The Complete Guide to Kansas City Chiefs Free Agency
The Kansas City Chiefs have gained a lot of attention this offseason due to some big moves, from the front office to personnel.
The Chiefs have made a lot of good moves so far in the offseason. Within the last seven days, Chiefs general manager John Dorsey has been working to make moves to help turn the Chiefs around after an embarrassing 2-14 season. Some of the big moves Dorsey has made so far is setting the Chiefs up for an even better offseason when free agency opens up.
In this slideshow, I will recap some of the offseason activity and what is in store ahead for the Chiefs in free agency.
The Chiefs reportedly restructured defensive end Tyson Jackson's contract as he was projected to make nearly $15 million in 2013. Jackson will instead make $5.2 million in 2013 and allow the Chiefs to be more active in free agency. But it may not end there.
Quarterback Matt Cassel is expected to make $7.5 million, which is the same amount as incoming San Francisco 49ers quarterback Alex Smith. If the Chiefs decide to cut Cassel, it can give the Chiefs more flexibility throughout the offseason.
The Chiefs are currently over the cap by approximately $12 million.
UFAs and RFAs
Unrestricted Free Agents: QB Brady Quinn, RB Peyton Hillis, TE Jake O’Connell, DE Ropati Pitoitua, DE Glenn Dorsey, DL Shaun Smith, LB Leon Williams, LB Edgar Jones, LB Brandon Siler, CB Travis Daniels, S Abram Elam and LS Thomas Gafford.
Restricted Free Agents: TE Martin Rucker.
Exclusive Rights Free Agents: TE Steve Maneri, OL Bryan Mattison and CB Kyle McCarthy.
The Chiefs originally had wide receiver Dwayne Bowe, offensive tackle Branden Albert and punter Dustin Colquitt on this list. But after Monday, Dorsey was able to re-sign Bowe and Colquitt and tag Albert.
As for the players listed, the Chiefs may only be interested in retaining long snapper Thomas Gafford.
It may be a good idea to retain linebacker Brandon Siler, or else the Chiefs will need to get to work on filling in the interior linebacker spot beside Derrick Johnson.
With defensive end Glenn Dorsey suffering a season-ending injury in 2012, Ropati Pitoitua came in his spot. However, both defensive ends are set to hit the free-agent market. Pitoitua had a couple of flashes in his short time as a starter and should also be considered by John Dorsey.
Franchise Tag Situation
Franchise Option: T Branden Albert—$9,828,000
The Chiefs decided to use the franchise tag on Albert, leaving many to think Texas A&M offensive tackle Luke Joeckel will be drafted by another team and the Chiefs would trade away the No. 1 pick. However, those options are still possible.
Daniel Jeremiah said on NFL Total Access Wednesday night that he heard rumors that the Chiefs tagged Albert so they can shop him. If this is the case, the Chiefs will then have Joeckel come in. The question is, how do teams view Albert and what is he worth?
Re-signed: WR Dwayne Bowe—Five years, $56 million
Re-signed: P Dustin Colquitt—Five years, $18.75 million
Give credit to Dorsey for re-signing Bowe and Colquitt to long-term deals. Last year, Bowe played under the franchise tag after his agent and the Chiefs failed to come to an agreement before the start of the season.
Bowe and his agent have had smooth negotiations and eventually landed a new deal. Re-signing Bowe was what Dorsey needed to do to figure out how much money to give Colquitt and try to tag Albert as soon as he re-signed Bowe. He was able to do exactly that.
Quarterback: The Chiefs seem to have solved this issue by adding Smith, but must find a backup as Brady Quinn appears to be on his way out.
Running back: No one is against the idea of having Jamaal Charles as the starting running back. However, the project with Peyton Hillis did not work and the Chiefs may need a backup running back to help Charles.
Fullback: The Chiefs need to bring in a fullback after running a different offense, similar to the New England Patriots, where there were no fullbacks. Instead, players who originally played running back would line up in the fullback spot.
Wide Receiver: Bowe has been re-signed, but Jon Baldwin is not a legitimate No. 2 wide receiver. Unless head coach Andy Reid sees something in Baldwin, expect the Chiefs to target a wide receiver to come in and help the Chiefs.
Tight End: Tony Moeaki has a lot of potential as a tight end and showed that during his rookie season. But with veteran Kevin Boss out the door, the Chiefs have to consider recruiting another tight end.
Offensive Line: The Chiefs don't have a lot of issues here. The left tackle spot most likely will go to either Albert or Joeckel. The only glaring hole on the line is in the middle. Can Rodney Hudson return strong in the middle?
