Yet again, the Kansas City Chiefs' season all but ends before reaching the halfway point. The passing game can't stretch the field, they hemorrhage yards on defense, and nobody can protect the ball.
When it gets to this point, fans only have three options on how to spend the rest of the season:
1. Find another team to cheer for.
2. Spend countless hours on Madden NFL proving how the Chiefs could have gone undefeated.
3. Maniacally plot how Kansas City will destroy the competition next year (sharks with laser beams permitted, of course).
I thought about adding "4. Drink oneself into oblivion"; however, since that can be done while doing any of the other options, I found it redundant.
So as things go every year, I'm choosing option No. 3.
Either through grotesque fluke or my own delusion, though, the Chiefs don’t really have that many holes on their roster to fill. Kansas City still boasts a solid depth chart despite their record showing otherwise, and some of those key positions (i.e. quarterback) will hopefully be filled through next year’s draft.
But that won’t complete the Chiefs roster. Talent aside, Kansas City needs an infusion of attitude and competitive mentality to get over their current slump. They need to bring in players who’ve not only played extensively in January but are also young enough to keep pushing their team to the next level.
The Kansas City Chiefs need winners, and these three players are just that.
With the recent buzz about Dwayne Bowe wanting out of Kansas City, the Chiefs could find it difficult to keep their top receiver in town without slapping the franchise tag on him for the second consecutive year. Considering the escalators associated with that distinction, that’s a hefty price for a talented but inconsistent player who still struggles with his catching ability.
So why not spend that money on a proven playmaker with a better track record and considerable playoff experience?
The Green Bay Packers already enjoy a good bit of depth at receiver and could part ways with Greg Jennings, who should be looking for a major payday in 2013. Jennings played a large part in Green Bay’s success over the last few years and would be a major asset to the rookie quarterback Kansas City needs to draft next year.
If nothing else, Jennings would be a more reliable receiver to serve as an outlet to whoever the Chiefs pick up; so far this year Bowe has caught less than half the passes thrown his way. Kansas City can ill afford to put a rookie under center who cannot rely on his primary receiver even 50 percent of the time.
Jennings’ injury issues this year could also impact his value on the market in 2013. His groin issues might push the price down on a long-term contract and allow the Chiefs to gain his services at a relative bargain.
Cornerback Brent Grimes, Atlanta Falcons
The Chiefs lost out when Brandon Carr walked in free agency for the Dallas Cowboys. Rather than pay out more than $50 million, Kansas City elected to go with a cheaper option in Stanford Routt.
But that hasn’t panned out like the Chiefs hoped; Routt plays well at times but gets burned on others. He also attracts plenty of attention from the referees after his league-leading penalty run last season.
Kansas City can afford many things with their cap room, but skimping on corners isn’t one of them. The Chiefs need an upper-echelon player to pair with Brandon Flowers.
The top available players at the position next year are Brent Grimes and Tracy Porter. Porter dealt with injury issues prior to signing a one-year contract with Denver to prove himself and has done well to date.
Grimes is the better prospect of the two, though. If the Chiefs could pull Grimes away from Atlanta, they’d pair him up with Flowers to regain the elite pass-defender tandem they enjoyed with Flowers and Carr before. Routt would downgrade to the Chiefs’ third cornerback while Javier Arenas remains as their primary nickel.
That doesn’t sound like a lot of playing time for someone making more than $6 million a year, but with the passing game looking more like a Cold War arms race each year, teams need a stockpile of quality players in their secondary to keep opponents from putting the ball in the air all game.
Safety Ed Reed, Baltimore Ravens
So Ed Reed isn’t a doe-eyed youth recently out of college. Reed isn’t even “middle aged” by NFL standards. As one of the longest-tenured players in the league, Reed likely only has a couple more years left before retirement.
Reed is also a large part of the Ravens’ identity; a true franchise player who helped make their team great. Baltimore would be crazy to let him walk now.
But this is a “wish list,” and I wish for Ed Reed.
Regardless of his age, Reed is still outright dangerous in the secondary. One of the greatest ball hawks in the history of the game, Reed’s bronze bust already has a reserved spot in Canton. Kansas City could play Reed in a regular rotation at safety to keep him fresh and healthy.
More importantly, Reed would elevate Kansas City’s secondary like no one else. Younger players like Kendrick Lewis and Eric Berry can spend a year or two learning from one of the best to play the game, while Reed and Abram Elam (whom the Chiefs should re-sign) can help keep the secondary together when everything else is falling apart.
Plus, Reed wouldn’t be the first aging veteran to find himself ending his career somewhere other than where he’d played for years. Reed doesn’t exactly come cheap, and Baltimore could think they’d do better spending the money on their future.
But the Ravens know what it’s like to win on the big stage; the Chiefs look like they’ve forgotten to win, period. Reed can help show them what it takes to turn things around.
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