In the history of the Kansas City Chiefs, there have been thousands of free agent signings. Many had no major impact on the team. A few impacted the team negatively and have suffered the scorn of fans for years.
A few, though, have pushed the Chiefs and made them a much better team. From Len Dawson to Priest Holmes, these players are tied to Chiefs’ lore because of the impact they had on the field and the imprint they left in Kansas City.
After last season, the Chiefs need a couple of players in that last category to push this team from playoff contenders to Super Bowl contenders. They would love to go out and grab those missing pieces, creating an unstoppable force of a team.
Unfortunately for Kansas City, it is not that simple. There are several follies that a team can make when it comes to free agency.
Here are four the Chiefs need to worry about.
The Chiefs’ biggest need going into the offseason was at the wide receiver position. While this has been addressed with the drafting of Jonathan Baldwin, Baldwin’s lack of NFL experience potentially creates a continued need at this position.
This could lead to a lot of wasted money for the Chiefs.
When Kansas City signed Chris Chambers to a three year, $15 million dollar contract before last season, it seemed like a bargain. In 2009, Chambers played only nine games and posted 608 receiving yards. 2010, though, showed a complete absence of production, with Chambers only putting up 213 yards in 13 games.
With several big names on the free agent block, it could be easy for a team to drop a pretty penny on a wide receiver only to find out his best seasons are far behind him. The Chiefs will have to look to avoid another Chambers-like situation if they hope to get their money’s worth.
The Chiefs have put together a very good, young set of defensive backs. With a quarterback like Philip Rivers in their division, the importance of this can not be discounted.
One of the key members of this group is cornerback Brandon Carr.
Only 25, Carr has put up solid numbers in all three of his NFL seasons and certified himself as a solid NFL cornerback. While he may not be as explosive as Brandon Flowers, the two of them together create a very good tandem of cornerbacks.
Losing Carr would leave the Chiefs at a serious disadvantage when defending against the pass. It is also unlikely that the Chiefs would find another cornerback who fit into their system as well as Carr, at least at the price Carr will resign for.
Losing Carr could create a gap in the defense that could be detrimental to Kansas City’s postseason dreams.
Currently, Kansas City has only defensive tackles under contract. One is a rookie, the other has recorded three tackles in his six NFL appearances. This is, obviously, not the ideal situation for a defense.
If the Chiefs were to drop money on a tackle, they might be able to sign a proven player like Brandon Mebane. Mebane has done a good job of stopping the run in Seattle and, at only 26, he fits in with the rest of the Chiefs’ youthful defense.
Whether the Chiefs look to resign Ron Edwards or go after one of the free agents like Mebane remains to be seen. If the Chiefs are unable to find a suitable tackle, though, there is likely to be a gigantic hole in the middle of their defensive line all season.
Kansas City has a very good thing going currently. They showed their potential by exceeding expectations last year and proved that, with a few other pieces, they could once again become a very successful franchise. It would be easy for the Chiefs to look towards free agency for those other pieces, completely ignoring the pieces they currently have.
Players like Dwayne Bowe and Brandon Flowers will be able to test free agency in 2012. While looking towards the current group of free agents should be important to the front office, retaining these stars should be a larger priority.
Giving Flowers and Bowe new contracts before the season would eliminate the tension a player and team can experience in a contract year and would stop any possibility of these two stars being lured away from Kansas City.