From the FanPosts -Joel
As the end of the 2013 season gets closer and closer,
the numerous draftniks, free agent watch dogs, and coaching fanboys here on AP are gearing up for the endless debates about who should be targeted in the upcoming offseason. Intense strategies, that will never be heard by anyone of any importance, will be drawn up on the best ways for the Chiefs to improve moving forward. Terms like "Quarterback of the future (QBOTF)", "natural position", "ceiling/floor", "injury concerns", "fits the scheme", "for what we do", and "sleeper" will be thrown around all over AP ... to the point that many of the more casual readers will probably get sick of it. But what can I say? Some of us absolutely love the schemes, planning, and intricacies associated with running an NFL franchise.
Well, it's finally here! My hope is that over the past couple of weeks I have provided you all with some kind of framework for looking at who is available to the Chiefs this offseason. Too often, I find that fans get locked onto one idea and try to build around that rather than looking at a whole concept. We all know the major needs for our roster, and we all know what other areas should be addressed as well. The goal isn't to just address these things, but to do so in a way that optimizes the approach and puts the team in the best possible position to win going forward. So, without further ado, I give you my comprehensive offseason plan for the Kansas City Chiefs.
Current Speculated Salary Cap Space: $2.5 mil ($6.2 mil)
The Chiefs don't have a lot of open cap space right now, but they do have the means to create space. First of all, it is important to remember that this current figure is including the multiple signings the Chiefs have had over the past few weeks. We were very active in Future/Reserve contracts, and that has taken us from $6.2 mil down to $2.5 mil very quickly. A lot of that money will be freed up soon after we start the actual offseason process.
There are also several players who can be restructured, traded, or just outright cut. There is a decent amount of money to be had in that area, so we do have money available to work with.
Free Agent Departures:
Branden Albert - Last season showed us that Albert wants to be paid and the Chiefs are not willing to meet his price. They drafted an OT No. 1 overall and then tried to trade Albert. The writing has been on the wall for a while.
Tyson Jackson - Some folks want him back, but I don't see how he truly benefits us. He has almost no pass-rushing capability. In today's NFL, you have to be able to get pressure on the QB from multiple positions.
Jon Asamoah - Coming into the season, many thought Big Jon was our best O-lineman. However, it appears that he is just lost in Andy Reid's offense. It's unfortunate, but sometimes things just don't work.
Kendrick Lewis - If you could combine Lewis' football IQ with Demps athleticism, you'd have a helluva player. But you can't, so we don't.
Tamba Hali to New Orleans for 2nd (#58) and 6th (#194) Rd picks - Tamba is certainly a fan favorite in Kansas City, but he does have some clear limitations. He has never been strong against the run, which is something teams have been able to exploit in the past. As a pass-rusher, he is really a one-trick pony. He's very good at that one trick, but opposing linemen know it's coming. We can complain about him getting held...but what has that achieved in the past? There is also the question of age and durability. Hali is very strong early in the season, but the wear and tear shows on him as the year progresses. Trading Hali would also open up $5.5 mil in cap space this year and $9 mil in 2015. That's some valuable cap space.
Chase Daniel + 6th Rd pick (#186) to Tampa Bay for 4th Rd pick (#101) - This is dependent on Tyler Bray making progress, but Chase Daniel has a pretty bad contract on our books. Meanwhile, the Bucs are in a situation where they need to add an adequate backup who won't put a lot of pressure on Mike Glennon. That fits Chase Daniel perfectly. Daniel is supposed to be good in the film room, but doesn't have anywhere near the kind of resume that will get fans chanting for him during a game. Those are both positives if the Bucs are sticking with Glennon. This trade also adds $1.4 mil in cap space for the Chiefs.
Dunta Robinson - This is really only if he doesn't retire. Robinson just can't do it anymore, and I think he knows it. This is the kind of guy who could go on to be a coach if he wants to, but the game has passed him by physically. Very similar to the situation when we had Ty Law and Pat Surtain...if only we'd had them 3-4 years before. This opens up $3.3 mil.
Donnie Avery - Whether you like Avery or not, I don't think there is any way you can argue he is worth the money the Chiefs will be spending on him. The Chiefs can certainly upgrade the WR position, and the money saved by removing Avery would help with that. This opens up $1.35 mil.
