This was a monumental day among the AFC West. Manning's decision was one of epic proportions. The Denver
Donkeys Broncos landed one of the most valuable free agents of all time since the likes of: Deion Sanders, Drew Brees and Reggie White. Manning Watch 2012 seems to be over, pending negotiations, and we must be patient with how this all unfolds. However seeing Peyton in a Denver uniform will be hard. I may have to adjust my TV once or twice to make sure I'm seeing that correctly. Nonetheless Peyton signed where he wanted to and as a Chiefs fan I hope to provide a case as to why that was the wrong AFC team. I started to try and break it down in my head as to what the Broncos had to offer in comparison with what the Chiefs have by position.
I was hearing our local media outlets praise our defense and offensive skill positions in an attempt at making a case for Manning (and I agreed with them). Apparently Manning did not see it that way but why? More after the jump
The Broncos, even though they won the division last season, still do not have the fire power that the Chiefs have at their disposal. Let's look at position by position offensively of what the Chiefs had to offer in comparison:
Protecting the blindside of the quarterback is one of the most highest paid positions in the league for a reason. While both being first round selections in the 2008 draft Clady has yet to miss a game while Albert has only missed four games to date. Branden Albert has been still been questioned as our leader of the left side of the line while Clady remains one of the top of the league of left tackles. Clady has been named to two pro bowls and finished third among the Diet Pepsi Rookie of the Year offensively in his rookie season. Although I am of the belief Branden Albert is a dark-horse of the top tier left tackles in the league however on paper Clady trumps Albert.
Winner: Ryan Clady
Obviously Ryan Lilja this off-season may be contemplating one of if not the biggest decisions in his football career and that is the thought of retirement. If he stayed Peyton would have been familiar with his blocking style and likewise he would have been familiar with Peyton's adjustments on the fly. If Lilja retired we could address a then glaring need along the offensive line. Some mock drafts have already had us taking David Decastro out of Stanford regardless of the Lilja scenario. Decastro has been thought of by the NFL gurus of the world as to be one of if not the best guards available in this Aprils draft that can jump in and make a huge impact on day one. On the flip-side Zane Beadles is a second round pick in 2010 who has great upside. He's been a consistent player along the line for the Broncos. However the competition falls when Beadles may be hitting his prime now yet he's been just consistent for the Broncos. If Peyton would have signed with the Chiefs that part of the line would have needed to be addressed.
Winner: Lilja/ Decastro
Center: JD Walton vs. Rodney Hudson
For now Hudson remains the only center on the Chiefs roster with any experience. After only starting one game in 2011 he waited in the reigns of Casey Wiegmann. He was drafted in the 2011 draft and will likely become our starting center. Our fan base has high expectations for the second round pick and hopefully he excels with his opportunity. JD Walton on the other hand has had more experience than the converted center in Rodney Hudson. JD has been in the longer and has adapted to Tebow's ways. He started all 16 games in 2011 and worked well with Tebow. He would then have to get accustomed to a new quarterbacks strengths and weaknesses. Hudson never really got into the rotation here in KC therefore less adaptation is necessary.
Winner: Rodney Hudson
Right Guard: Chris Kuper vs. Jon Asomoah
Chris Kuper is one of the veterans along a young Denver line. Being a fifth round selection in the 2006 draft he has become a leader and according to Willis McGahee from the Denver Post "Kupe is a big part of the offensive line, and those guys really played for him," That kind of player is vital to every team. Kuper is a solid player and a leader in the clubhouse. However he suffered a dislocated left ankle injury while facing the Chiefs January 1, 2012. This injury will make the off-season more of a rehabilitation period rather than fitness and working with his teammates. This would only slow the progression of a newly acquired quarterback. However Jon Asomoah is another young talent along the Chiefs offensive line. He's like clay that just needs to be formed in the greatest piece by arguably one of the greatest artists of our time.
Winner: Jon Asomoah
Eric Winston, arguably one of the easiest pickups in the free agency period in the Piolian era. He solidifies a good line in 2011 and makes the right side incredibly better. Without Barry Richardson to lie on his back to let the defense "barry" (see what I did there) our quarterback we have the chance at becoming an elite offensive line. On the other side we have Orlando Franklin. Franklin is another young play-maker along the Broncos offensive line. Being drafted in the second round of 2011 he has walked in and started from day one solidifying the right side of the line. He would then have to adjust to the veteran Peyton Manning and a different looking offense. Eric Winston has been in the league and the blocking scheme would be similar here in KC to the one he played for in Houston. With that being said if I were Manning I see the veteran significantly better than the second year player.
Winner: Eric Winston
Demaryius Thomas is an inconsistent receiver. He can go off and have a game for well over 100 yards or become hidden among the wide receivers on the field. His inconsistency is only part of the problem. Thomas has also battled the injury bug. He's missed most of the 2011 season with an Achilles tear although he went out that post season and had a 200 yard game with a td against the Steelers. However Dwayne Bowe is in the prime of his career one of the top wide receivers in the league. Even with having Tyler Palko quarterback for a good majority of the season last season he still finished among the top 15 in the league in receiving yards. I don't need to say much more Dwayne Bowe is a true number 1 option for a quarterback. If you were playing quarterback who would you rather have?
Winner: Dwayne Bowe
Jonathan Baldwin vs. Eric Decker
Eric Decker started as a special teams player and his role expanded last season. The trade that sent Brandon Lloyd to St. Louis really sparked the start of Eric Decker's career. Decker may be a viable option for a team who doesn't have much depth at wide receiver. Although Baldwin may become one of the next best young and coming wide outs in the league. I labeled inconsistency when i talked about Thomas above and I will mention it again here regarding Baldwin however the difference is that last year Baldwin was a rookie. He also missed the first four games with a minor scuffle with Thomas Jones. Even with the minor setbacks we've seen times of brilliance and then there are the rookie mistakes that he commits. I can see him becoming something elite and with having a real quarterback to throw him the football he could make a large step in the 2012 season.
Winner: Jonathon Baldwin
Jamal Charles vs. Knowshon Moreno
This debate is almost laughable. However Jamal is coming off of surgery after his ACL injury and no one knows how he will recover but as a Chiefs fan we can only be optimistic. He ran for Jim Brown numbers a season ago and I for one still label him as a real threat to opposing defenses. Knowshon has come into his own these last few years. His numbers are telling as well. His average YPA increase to 4.8 by last year but no offense to Knowshon but he isn't even in the same room as Jamal Charles. Jamal Charles is easily one of the best backs in the league to date.
Winner: Jamal Charles
With all this being said I will not believe from a personal standpoint that that was the reason Peyton didn't feel like the Chiefs weren't a real option. This has to be the ownership and General Manager. We have the right pieces for a run at a championship in the next couple years and we don't NEED Peyton for that but it would have helped. Cassel will do fine if he returns to his 2010 form. I thought Peyton was looking to win and that the NFC wasn't an option because of competing with his brother. If that's the case then we provided the best personal more than those pesky Denver Broncos. I read a tweet by Brandon Flower's that made me smile and I hope he was referring to the Peyton to Denver news. The tweet: That Wasn't Smart.