chiefs would be taking something good from an AFC West rival. Having Tolbert on their team would be a huge division steal, and it would be Kansas City deflating San Diego's offense.
OT Eric Winston
The Chiefs are seeking another player who fills in a big need in offensive tackle Eric Winston. Winston has played right tackle for the Houston Texans since 2006 and was a key ingredient in helping the Texans win the AFC South for the first time in franchise history.
Winston earned his first career start on Nov. 19, 2006. Since that date, Winston has started every single game for the Texans and has never had to miss a game due to injury. Winston has started 89 consecutive games for the Texans, including the two postseason games this past January.
The Chiefs currently have no right tackles on the team, as Barry Richardson and Ryan O'Callaghan are without contracts. Adding Winston would be a huge step in the right direction to help the Chiefs erase some of their problems at the offensive line. This would also allow the Chiefs to stay away from drafting an offensive tackle with the 11th pick, allowing them to focus on using their pick on another position of need.
The Chiefs have some competition for Winston, as the Miami Dolphins and St. Louis Rams are two other teams also interested.
The Chiefs did not make a splash on day one of free agency. But that doesn't mean it was an unproductive day.
It is possible the Chiefs had their hands full and were communicating with Manning's agent about a possible visit.
According to these reports, the Chiefs are planning to meet with four players. These are not just four ordinary players either. Kansas City is meeting with four players who could come and make a big difference for their offense.
Chiefs fans must be prepared for the worst when it comes to Manning. He may end up in Denver. As for the Chiefs, life will continue with or without Manning. The Chiefs are off to a good start, as they are reaching out to players who fill an area where the Chiefs need help.