Cyrus Gray - No MOAR Gray - At this point, he should be easily replaceable. Gray simply doesn't offer anything that the Chiefs really need. With the devaluing of quality RBs these days, the Chiefs shouldn't have any problem in finding a guy to take this spot.
After all these trades and cuts (as well as some of the other bottom of the roster types), the Chiefs should have roughly $19 mil to use this offseason (and $35 mil available in 2015). That's more than enough to make some quality offseason additions.
Free Agent Retentions:
-Camp invites in italics
Dexter McCluster - This should not be set in stone, but Dex and the Chiefs should at least spend a good amount of time talking about it. Andy Reid seems to understand how to use McCluster, so it would seem to be mutually beneficial. But I wouldn't tie up a lot of money on this.
Akeem Jordan - He's earned a shot to keep his job. Another guy who shouldn't be set in stone on our roster, but put him in competition with Nico Johnson and James-Michael Johnson to see who comes out on top.
Frank Zombo - Same situation as Jordan. Bring him back and let him compete for a spot.
Hussain Abdullah - The only guy who looked even competent at FS this year. There is a rumor flying around that he may retire, but if that is unfounded, then bringing him back is a no-brainer.
Geoff Schwartz - I'm not as high on Schwartz as some folks, but he is an outstanding option as a backup player. I just don't want him to be a starter.
Kyle Williams - Injured before we got a chance to see him, but that should only help keep his price tag low. With as bad as our WR corps was, there's no reason not to give him a chance.
Free Agent Signings:
Jason Worilds - OLB - Steelers: Hopefully this gets some of you to put away the pitchforks and torches from the Tamba trade. Worilds stepped up in a big way this year and showed himself to be a valuable asset both as a pass rusher and a run stopper. He's also young and has fresh legs. And with only one quality season in the books, he's not going to break the bank in terms of contract. The Steelers are in a tricky situation because they drafted Jarvis Jones last year and still have Lamaar Woodley under contract, so also paying Worilds is not likely.
Hakeem Nicks - WR - Giants: Since the rumors about Maclin re-signing with the Eagles have really picked up recently, I'm going to shift gears and put the focus on Nicks. He's a speedster with home run ability. More talented than Donnie Avery, but with limited production the past two years, he won't be that much more expensive...if at all. At 25 years old, the Chiefs could look to sign him long-term, but he should also be a good one/two year option that will make our WR corps stronger as a whole.
Andre Roberts - WR - Cardinals: I think this could be the steal of the offseason. Roberts has shown the ability to play in both a #2 or #3 WR role. I would take either Roberts or Nicks as a replacement to Avery, so having either as our #2 is a step in the right direction in my book. He has some ST value as well, which is something the Chiefs like to have. This would give us a talented WR corps that we can build around at a reasonable cost, and allows the Chiefs to address other issues early in the draft.
Mike Mitchell - FS - Panthers: Mitchell isn't going to light the world on fire with his play, but he's also not going to have a weekly thread on AP devoted to his demise either. He's good enough to be a stop gap veteran to pair with a young player. The bonus here is that Mitchell won't carry any guaranteed money, so it's an open competition between him and Abdullah.
Captain Munnerlyn - CB - Panthers: Another low-cost, solid option player. Munnerlyn is a guy who can play inside or outside as needed. He's young enough to be what we wanted Dunta Robinson to be. A reliable depth player who can be moved around.
Frostee Rucker - DE - Cardinals: Rucker isn't going to cost much at all, and he is capable of being a situational pass rusher that can provide the extra push we need on passing downs. This signing would put Allen Bailey on notice to either sink or swim, and the Chiefs can easily take which ever player performs the best in training camp.
John Jerry - OG - Dolphins: More of a depth signing than anything, John Jerry has the ability to play OG or RT. He appeared to be out of place in the Dolphins offense, and whether that is because he just wasn't a good fit or simply not good enough remains to be seen. He should be available on a veteran minimum contract, so there's not much lost by picking him up to compete.
Rex Grossman - QB - Redskins: A journeyman with some success as both a starter and a backup, Grossman would cost less than the money we saved in the Chase Daniel trade. He's also not going to command a roster spot, so the Chiefs could cut him if they feel they have better options from younger players.
