SAN DIEGO, CA - SEPTEMBER 25: Running back Mike Tolbert #35 of the San Diego Chargers carries the ball past safety Sabby Piscitelli #42 of the Kansas City Chiefs at Qualcomm Stadium on September 25, 2011 in San Diego, California. The Chargers won 20-17. (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
An hour or so into free agency and we were all freaking out thinking Kansas City Chiefs GM Scott Pioli forgot about the start of free agency. But by about 9:00 p.m. last night we found out the Chiefs had multiple visits scheduled with some really good players.
The players expected to visit the Chiefs are as follows:
[Click the link on the player's name to go to our original story on the visit.]
OT Eric Winston: The Houston Texans surprised us all by cutting him on the free agency eve. His first visit is to the Miami Dolphins, which is concerning. He has a brother that works in the Miami front office (as a scout) so that's an obvious connection. Along with Miami, he's visiting the Chiefs and St. Louis Rams.
This makes just a ridiculous amount of sense for the Chiefs. Huge area of need and a major surprise cut. When the Chiefs talk about being flexible with the cap? Part of that is guys that unexpectedly hit the market like Kyle Orton or, in this case, Winston.
As icing on the top, by many accounts Winston is a stand-up guy and well established in the Houston community.
RB Peyton Hilis: The "big back" to go with Jamaal Charles. He's 6'1" and 240 pounds. He's also only 26 years old with limited wear and tear -- only 512 career carries. He's been seeking a new contract for some time now, something that reportedly caused problems in Cleveland.
I don't think the Chiefs should be the ones to give him that big contract but if Hillis wants to get his career straight by signing a short-term deal with KC, I'm all about that. Sometimes the best deals are the short ones where players are trying to establish themselves again.
RB Mike Tolbert: This is my guy. I'm a big Tolbert fan. 5'9", 243 pounds and just 26 years old, Tolbert makes sense on a number of levels for the Chiefs. He fits the big back profile that the Chiefs are looking for and he has some versatility having caught 54 passes last season.
He had 182 carries for 735 yards two years ago and 121 carries for 490 yards last season. The best part? He has 19 rushing touchdowns in the last two seasons. He knows how to punch it in and that's an area the Chiefs have struggled with.
There are reportedly at least five teams interested in Tolbert.
TE John Carlson: Coming out of Notre Dame, Carlson was the 38th overall pick in the 2008 NFL draft and he quickly showed off that talent catching 55 balls for 627 yards in his rookie season. The success continued in year two with 574 yards receiving.
Carlson's production took a big dip in year three as he had just 31 receptions for 318 yards. The next season, 2011, ended before it really started. He suffered a season-ending shoulder injury in preseason. The fact that he was injured for the entire year hurts his value (which in turn gives the Chiefs a better deal).
He has a couple of visits set up, including the Minnesota Vikings.
More Chiefs free agency news (and a list of all the Chiefs free agents here):
Finnegan's numbers are in, waiting on Carr | Mike Tolbert has five teams interested | BenJarvus Green-Ellis has multiple suitors | Eric Winston visiting Chiefs | Peyton Hilils, Mike Tolbert visiting Chiefs | 49ers in on Brandon Carr | John Carlson visiting Chiefs | No tender for Tyler Palko | Kyle Orton visiting Cowboys | Brandon Carr visiting Cowboys