Kansas City Chiefs: 5 Free Agents Who Could Start and Play Big Roles in 2013
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When it comes to free agency, Kansas City has long been the place that homegrown players have left in search of large-market millions and where aging former stars have come to finish out their careers.
In short, free agency has all too often been a story of disappointment for Kansas City sports fans.
Last season, fans saw the team allow one of its best young players, Brandon Carr, leave for Dallas—a move that hurt the team in 2012.
So who could blame fans for being thrilled when the team re-signed one of the franchise's best wide receivers in Dwayne Bowe.
That signing, along with the move to put the franchise tag on left tackle Brandon Albert and re-sign All-Pro punter Dustin Colquitt showed Chiefs fans that the franchise wants to win and wants to do it by retaining its most talented players.
Under the leadership of new head coach Andy Reid and general manager John Dorsey, the team has also successfully renegotiated the contract of defensive end Tyson Jackson, traded for quarterback Alex Smith and made a deal to sign former Atlanta Falcons cornerback Dunta Robinson.
So despite fans being excited again over what has been the team's busiest offseason in recent memory, the Chiefs' front office still has a lot of work to do to get this team back into the playoffs in 2013.
On the following slides are the names of five key free agents who could start for the Chiefs in 2013.
Additionally, since none of these players will be older than 27 when the season kicks off, they can not only help make the Chiefs contenders to unseat the Broncos atop the AFC West this season, but for several seasons to come.
5. Defensive End Glenn Dorsey
Once thought to be on his way out of town, it now appears likely the Chiefs will retain another of their former first-round picks in Dorsey
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While it would be appropriate to say that defensive end Glenn Dorsey has been somewhat of a disappointment since being the fifth overall pick of the Chiefs in 2008, he's also the best available option for the Chiefs at defensive end.
After missing just two games in his first four seasons, a calf injury sidelined Dorsey for all but four games in 2012. The injury came at an unfortunate time for a player that was starting to develop into a nice 3-4 defensive end after playing as a 4-3 tackle at LSU.
So while Dorsey could still end up on a team that runs a 4-3, the Chiefs are rumored to be working hard to bring him back this season.
4. Cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie
Coach Andy Reid knows what he's getting with Rodgers-Cromartie
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While the Chiefs have reached an agreement with former Falcons cornerback Dunta Robinson, the team didn't give Robinson starting corner money, which likely means he's slated to play nickel or safety next to All-Pro Eric Berry.
That leaves the Chiefs searching for another player to help them in the secondary. That player should be former Eagles cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie.
Rodgers-Cromartie enjoyed one of his best seasons under Reid in Philadelphia last year, and his size (6'2" and 182 lbs) helps the Chiefs better matchup against the bigger wide receivers they face twice a year in the AFC West.
3. Tight End Martellus Bennett
Bennett is an up-and-coming weapon in the passing game
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Chiefs fans were spoiled for 12 seasons by the best tight end in the NFL in Tony Gonzalez. However, in the years since, the tight end position has been nothing more than a disappointment for Chiefs fans.
The team drafted the promising Tony Moeaki out of Iowa in 2010, but Moeaki's injury problems in college have carried over into his professional career, limiting him to just 30 games in three seasons.
Last year, the Chiefs signed free agent Kevin Boss to help take some pressure off of Moeaki, but Boss played just two games before going on IR.
For new quarterback Alex Smith and the rest of the offense to be effective throwing the football in 2013, they will need to find a reliable pass-catching tight end.
Enter another player that Reid knows a little bit about.
After four disappointing seasons in Dallas, tight end Martellus Bennett had a breakout season for the Giants in 2012 with a career-best 55 catches and five touchdowns. At 6'6" and 265 pounds, Bennett gives Smith the perfect red-zone target for Reid's offense.
2. Wide Receiver Danny Amendola
Amendola is the ideal candidate to start opposite Dwayne Bowe in the Chiefs' offense
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Chiefs fans were relieved when the team was able to agree to a long-term deal with wide receiver Dwayne Bowe this offseason. However, with Jonathan Baldwin still not ready for prime time, the team must find another receiver to take some pressure off of Bowe.
After breaking his arm during the opening game of the 2011 season, Amendola rebounded nicely in 2012 with 63 catches for 666 yards and three touchdowns in just 11 games—limited this time by a shoulder injury.
So while durability remains a bit of a concern for the undersized Amendola, it should also keep his price down somewhat, making his great hands and fearless play over the middle well worth the risk.
1. Inside Linebacker Rey Maualuga
Cincinnati's loss could be a huge Chiefs' gain in Maualuga
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Even before former inside linebacker Jovan Belcher took his girlfriend's life and then his own this past December, the Chiefs were in need of an upgrade at inside linebacker.
Whether it was Belcher or his replacement, Brandon Siler, the inside linebacker spot opposite All-Pro Derrick Johnson simply was not as productive a position as the Chiefs' defense needed it to be.
While the versatile Johnson is excellent overall and solid in pass coverage, and fellow Pro Bowlers Tamba Hali and Justin Houston are fantastic at getting after the quarterback, the Chiefs are in desperate need of a run-stuffing inside presence.
Enter the 2009 second-round pick of the Cincinnati Bengals, Rey Maualuga. He has gotten better each of his four seasons in the league, including 122 tackles in 2012.
Despite his production, Cincinnati cut him loose this offseason, making him the ideal addition to a defense that is perhaps just one linebacker away from "elite" status.