Whittling Down the Free Agent Quarterbacks the Chiefs Will Pursue

In just over two weeks on February 27th, the NFL free agency period will begin.

The Kansas City Chiefs never really have been a franchise to burst out the gate when free agency starts, regardless of who the head coach is. I doubt we're major players in the free agency market again this year. The conventional logic and history shows us that Scott Pioli won't make a huge splash by signing marquee free agents.

Still, it's our duty here to do our best to cover all of the angles for you regarding player personnel. My gut feeling now says that Tyler Thigpen is penciled in to be the starting quarterback in 2009 and that the Chiefs will take a quarterback on the first day of the draft (that is, in the first two rounds). Like all of my whims, that one will likely change.

The goal of this post and subsequent posts on other positions is to whittle down the pool of free agents to only those that the Chiefs would pursue. That way, when free agency starts, we won't be shocked by who/if the Chiefs pick up.

The Chiefs have three options for pursuing a quarterback this off season. The first option is a trade, which I don't see as very likely. For one, trades in the NFL simply don't happen as often as other sports. Salary cap issues, the already deep pool of free agent players among other things has created an environment where NFL teams are reluctant to trade for another team's unwanted player. The Chiefs would likely have to give up a draft pick(s) in a trade for a QB. I don't see our new leadership trading away any of our first day draft picks over the next two years.

The next option is to draft a quarterback, which we've covered extensively here at AP and I won't get into right now.

Finally, the Chiefs could pursue one of the 26 free agent quarterbacks currently on the market. We've also talked about this quite a bit but I wanted to lay out the full list of free agent QBs for you to peruse to make your own decision. I find it easier to make judgments and decisions when I have all of the information available.

Below are the only quarterbacks that I could conceive a hypothetical (not necessarily likely) situation in which they would come to Kansas City. I've rated these QBs from 1 to 5 by the likelihood the Chiefs will pursue them this off season.

Player Team Status Likelihood Chiefs
will pursue
QB J.P. Losman Bills UFA 3
QB Matt Cassel Patriots UFA 2
QB Byron Leftwich Steelers UFA 2
QB Jeff Garcia Buccaneers UFA 2
QB Kurt Warner Cardinals UFA 1

First, it's pretty clear that Kurt Warner is going to stay in Arizona if he doesn't retire. Even though Warner may make sense as a placeholder while the Chiefs find their quarterback of the future, he almost assuredly isn't' going to leave the Cardinals.

Next, still thinking placeholder, we have Jeff Garcia. Garcia could be in Red & Gold next season if the Chiefs think that their quarterback of the future is not available in 2009. Personally, I'm a fan of bringing in a veteran quarterback if the team isn't 100% sure on a quarterback of the future. A poor QB can really damage an offense's progression (cough, Brodie Croyle, cough). If Tyler Thigpen doesn't start next year and Todd Haley and Scott Pioli are not able to draft the quarterback they want, I think Jeff Garcia would be a solid fit in KC for a year or two.

Since the Patriots recently put the franchise tag on Matt Cassel, his asking price is now a big contract and two 1st round draft picks to the Patriots. I don't think the Chiefs will pay this price for Cassel but I left him up there as a possible QB of interest.

Byron Leftwich fits the placeholder angle that I've been pushing but he's probably the weakest QB out of this mix. He was signed by the Steelers last season to a one-year deal. He could be had for cheap but probably isn't starting caliber anymore.

Finally, we have 27-year old J.P. Losman who was fomerly a Buffalo Bill. UCrawford had this to say about Losman back in September:

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.

Losman and Garcia? Those are the only two free agent quarterbacks I think are worth pursuing by the Kansas City Chiefs.

Thoughts on this year's crop of free agent QBs? Did I get the possible pursuits down or would you look at any others?

Player Team Status Likelihood Chiefs
will pursue
QB Charlie Batch Steelers UFA 1
QB Kyle Boller Ravens UFA 1
QB Brooks Bollinger Cowboys UFA 1
QB Todd Bouman Ravens UFA 1
QB Kerry Collins Titans UFA 1
QB Ryan Fitzpatrick Bengals UFA 1
QB Charlie Frye Seahawks UFA 1
QB Rex Grossman Bears UFA 1
QB Joey Harrington Saints UFA 1
QB Jamie Martin 49ers UFA 1
QB J.T. O'Sullivan 49ers UFA 1
QB Dan Orlovsky Lions UFA 1
QB Patrick Ramsey Broncos UFA 1
QB Chris Simms Titans UFA 1
QB Brian St. Pierre Cardinals UFA 1
QB Anthony Wright Giants UFA 1
QB Brock Berlin Rams RFA 1
QB Gibran Hamdan Bills RFA 1
QB Matt Baker Bills ERFA 1
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