With the 2011 NFL Draft behind us, and hopefully the end to the labor situation on the horizon it is time for free agency for the Kansas City Chiefs to begin. The Chiefs are a young team, and while several holes have been filled from the draft there are still a few key positions that could be addressed through free agency.
The Chiefs addressed the glaring hole at wide receiver by drafting Jon Baldwin and addressed the aging offensive line by drafting several interior linemen. At nose tackle, the Chiefs drafted Jerrell Powe, however the position can still be improved more as it will be hard to rely on a rookie all season.
The Chiefs also did not address a position that many believed would be one of the key positions of concern in the draft, and I am talking about offensive tackle. While not addressing this position might mean Scott Pioli and Todd Haley are happy with the tackle position, I believe it still needs to be addressed. In my opinion, if the Chiefs solely rely on Barry Richardson at right tackle for the 2011 season that would be a grave mistake.
With a schedule in 2011schedule that includes Pittsburgh, Green Bay, New England, New York Jets, Chicago, and Indianapolis, it appears to be much more difficult than the 2010 schedule. The Chiefs will need to effectively address these areas of need through free agency.
Since free agency appears to be around the corner let’s focus on the Top 5 free agents, discuss how they could specifically impact the Chiefs in 2011, and see if they would be worth bringing onto this team. This list includes veterans, has been’s, players that are exiting their prime and players that are entering their prime.
Cofield has been looking for, but not getting, a big payday from the New York Giants for a couple of seasons. The four-year veteran just completed the best season of his career, and someone will give him that payday. The question for the Chiefs becomes if it is too much to pay.
Cofield, standing at 6’4” and 305 pounds, would be an immediate improvement for the Chiefs over current nose tackle Ron Edwards. Cofield started all 16 games for the Giants in 2010 and compiled 54 tackles, four sacks, four pass deflections, and one forced fumble.
The Chiefs did just select Jerrell Powe in the draft, but relying on him as a rookie would be a mistake. The Chiefs could bring him Cofield to mentor and help develop Powe a little more before he is thrown into the fire.
Playing for the New England Patriots in 2010 Light had a great season. However, we all know about New England and how they have a knack for letting go of players just at the right time. Light is 32, so regardless of how much he has left in the tank the Patriots might think now is the right time.
Pioli has shown that he is not against bringing in veteran linemen (see Ryan Lilja and Casey Wiegmann). With Barry Richardson at right tackle it would be smart for the Chiefs to improve this position if given the opportunity. Light could be a perfect player to bring in on a short term contract.
For those of you familiar with my writings, I have been clamoring for the Chiefs to make this pick up since the 2010 season ended. Not only would he fill in as a great #2 RB and a short yardage/goal line back, but how much fun would it be to steal the San Diego Chargers biggest offensive surprise of the 2010 season.
Not only would Tolbert be able to fill in for Jamaal Charles when he needs a breather, but he would also be able to play FB and clear monster holes for Jamaal. Picking up Tolbert makes our FB position one of the best in the league and makes our No. 2 RB a scary player you have to respect or you will get run over.
Tyson Clabo has started all 53 of his games for the Atlanta Falcons and is an excellent run blocker and pass protector. At 6’ 6” and 331 pounds, Clabo would add the bulk and physicality that any NFL coach wants protecting his quarterback.
This is a guy that fits the “Right 53”. Clabo is currently the most underrated lineman for the Falcons. If the Falcons do make the mistake of not resigning him, look for Pioli to jump for Clabo. This could shore up our right tackle position for the Chiefs for years to come.
Hali is technically not a free agent since he was franchise tagged by the Chiefs back on February 16, 2011, but that does not mean the Chiefs can be content with not signing him long term. Last we knew Hali wanted a DeMarcus Ware type contract.
Ware was given a six-year, $78 million deal back in 2009. Ware received $40 million guaranteed and $45 million in the first three years. In the last five years, Ware has 289 tackles, which is 70 more tackles than Hali in that same time period. So weather Hali deserves Ware-type money is debatable.
Hali led the AFC with 14.5 sacks and was named to his first Pro Bowl in 2010. Hali does not complain, question coaches and does his work quietly and in a way that encourages his teammates to do the same. In the minds of Chiefs fans, Hali is the top priority to be re-signed to a long-term deal this offseason.