KANSAS CITY MO - JANUARY 09: Defensive tackle Shaun Smith #90 of the Kansas City Chiefs reacts after a play against the Baltimore Ravens during their 2011 AFC wild card playoff game at Arrowhead Stadium on January 9 2011 in Kansas City Missouri. (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
I'm sure we've done one of these lists before of what the Kansas City Chiefs need to do when the NFL lockout ends but I noticed a simple list at Bolts From The Blue today that breaks down the post-lockout priority list. I've swiped a few of those things on the list and added another one.
1. Re-sign your own guys. NT Ron Edwards? DE Shaun Smith? Who's coming back? This is step one for the Chiefs. They know what their impending free agents can do and, with a shorter offseason, they don't have the luxury of bringing guys in who aren't familiar with their offense or defense. I'd argue that retaining their own guys is more important this year than any other year because of the time factor. I'd also argue that there are a couple of guys who will be re-signed when the lockout is over that, in a normal league year that started in March, wouldn't have been re-signed.
2. Sign some undrafted free agents. I would bet the Chiefs have an idea of what undrafted free agents they want to sign. And, even though it's against the rules, some teams have probably already talked to those players (or their agents) to indicate they want to sign them. We can only hope the Chiefs have done the same to improve their competitive advantage. (Rules? I don't need no stinkin' rules!) Because there's more time, and less of a free agency period, I can see a scenario where the top undrafted free agents are getting more money than other years. These coaching staffs have had time to sit down all offseason and study some of this tape so they have a better idea who they want.
3. Fill out the roster with some other team's free agents. Bolts From The Blue has this third on the priority list but I'd probably move it up to second. The Chiefs generally aren't big players in the first few days of free agency. GM Scott Pioli has told me and said publicly that you usually overpay for players on day one. That's not to say he won't be involved but traditionally he looks at the second and third waves of free agency as a better value.
4. Sign the draft picks. Folks look at this as an afterthought but this could turn into a bit of an issue. The second the lockout is lifted, the clock will be ticking on getting the draft picks signed. Though it may be bending the rules, I hope the Chiefs have talked to the agents of their draft picks to get a general idea of the contract they expect. Not only will they not have much time, they could also be working with a new set of rules if the rookie wage scale goes through in the next CBA. I just don't want someone like WR Jonathan Baldwin to get off on the wrong foot with the team and the fans by missing camp or not being ready for the preseason.
The next step is diving into each of these issues a little deeper. Yes, they want to sign their own guys but which guys? Which undrafted free agents should the Chiefs target? Which free agents will be available? How much can the draft picks expect to be paid?
(Editor's note: After I wrote all this I noticed Josh Looney of KCChiefs.com has a post-lockout agenda that is, frankly, better than my list. Check his out. The medical records one makes a lot of sense.)