The Kansas City Chiefs are only hours away from the start of free agency. Officially, that time would be 3:00 p.m. (Arrowhead Time). The Chiefs may not be heavy players early on in signing other teams free agents but they'll be keeping a few of their own. At some point, I expect the Chiefs to announce their RFA and ERFA tenders as well as other re-signings that we haven't yet heard about.
To prepare for the onslaught of free agency talk, I took a look at all the Chiefs upcoming free agents. That's two exclusive rights free agents, one restricted free agent and 16 unrestricted free agents.
Exclusive Rights Free Agents
QB Tyler Palko (ERFA): As an exclusive rights free agent, Palko's rights are totally controlled by the Chiefs. If KC offers him a contract, he can play for KC or not play at all. The Chiefs may not do that, though. As of last week, Palko hadn't heard from the Chiefs on what they're going to do. I bet they let him walk.
S Reshard Langford (ERFA): Might as well bring him back. Like Palko, the Chiefs control his rights. The Chiefs have almost 30 more spots to fill on the offseason roster. I think Langford comes back.
Restricted Free Agents
LB Jovan Belcher (RFA): He's reportedly received a second round tender from the team. Basically, that means the Chiefs are more than likely going to keep him, unless someone offers up a second round pick for him (which they won't).
Unrestricted Free Agents
RB Jackie Battle: He's going to test free agency. He's really looking to be a No. 2 back someplace and I think in Kansas City, depending on what they do in free agency and the draft, he's destined to be the No. 3 back. If someone is willing to pay him more, he could leave Kansas City. If not, I think the Chiefs would take him back at their price. He can perform in multiple roles.
TE Anthony Becht: He'll be 35 years old when next season starts. The Chiefs signed him and re-signed him a few times last year so I'm not really sure where they stand with him. TE Jake O'Connell recently received a one-year contract. This position becomes more important if TE Tony Moeaki has health issues down the line again. In the end, I don't think Becht comes back, but he's indicated he does want to continue playing.
CB Brandon Carr: I think he's gonna leave. As I've said before, I'm not really upset at either side on this one. Carr's one of my favorite Chiefs and he's gonna do what a lot of players dream of doing and that's cash in as a free agent. Can't blame him. The Chiefs got a decent replacement for him at half the price. Can't blame them either. There's not really a big loser here.
DB Travis Daniels: I can see him returning to Kansas City. Daniels came into KC with the Pioli regime in 2009. There won't be a free agent bidding war for him. Bring him back until you find some competition for him.
DE Wallace Gilberry: Yesterday Gilberry tweeted: "It was fun while it lasted." Hmm. That's probably not a good sign. I like Gilberry but for whatever reason his production and playing time dropped from 2010 to 2011. That tells me he's probably not a major factor in the Chiefs plans, if he's in their plans at all. That's too bad because Gilberry seemed to have a lot of promise finishing the 2010 season with the second most sacks on the team.
DL Kelly Gregg: Nothing official has been announced but he's likely to retire. Gregg was pretty much what we thought he would be -- a one year stop-gap. Best of luck him in retirement, if that's what he chooses to do.
RB Thomas Jones: He's 33 years old so you have to wonder where he stands on possibly retiring. Jones might get a look from another team but his yards per carry has dropped four straight years to where it hovered just above three yards per carry last season. I don't think he's back in KC.
FB Le'Ron McClain: Not much brewing here. Remember, the Chiefs weren't hunting him down at the start of free agency last year. It took a little while. I think McClain will look around in free agency. A return to Baltimore wouldn't surprise me.
S Jon McGraw: He's 32 years old. Look at the number of starts from 2008 to 2011: 16, 14, 12 and 10. That's not a good trend. He was banged up throughout the year. I think there's value in having a guy like Jon McGraw on the team, even in just the offseason. We'll see what the Chiefs do. I don't really have an indication as to which way the Chiefs are leaning.
OT Ryan O'Callaghan: Rumors abound that O'Callaghan plans to retire. No confirmation on that but I don't think he returns to KC. He ended the last two seasons on IR.
QB Kyle Orton: GM Scott Pioli said the Chiefs want Orton back and he also said Orton has indicated he wants to come back. If a deal isn't already signed then that probably means Orton is going to look around in free agency. Maybe he can find a starting job after Peyton Manning and Matt Flynn sign. If not, I think the Chiefs would have him back at a somewhat competitive price. Romeo Crennel, in particular, seems to be an Orton fan.
S Sabby Piscitelli: I don't think he really did anything to warrant another shot. Maybe he gets a spot on the offseason roster with a one-year deal but nothing more than that.
TE Leonard Pope: I suppose you bring him back until someone better than him is signed.
OT Barry Richardson: I don't think B-Rich would be an awful pick as a backup/swing tackle but he can't be featured in a starting role. I think his future depends on what the Chiefs are able to do in free agency and the draft.
WR Jerheme Urban: I doubt he comes back. He missed the entire 2010 season due to injury and appeared in just six games last year with one start. Those aren't the numbers of a guy that the Chiefs are going to pursue outside of a minimum contract.
C Casey Wiegmann: His future is up in the air and I think it'll continue like that for a while longer. Maybe Wiegmann does play but at a certain point the Chiefs have to prepare Rodney Hudson, the presumed center of the future.