From the FanPosts. -Chris
Judging by the Chiefs' season so far, it's time to start looking ahead to the offseason and the 2009 crop of free agents (while underwhelming overall) hosts some interesting options. First, assuming that nobody comes out of the blue and shocks us with stellar performance, the Chiefs will have several glaring holes to fill at quarterback, wide receiver, linebacker and offensive line. Here are a list of options (note that I'm focusing primarily on players who fit the age 28 and under mold of rebuilding).
At quarterback, the best prospects in the free agent class that we have a hope of getting appear to be Matt Cassel, from New England and J.P. Losman from Buffalo...both unrestricted free agents. So far Cassel's demonstrated some promise in filling in for Tom Brady and leading the Patriots to a 2-0 record while completing 70% of his throws, but he also hasn't got much of a track record (either in college or the pros) and his overall yardage totals are pretty unimpressive considering the weapons he's got to throw to (New England seems to be playing conservatively with him). So while Cassel's intriguing, he still bears much watching to see how he pans out over the course of a full season. Losman, on the other hand, is a very interesting prospect. He lost his job to Trent Edwards in Buffalo, but for the last two years he's completed over 60% of his throws, with respectable deep passing numbers while maintaining an unimpressive, but not horrible, TD/INT ratio of 23/20. Best of all, he's not likely to get franchise tagged for Buffalo because their top WR, Lee Evans, is also an unrestricted free agent this offseason so signing him would come without having to give up compensation. So, should the Chiefs be willing to go shopping, there is at least one respectable option at QB available to them this offseason. Most of the others who will hit the open market (Grossman, Boller, Garcia, Warner) we probably don't want because of either age, injury or performance issues.
Wide receiver has a few interesting options, but none as available as Losman. Roy Williams from Detroit hits unrestricted free agency this year and would be an excellent fit for us but is a prime candidate to get franchise tagged, despite his apparent frustration with being relegated to role player in Detroit's passing attack. So unless we're willing to work out a trade, we're unlikely to sign him. Lee Evans, from Buffalo is also a free agent, but Buffalo will likely franchise him if they can't get him signed before the end of the season as he's the primary receiving threat in their offense. There are a few second tier guys who might hold some interest for us...in particular, Shaun McDonald from Detroit (UFA), Jabar Gaffney from New England (UFA), and Devery Henderson from New Orleans (UFA). T.J Houshmanzadeh and Bobby Engram both become unrestricted free agents and will probably hit the open market but neither are attractive because of age and injury histories.
Linebacker is where it gets dodgy. Best looking option is Karlos Dansby out of Arizona, who seems unlikely to sign a long-term deal with the Cardinals before the offseason, but who's probably looking at a franchise tag. Bart Scott from Baltimore is intriguing but getting a little long in the tooth (age 29). Angelo Crowell from Buffalo (UFA) is young (26) and talented, but he's been placed on injured reserve this season with a knee injury drama that gets more and more bizarre the more it comes out (went in for a reported "scope" three days before the season against the team's wishes, but now he's looking for second opinions on it). Johnathan Vilma (UFA) fits the mold (young and talented) but needs to show this season that his knee problems are behind him before the Chiefs should look to grab him. Nobody else on the list really stands out, because of either age, injury, talent, or production problems.
Offensive line appears to be a wasteland for free agent talent. Some big names (Runyan, Tauscher, Birk, Colombo) but most of them are on the wrong side of 30 and we'd be overpaying. Only one that fits what we want is Colombo (age 29) and I'm betting he doesn't go anywhere this offseason (Jones isn't going to be breaking up a line that does a good job of protecting his franchise QB). So it looks like if we're adding talent to the offensive line we'll be doing it through the draft or we'll be hoping for that elusive diamond in the rough via waivers.
My personal preferences for this offseason would be Losman and Roy Williams (assuming we don't pay the franchise tag price) and one of the second-tier receivers (McDonald seems the most promising), while avoiding any of the linebackers but Dansby or Vilma (who's unlikely to leave New Orleans if he's healthy and they offer him a good contract). Personally, though, unless things change at the GM and head coach positions I have a tough time seeing either Losman or Williams (or anyone else with talent) wanting to come play for an offense run by Herm Edwards unless we see some dramatic improvement over the next 14 games.