The 2012 season is always going to be full of surprises. You can expect the Kansas City Chiefs to be one of those teams that surprise fans around the league.
Chiefs general manager really deserves a lot of credit. He has done his best to rebuild the Chiefs since leaving the New England Patriots franchise in 2009. This offseason has been his best since taking over the reins as the Chiefs general manager.
He did not come away with the jackpot free agent signing of quarterback Peyton Manning, but that did not stop him from signing other players who could come in and help turn the Chiefs around in 2012.
Look at it this way: The Chiefs have multiple players returning from season-ending injuries. With those players returning from injury, they will team up with the free agents and rookies added in the offseason and work with the players who played in Week 17 of last season.
Pioli built depth on both sides of the ball to give this team the best chance to win games. Some of these players are also expected to help quarterback Matt Cassel, who is looking for positive consistency in Kansas City.
Let's take a look at all of Kansas City's key offseason additions in chronological order.
February 20: Free Agent Signing
The Chiefs eventually let go of cornerback Brandon Carr after picking up Stanford Routt to be the No. 2 cornerback on the team.
There is no question that Routt must work on making sure that he does not get penalized in order to become a complete cornerback.
But if there is a place where Routt can improve, it is in Kansas City.
Routt will have defensive master Romeo Crennel as his head coach and defensive coordinator. He will also get the chance to improve under defensive backs coach Emmitt Thomas, setting him up for better success than what he had with the Oakland Raiders.
March 14: Free Agent Signing
Peyton Hillis (pictured right) underwent a lot of scrutiny with the way he performed in 10 games and for his reported comments on wanting to pursue a career with the CIA. But Hillis stated publicly that those reports were false before signing with the Chiefs (Cleveland.com).
Hillis and Jamaal Charles are both running backs who want to make 2012 their redemption season. Charles and Hillis missed 20 games in 2011 combined. Both running backs hope to bounce back and help the Chiefs rushing game return to its 2010 form.
March 15: Free Agent Signing
Like Routt, Kevin Boss came from the Raiders organization after a surprising release and landed in Kansas City. And like Hillis, Boss brings some help at the tight end position.
Tony Moeaki has played in 15 games, but has missed 17 in his two-year career. Having Boss on the team will help reduce Moeaki's load, decreasing his chances of getting hurt.
Not only does adding Boss give Moeaki a better chance of staying on the field, but Cassel has another reliable pass catcher to help the Chiefs improve from their 25th ranked passing game.
March 19: Free Agent Signing
Recruiting right tackle, Eric Winston, (pictured right) could very well be one of the top offseason signings in 2012. Bleacher Report's Matt Miller ranked Winston the No. 1 right tackle in his B/R NFL 1,000 rankings.
Now that the Chiefs have one of the best at right tackle, Cassel will have one of the stronger offensive lines protecting him this year. Outside of the passing game, expect Charles and Hillis to run to the right and go behind Winston to amass a lot of yards.
What the media has not mentioned is the fact that Winston is currently on an 89-game consecutive starting streak—not missing a start since Nov. 19, 2006. That was Winston's rookie season, and he was named the Houston Texans starting right tackle midway through 2006.
He has never missed a game due to injury or a suspension.
March 19: Free Agent Signing
Brady Quinn's NFL career has not gone the way he had projected it to go. He went from being a candidate of being taken No. 1 overall in the 2007 draft, to falling to 23rd overall and consistently struggling to find success in the league.
Quinn has not taken a regular season snap in over two years, with his last game, coincidentally, being in Arrowhead Stadium while playing for the Cleveland Browns.
But Quinn might be able to resurrect his career a little bit in Kansas City, thanks to surrounding himself with some old, familiar faces. Before signing with the Chiefs, Quinn was in Lawrence, Kan. where he worked out while being evaluated by Jayhawks head coach, Charlie Weis, who was Quinn's head coach in Notre Dame.
Quinn's signing with Kansas City also gives him the head coach, Crennel, and offensive coordinator, Brian Daboll, he had at one point in Cleveland.
April 26: First-Round Draft Pick
The addition of a big man up front, and in the middle in nose tackle, Dontari Poe, is only going to make the defense better.
Derrick Johnson has emerged over the last two years. Drafting Poe will keep that going in Johnson. Jovan Belcher, who has not been perfect, also has a chance to play a lot better in the 3-4 scheme the Chiefs play in.
On top of that, Poe is playing under Crennel. Crennel knows a good nose tackle when he sees one. He used to coach Vince Wilfork and Shaun Rogers. Poe could soon be one of the league's top nose tackles because of Crennel.
April 27: Second-Round Draft Pick
The Chiefs seem to have their starting offensive line set. But as everyone saw in 2011, injuries can take place. That is why the Chiefs selected Jeff Allen in the second round.
With the versatility Allen brings, he is likely to be the top backup offensive guard on the team in case Jon Asamoah or Ryan Lilja miss games.
He may get more significant playing time in the preseason, in which Chiefs fans will learn a lot about him.
June 6: Free Agent Signing
The late signing of former Dallas Cowboys safety, Abram Elam, was an important one for the Chiefs. Just like the additions the Chiefs made at running back and tight end, the Chiefs were seeking security at the safety position if another player was lost for the season.
Eric Berry's absence hurt the Chiefs defense at times. With Berry returning and Elam adding depth, the Chiefs defense looks to improve, even after finishing sixth against the pass and 12th in points given up.