Defensive Line: Dontari Poe will return as the team's nose tackle while Jackson plays at left end. The right end spot is wide open with Dorsey and Pitoitua leaving, unless one of them re-signs.
Outside Linebacker: This might be Kansas City's biggest strength. Tamba Hali and Justin Houston both played in the Pro Bowl this past season. The only reason the Chiefs should go after an outside linebacker in free agency or the draft is to add depth.
Inside Linebacker: Derrick Johnson has evolved into a premier linebacker, but he needs someone else to help him out beside him. The Chiefs lost Jovan Belcher during the season and Siler's contract is up.
Cornerback: Brandon Flowers is still working to earn that elite label as a cornerback. His duo with Brandon Carr was obviously missed after a terrible half-season from Stanford Routt. In a passing league, cornerbacks have to be high on the priority list.
Safety: The Chiefs have had good production from Eric Berry and Kendrick Lewis. Abram Elam also played a lot last season. Despite an overhaul with the staff, the Chiefs kept defensive backs coach Emmitt Thomas, who played a big role in Berry dominating his rookie season.
Kicker: Ryan Succop is the guy. However, he needs to be more consistent with some of his close-range kicks.
Punter: With Colquitt re-signing, it's safe to say this position is cleared.
Kick Returner/Punt Returner: Dexter McCluster and Javier Arenas have not made much noise in special teams throughout their career. Both players came from the same draft class and in the second-round in 2010. Both players made a lot of noise in their debut against the San Diego Chargers in Week 1, but have not been noticed since then.
Top Offensive Needs
Needs in Order: WR, backup RB, TE, C, backup QB
Possible Options at Wide Receiver: NYG Victor Cruz, PIT Mike Wallace, GB Greg Jennings, NE Wes Welker, SD Danario Alexander, STL Danny Amendola, NE Julian Edelman and STL Titus Young.
Danario Alexander, a former Missouri Tiger, surprised a lot of people last season after he had 37 catches for 658 yards and seven touchdowns. He could be a rising star in the league, but the Chiefs know for sure what they'd get out of some experienced and explosive players in Victor Cruz, Mike Wallace, Greg Jennings and Wes Welker.
Possible Options at Backup Running Back: STL Steven Jackson, MIA Reggie Bush, ATL Michael Turner, DAL Felix Jones and GB Ryan Grant.
Ryan Grant is a Green Bay player who may be considered by Dorsey. If is unlikely the Chiefs can land Steven Jackson, but it would bring some flashes of what the Chiefs had in 2010 with Thomas Jones. The Chiefs could get a lot of production from Reggie Bush, Michael Turner and Felix Jones.
Possible Options at Tight End: ATL Tony Gonzalez, NYJ Dustin Keller, BAL Dennis Pitta, NYG Martellus Bennett and TEN Jared Cook.
First off, yes, I mentioned Tony Gonzalez. However, him returning would be a long shot. He may just stay in Atlanta. But in the end, the Chiefs need tight ends after losing three, Moeaki being the only returner. One of these players would be great to have to help Moeaki form a good core of tight ends and help lead the offense.
Possible Options at Center: NO Brian De La Puente, TEN Fernando Velasco and DEN Dan Koppen.
A lot of fans are familiar with Dan Koppen from the Patriots as he has a lot of experience. Brian De La Puente is also a familiar name because he briefly played for the Chiefs in 2008.
Possible Options at Backup Quarterback: David Garrard, CHI Jason Campbell, NYG David Carr and CAR Derek Anderson.
Smith has some experience in the league, but it would be nice for the Chiefs to bring in a veteran quarterback to back him up.
Top Defensive Needs
Needs in Order: CB, RE, ILB
Possible Options at Cornerback: GB Sam Shields, NE Aqib Talib and PHI Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie.
Dorsey and Reid may use their past connections to try and bring in some familiar faces. Aqib Talib would be great in Kansas City, but his skills on the field would come with some baggage.
Possible Options at Inside Linebacker: GB Brad Jones, BAL Dannell Ellerbe, NYJ Bart Scott and NYG Chase Blackburn.
I left Brian Urlacher out because it doesn't seem he is the same as he was before. The Chiefs have some options with veterans here and can have a strong linebacking corp in 2013.
Possible Options at Right End: CIN Wallace Gilberry, NYG Osi Umenyiora.
Adding Osi Umenyiora would be great for the Chiefs defensive line. Also, Wallace Gilberry played well in Kansas City, but didn't seem to be liked by Scott Pioli.