Absent an NFL lockout scare we'd be entering our fourth day of free agency and figuring out which players the Kansas City Chiefs have signed or are on the verge of signing. Instead, we're still trying to figure out who the Chiefs will keep as the lockout has delayed free agency.
The Chiefs had 25 players without a contract entering the 2011 offseason. The only player the team has made any sort of public announcement on is LB Tamba Hali, who received the franchise tag. So, going only by press releases, Hali is the only "official" move made.
There have been more, though, according to various media reports. Check out this story for an explanation of the difficulties the Chiefs face with some of their restricted free agents and how they'll fit in the next CBA (which could be done by Friday...or August).
With that in mind, I broke down those 24 remaining players into basically who we know is sticking around, who isn't and what the Chiefs options are with the others.
These are the restricted players that have been tendered: DE Wallace Gilberry, CB Brandon Carr, LB Cory Greenwood, OT Barry Richardson and S Reshard Langford.
The Chiefs have made the first step in keeping these players by offering a tender (or, in Greenwood's case, actually signing a contract). Carr was the big fish among the Chiefs restricted free agents so the Chiefs do control his rights. Not that it means anything but the Chiefs gave LB Derrick Johnson a first round tender last year and then signed him to a long-term extension, so there's a precedent for getting a tender and a long-term deal. The Chiefs also placed second round tenders on Gilberry and Richardson.
These are the restricted players that were not tendered: FB Tim Castille, CB Maurice Leggett, OT Ryan O'Callaghan and RB Jackie Battle.
Adam Teicher of the KC Star reported Castille, O'Callaghan and Battle didn't receive tenders while Leggett tweeted that he was leaving Kansas City. Castille did a radio show last week and sounded like a guy who was coming back to Kansas City which is a good segway into reminding you that it's possible he, or others, return after free agency starts (perhaps at a cheaper rate than the tender).
These are the restricted players we're not sure about: TE Brad Cottam, FB Mike Cox, QB Brodie Croyle, TE Leonard Pope, LB Corey Mays and C Rudy Niswanger.
We haven't heard anything on these players. What's interesting is that Croyle, Pope, Mays and Niswanger would all be unrestricted free agents if the threshold for unrestricted free agency reverts back to four years in a new labor deal, which many expect to happen. In fact, no reports have said the Chiefs have signed any of their in-limbo fourth and fifth year guys that are restricted free agents now but may become unrestricted depending on the new labor deal. Is that a hint on where GM Scott Pioli thinks the rules on unrestricted free agents are headed in the next CBA?
These are the unrestricted free agents and we're not sure about any of them: NT Ron Edwards, DE Shaun Smith, WR Terrance Copper, S Jon McGraw, C Casey Wiegmann, LB Charlie Anderson, WR Kevin Curtis, CB Travis Daniels and LB Mike Vrabel.
We don't know, officially, where any of these guys are headed but I can tell you what I would do. I would bring back Edwards along with Smith, Copper, McGraw, Daniels as well as Wiegmann depending on retirement. I would also think hard about Curtis to keep him in my offseason program. As for for Vrabel, I think the Chiefs need to let the next guy up take that spot. We're not sure where Vrabel stands on retirement anyway. As far as we can tell, there have been no media reports on any of these players. Also, it's important to note that Croyle, Pope, Mays and Niswanger could join this unrestricted free agent group if the next CBA changes the rules back to normal pre-2010.