Chiefs Free Agency: These Four Guys Need To Stay

KANSAS CITY MO - JANUARY 09: Defensive tackle Shaun Smith #90 of the Kansas City Chiefs cries on the bench after losing 30-7 to of the Baltimore Ravens in the 2011 AFC wild card playoff game at Arrowhead Stadium on January 9 2011 in Kansas City Missouri. (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)

I've been working on a free agency plan for the Kansas City Chiefs and my story is getting a little long so for those of you with attention issues, which includes myself and my six cups of coffee, I decided to break this down into multiple stories posted throughout the day.

After the jump, I have all the Chiefs unrestricted free agents listed. In this story, I have the four guys I think the Chiefs really need to keep on that list, and the next story is a list of six guys the Chiefs should keep if the price is right, and the story after that is five guys they shouldn't be in a hurry to keep. And then, after that, we'll take a look at the Chiefs restricted free agents and who should stay and go.

Basically, it's going to be a free agency filled day.

So, without further ado, here are the Chiefs unrestricted free agents and the list of guys they have to keep:

Unrestricted free agents: NT Ron Edwards, DE Shaun Smith, WR Terrance Copper, S Jon McGraw, C Casey Wiegmann, LB Charlie Anderson, WR Kevin Curtis, CB Travis Daniels, LB Mike Vrabel, FB Tim Castille, OT Ryan O'Callaghan, LB Corey Mays, TE Leonard Pope, C Rudy Niswanger and QB Brodie Croyle.

These guys need to stay: Edwards, Smith, Copper and Wiegmann.

These guys could all come back and be starters (or a regular contributor in Copper's case).  Edwards is a no-brainer for 2011 in my opinion. He's getting up there a little bit in age so hopefully he can hold down the fort for most of the season while NT Jerrell Powe sits behind him and learns the position from a seasoned vet. I would expect the Chiefs to bring Edwards back.

On the other hand, there's Smith, who is an interesting character. I would love -- love -- if he were back because he brings a lot more personality to this team and he's one of the top two defensive ends. But what about DE Tyson Jackson? Who plays between those two? The Chiefs absolutely should keep Smith, in my opinion. But will they? That's a tougher answer. Based on the play on the field, which the Chiefs say is what really matters, Smith needs to return.

Copper is a solid special teams contributor even if he doesn't do much offensively (other than catch 50-yard passes). Not sure why he would be replaced unless there was a better option. I'm not sure that there is.

The final guy I consider a must keep, Wiegmann, wouldn't have been a must keep without the lockout. But because rookie Rodney Hudson hasn't been in a single organized Chiefs practice to date, we don't know who he is. We don't know if he can start and we don't know if he's the best man for the job so Wiegmann needs to stay to bridge the gap.

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