The Chiefs’ personnel moves have so far underwhelmed in my view. They cut Eric Winston for reasons we still don’t understand, and this opened a hole in the roster that had been adequately staffed. John Dorsey took care of business in keeping Bowe, Albert, and Colquitt, but they are long-time Chiefs and bring no new excitement to the roster. Alex Smith is a passable quarterback if properly used (I hope to have a future post on this subject in early April), but I doubt he’ll ever be the franchise QB that we all yearn to see. The signing of the untested Chase Daniel indicates that the Chiefs probably will not draft a QB until day 3 of the draft, if then. As for the rest, none of these players can be described as high-impact free agents.
However, I noticed some themes emerging as I put together the chart shown below (NB: I've updated the FA table with the Sean Smith and Donnie Avery signings and will continue to do so for the next week or so):
1. Most of the players are in their professional prime.
2. Most of the players have NFL experience.
3. Only three of the contracts extend beyond 3 years.
What this tells me is that Dorsey and Reid think they know what they can count on from these players. There’s film on them, and management doesn’t have to make too many guesses when projecting what they’ll bring to the team. The players have had a chance to develop their football skills and combine that development with peak physical performance. The Chiefs can reasonably expect to be getting the best of what they have to offer. Best of all, the contracts are short enough to minimize risk – the team can cut ties without suffering too much harm if things don’t work out.
The big picture emerging here is that the Chiefs are stocking positions of need with mid-priced veterans. This is as it should be – even the best teams have only a handful of highly paid stars and 10-15 mid-tier players bearing cap hits of $3-$6 million per year. The rest of the players are on their rookie contracts or make the league minimum. If the new front office is showing this level of competency in how they do business, then I have hopes for how well their decisions will play out. Maybe, just maybe, the players they have signed will deliver on expectations.
While I endorse this approach, I do have one misgiving about what the Chiefs have done since Tuesday. By all accounts, Daniel, DeVito, and Fasano attracted interest from other teams, so it’s understandable that the Chiefs moved quickly to sign them. Even so, the contract values leave me with a case of sticker shock. Seriously, $10 million for a backup QB and $16 million for an average TE? Couldn’t the Chiefs have waited a day or 2 to let the market settle a bit? They might not have landed their first choice at these positions, but they might have gotten 90% of the player for 50 cents on the dollar.
In fact, I believe we’ll see this dynamic come into play when signing another cornerback and a couple of linebackers. [Update: I was wrong about the CB. The Chiefs just signed Sean Smith for 3 years and $18 million. Yikes!] There’s a relative glut at these positions and it appears that teams are sitting back and waiting for the market to come to them. I look forward to seeing what the Chiefs will do here.
The table below lists the players signed by John Dorsey since he became GM in January.
|-- Dollar figures are shown in thousands. Thus, "$56,000" is actually $56,000,000.|
|-- "G" is the number of regular season games in which the player was on the active roster.|
|-- "GS" denotes games started.|