After reading Jon Yoon's article that Pioli and the Chiefs Might Need to Demonstrate More Urgency This Offseason I started thinking a little more about it and I've come to the conclusion that the Chiefs are moving at about the right speed. Before the pile-on begins and the screaming about Pioli just saving the Hunt's money let's look at a couple of key factors:
First, as Mr. Yoon mentioned in his article, the Chief's lack of winning is a detriment to bringing in Free Agents unless you shell out top dollar :
On the other hand, I feel that most free agents can be coaxed at the right price. Until the Chiefs start winning, it's going to continue to become difficult to bring in top-flight free agents. Finally, it's an uncapped year, so if there was ever a time to commit to moves that were non-cap threatening, this would be the time.
Some teams are more interested in 2011 than 2010 in terms of free agency. The 2011 UFA class will be a very talented group, and if the cap returns, teams will have to have the room to participate. With the exception of a few players, this year’s group is not very talented….
So if this year's class is not overly talented then why overpay just to say you did something? Kendrell Bell, Chester McGlockton, Pat Surtain anyone? In order to build the Chiefs to a world championship contender, Pioli and his crew have to build the culture of winning and that means bringing in guys who buy into the culture not just the high-priced, strong talent but questionable attitude characters (Do you hear me Julius Peppers / Terrell Owens).
Second, it seems to me the type of Free Agents you want to sign are guys who meet a couple different criteria:
1. An ascending player, ala Priest Holmes in 2001. He was a back-up in Baltimore who had shown some flashes over 3 years but lost his job to Jamal Lewis. He was not a big splash in Free Agency for the Chiefs and while we may have somewhat liked the pick-up in early 2001 we really loved it when he started playing for KC. You shouldn't have to overpay to get him.
2. If you do take an older Veteran, he should not be bringing any baggage and preferably he understands your system and will work in it (i.e. Mike Vrabel)
Third, we are in the cloak-n-dagger phase of the off season, just because a report links you as interested in a player it doesn't mean you are (remember those twitters and blogs about the Patriots leading for Boldin at some point yesterday):
As for Boldin, the Patriots were never involved. Never.
Finally, Free Agency is one part of building a Championship team. For the last several years the Chiefs' have had Bad Team-itis and I for one am tired of it. There is a way to get past it and it's not by overspending:
Nate Burleson has never started 16 games in a season, mainly because of injuries.
He did have his best season with 63 catches last season for Seattle, but he averaged 12.9 per catch.
So why again did the Detroit Lions give him a five-year deal worth a reported $25 million with $11 million guaranteed on the first day of free agency?
Are these teams nuts?
Burleson is a complimentary player -- at best. I know the Lions want to get Matt Stafford help, but Burleson is expensive help for what he brings.
This is typical of a bad team: Spending to try and get better.
It doesn't work. Don't rush it. Draft players and take your time.Bad team-itis
One other thing: Don't buy the Hype! Peppers, Taylor, Robinson, Rolle, Dansby, etc. Hyped a lot more than their production would warrant.
Someone tell me what tape to watch last year where Texans corner Dunta Robinson covered anyone. How can he get over $23 million guaranteed? The Falcons needed a corner, and after signing Robinson, they still need a corner….
The offseason is always exciting but I try not to let myself get carried away into the World of Madden where almost every trade or signing is a good one and if it isn't you just hit reset. It's not so easy in the real world but a good football guy like Pioli knows it'll take a little more work to put it all together.