Fred Davis - TE - Redskins: Don't get it twisted, Davis is not the same player he once was. However, a chance to rebound might just be what he needs, and the Chiefs do have some questions at TE. He can't demand much in a contract at this point, so bring him in and give him a chance to compete for the job. Best case scenario is that he beats out Anthony Fasano and we can cut another big contract. Worst case scenario is that he gets injured...and we are no worse off than we were.
1st: Kony Ealy - DE - Mizzou: Ealy is an absolute beast. He is capable of getting penetration in both the run and passing game. He lacks some technique, and needs to develop his pass rushing repetoire, but he has good enough ability as is to push for a starting position on our roster.
2nd: Pierre Desir - CB - Lindenwood: Desir has picked up a lot of attention recently, as many small school guys do this time of year. I think it's a little bit of a gamble to take a small school guy like this so early, but with Flowers, Smith, Cooper, and Munnerlyn (in this scenario), the Chiefs are in a good position to take that gamble.
3rd: Morgan Moses - OT - Viriginia: It's a deep OT draft, and as a result, guys like Moses are available much later than they should be. Moses has tremendous size and strength that should make him an ideal fit at RT or either OG spot. He should be a versatile backup early on, but has the potential to take a starting job by the end of the year.
4th: Vinnie Sunseri - SS - Alabama: There has been a good deal of talk about moving Eric Berry to FS. Well, that can't happen without finding someone to play SS in his place. Sunseri should be a 2nd/3rd rd prospect, but his injury this past year has held his stock back. While on the field, he was impressive though. He could be the kind of player that would allow Berry to move into that FS role. And if not, he should still be decent enough to put on the field in a role that allows us to keep moving Berry around.
4th: Justin Ellis - NT - Louisiana Tech: Dontari Poe was on the field way too much this year. He's a fantastic talent and an athletic freak, but we have to let him catch a breather every now and then. And it's clear that neither Jerrell Powe or Jaye Howard are the answer. Ellis is an extremely athletic NT with great size. He doesn't do anything as well as Poe does, but he is good enough to hold his own in spot duty and in situations where we need to get big against the run.
5th: Jonathan Dowling - FS - Western Kentucky: A potential late round steal right here. Dowling would be a 2nd rd prospect (at least) if he hadn't been kicked out of Florida. He has all of the athletic traits you want in a FS, and knows how to play the position. But his off the field problems, including skipping practices at Florida, hold him down in the later rounds. He hasn't been much of a problem, if at all, in Western Kentucky, so hopefully that means he's learned his lesson.
6th: Tyler Starr - OLB - South Dakota: Starr has been a productive player for the Coyotes. He received a lot of honors this past year, but being an FCS player, and also some character concerns, keeps his draft stock low. He has a nose for the ball and seems to have a very sound understanding on how to force fumbles (13 in his career at South Dakota). Also a sound pass rusher and makes a lot of plays in the backfield.
6th: TJ Jones - WR - Notre Dame: Jones shined against poor competition, but disappeared against good teams. Jones isn't going to be a superstar in the NFL, but with the additions of Hakeem Nicks and Andre Roberts, we don't need him to. All we need from Jones is for him to become a rotational player in our WR corps, and I think he can achieve that. He should certainly be able to compete against Hemingway, Williams, and Jenkins.
Connor Shaw - QB - South Carolina: The QB class is deep and a number of the more highly rated players will already be falling. That means a guy like Shaw can easily be on the outside looking in. He doesn't have the prototypical size and he isn't pretty to watch, but he is effective. There's no harm in giving him a shot.
Isaiah Crowell - RB - Alabama St: Another guy with excellent talent but off the field problems. Crowell is shifty and explosive, but keep an eye on the company he keeps. He was kicked out of Georgia after being arrested on felony weapons charges (that were dropped). Could be a steal if he has learned his lesson.
So that's how I would like to see this offseason play out. I think we can make some quality additions to our roster that makes this team better all around. I know some people will have an issue with trading Tamba and Chase, but I don't see either player as being essential to our success...so we should be prepared to move on from them. The goal of the offseason is to make the TEAM better as a whole, and you can't do that by being sentimental about particular players.
For more coverage, check out the previously published editions of "Looking Ahead".
PS. Mr. Dorsey, if you're reading this, you're welcome.