Even though the NFL season is still happening, it's the offseason as far as the Kansas City Chiefs are concerned.
After going 2-14 in 2012, the Chiefs had a tremendous offseason by nabbing John Dorsey, Andy Reid, Alex Smith, Sean Smith, Anthony Fasano, Mike DeVito, Donnie Avery, Marcus Cooper, Chase Daniel and the draft class, while also trading for Anthony Sherman.
With all the new faces among others, Kansas City enjoyed a tremendous turnaround, going 11-5 and making the playoffs for the first time since 2010. Of course, the Chiefs then choked epically, but that's another story.
Now, Kansas City must have another strong few months to make this team take the leap from solid to legitimate contender. Here are five things they must do to make that happen:
1. Sign those extensions
We all know about Smith's contract having only one year left on it, but what about Justin Houston and Eric Berry? All three are slated to be free agents after next season. If the Chiefs are serious about being Super Bowl contenders, they need to make all three a part of their long-term plans.
Chiefs want to extend Alex's contract
One day after we wondered what the Kansas City Chiefs would do with Alex Smith's contract, there is a report that they will try to extend it before the 2014 NFL season begins.
How can they fit all of them under the cap? Consider some hard decisions (Donnie Avery), other not so hard ones (Dunta Robinson), let Branden Albert walk and restructure the deal of Tamba Hali. It can and should happen on all fronts.
2. Get a free safety
Kendrick Lewis hasn't been playing well, and that's a major problem under Bob Sutton's defense. Sutton loves to play a ton of single-high safety with Berry down in the box to create havoc. If Lewis is the single-high man, it's all over as proven repeatedly this season.
Whether the Chiefs draft a safety or find it in their budget to sign one makes no difference. What does matter is they go and get a player who is suited to a center field role. Kansas City already has its thumper in Berry, now it needs a ballhawk who can read route combinations and react.
3. Add another pass rusher
I love the way Tyson Jackson defends the run, but I can't say the same for his pass rush ability. Outside of Dontari Poe, Tamba Hali and Houston, the Chiefs have little chance of hitting the quarterback without blitzing. Now, that's a lot of firepower, but in sub-packages Kansas City could use a little boost.
The Chiefs need to find a player like Wallace Gilberry was for them in 2010. Just a guy who comes in for obvious passing downs and does nothing but rush the quarterback. This can be a very inexpensive player if Dorsey has a keen eye, as he'll only play a handful of snaps. It would make a huge difference having a proven pass-rusher coming in on third down instead of Allen Bailey.
4. Give Dwayne Bowe help
All week it's been an argument around here about Bowe's ability. Let me point this out: Without him, the Chiefs are an awful offense. They would have no ability to throw the football more than five yards. In other words, if he goes down for any length of time, it's a huge issue.
This year's draft class is loaded with quality wide receivers. It might be time to invest in a quality player such as a Marqise Lee out of USC or Javon Landry of LSU. Avery is not the answer and while Dexter McCluster is a nice slot receiver, he's not any kind of 1,000-yard receiving threat. Reid and Dorsey need to add a man on the outside.
5. Re-sign Geoff Schwartz
This might seem like a small thing, but Schwartz really showed he can play. Both Schwartz and Jon Asamoah are free agents, and I'm of the opinion Schwartz is a better fit. Without him, the Chiefs would have been in a tough spot considering his versatility.
Schwartz isn't going to cost a ton and with a multi-year deal, Kansas City can rest easy knowing it has a capable player that can start in multiple spots. Sign the man and move on.