With the head coach in place, and coaches beginning to shake out, the rampant speculation around here shows just how excited we are to be Chiefs fans right now. It's not going to get a whole lot better than this from a "time for speculation" standpoint. With that in mind, here's my opinion (and first FanPost) of what this offseason can do for 2009 and beyond.
Pioli has shown us that he's willing to pay for good players, and sometimes give up draft picks for them, a la Wes Welker and Randy Moss. However, he's proven to do it mainly with established teams, of which we are not. We have TONS of cap room, so the freedom that comes with that is enticing, especially when you consider cutting Surtain and Donnie Edwards frees up even more. Even so, he's a draft guy through and through. I think we'll use some of that space on FA, but at the end of it , we're not going to be sitting with a -0- balance.
With that said, I think a "splash" into FA will occur. Looking at our holes, and the current FA prospects available (I won't list them, as they've been analyzed ad nauseam around here), there's few "splashes" in the FA pool. We all agree d-line and LB's need help badly. I think we'd also all agree that the right side of the o-line needs some help as well. There aren't any players I'd deem worth of "splashing" on for the right side of our o-line (Gross would cost way too much for an RT). D-line is Peppers (wants to play in the 3-4, doesn't care what defense he's in...make up your mind and stop thinking about just money, kid!) and Haynesworth. LB's are Suggs (they'll pay Ray-Ray) and Dansby. Personally, I'd like us to go with the 3-4 (another argument for another time), and in my mind, that screams Suggs.
Other FA moves will happen (I vote Vilma as well), but I think it's pretty unrealistic to think that Peppers/Suggs, or even Haynesworth/Dansby could happen to this team.
The Larry Situation
He doesn't have a home here, and everyone knows it. Teams that could want him include Seattle, New England, and Cleveland. I say package the guy and our first round pick and see what happens. Cleveland's unlikely, as doing so means they'd get a first round pick, then don't draft again until round 4...and they need the picks. Seattle could happen, but moving up one pick and giving up a second rounder? Also unlikely. Enter New England. They're also looking to bolster their LB Corps, specifically the OLB position, where the best rated LB in the draft happens to be falling. The Pats are a good team, and don't need a whole lot from the draft. Switch our first rounders, we get their second and third, and they get our first and Larry.
Well, now we're in Pioli's ideal position: mid-first, with tons of first day picks. We need DL, LB, and OL's, which are characteristically what Pioli takes in the early rounds. So, sparing the grimy details, here are the picks:
#23: James Laurinaitis, LB - BPA, and happens to be a need.
#34: Max Unger, C - Massive upgrade, and plays everywhere. Solid pick.
#47: Ron Brace, NT - 3-4 switch means a big nose tackle.
#67: Fili Moala, DE/DT - There's our future line, Dorsey/Brace/Moala.
#89: Nic Harris, SS - A hard hitting, Rodney Harrison type.
#98: Nathan Brown, QB - And there's Pioli's QB pick.
We'll fill in with some OL depth in the later rounds, but that's a complete revamping of the defense, a center that moves Niswanger to guard, and some QB depth.
Remember, this is really not about 2009. This is about building a team to win for the future. Picking up Suggs, Vilma, and maybe a lesser known offensive lineman (along with the usual depth signings) is enough for us in FA. The draft above fills holes that we have and gives us the "building through the draft" agenda that Pioli wants. 2010's draft is more defined this way, we have exact positions we're looking for, instead of just about everything.
Alright, now I'll sit back and watch you guys tear it to shreds...specifically the 3-4 switch and Dorsey playing DE. :)