OK, this is it. The final effort. At least it was intended to be. Summing up. Building the roster. Ducking under the table to avoid the eggs that will surely be thrown. And you: Get a beer. Sit down. Take a deep breath.
You're feeling well? No? Start from the beginning of our offseason roster analysis.
You didn't jump back, so we assume you do feel well.
So proceed - at your own risk!
Three guys proudly present: The KC Chiefs 2015 offseason (as envisioned by us)!
This is like playing dominoes. Well, toppling them, that is. Tamba Hali's fate depends, to a large extent, on Justin Houston's future. Dwayne Bowe's will depend on his willingness to take a serious pay cut and how much money is spent at outside linebacker. And after that it's all about the balance between cap and performance. We think we will see a whole bunch of guys gone, mostly those free agents signed during the first year of the John Dorsey / Andy Reid era. Most are entering the last and most expensive year of their contracts, with little dead money to be swallowed if released.
Our prediction on who will be gone - after a long look into the crystal ball: Tamba Hali, Dwayne Bowe, Mike DeVito, Chase Daniel.
(Note: Anthony Fasano, AJ Jenkins and Donnie Avery were on this list -- but they have already been released.)
The best chances to stick (if the Chiefs can afford them) may be Daniel - as the Chiefs need to be sure they have an adequate replacement on the roster before cutting ties.
Free agent signings
We see two major re-signings: Houston and Hudson. If that does not happen, we think Hali will be retained one way or the other, and a starting caliber offensive lineman will be signed off the street. We'll have a decision on this situation by March 12th at the latest.
Beyond that, the Chiefs will have to address the back end of the roster at linebacker and defensive back, which will also help to feed the special teams. Veteran depth may also be considered at o-line and defensive end. We think a few of those positions could be filled by the Chiefs own free agents (Josh Martin, Josh Mauga, Kurt Coleman, and Ron Parker, especially) unless they price themselves out of the Chiefs budget. While some key cogs might be signed before the draft -- Parker will most likely be gone after the second week of free agency, Martin as an exclusive right free agent should be considered a formality to stay - most of these decisions can be delayed until after the draft.
One element not addressed so far is the second starter at wide receiver. We foresee Bowe being gone.
Assuming the Chiefs fill one of the starting positions via the draft, the second remains vacant. Taking into account the team's cap situation, it appears highly unlikely that they will be able to notch one of the top wide receiver free agents. A player on Jason Avant's level (or Avant himself) may be the most the Chiefs can afford - even if we'd like to look at the "middle-of-the-pack" guys.
Bottom line: Unless it is for a replacement for Hudson we don't think the Chiefs will be big players in the early phase of free agency. As in recent years it will be the second or more likely even the third echelon of players that they will tap to fill the depth of the roster.
It's difficult to break down the draft by position only, as you don't know who will be available where. Thus, as a rough outline, this is how we see the allocation of draft picks merely from a needs basis. A lot will be determined be free agent signings, especially those for the back end of the roster.
That said, here's a rough outline by round:
1-3: WR, ILB, OL
4-5: TE, DB, DE, WR, OL (if not drafted higher)
6-7: DT, DB, OLB
The salary cap
The Chiefs are on a tight budget. It's not "pay as you go", but "cut as you go". Roster additions throughout the offseason may necessitate compensatory releases all the way to Week 1. Even during final cut downs, when the cap-relevant roster expands to 53 players and a practice squad needs to be paid, the ultimate decision may come down to cap considerations for a guy or two.
The projected roster
RT - Donald Stephenson, Derek Sherrod
RG - Fulton, mid-round draft pick
OC - Veteran or high / mid-round draft pick, Eric Kush (the veteran could well be Hudson)
LG - Jeff Allen, Laurent Duvernay-Tardif
LT - Eric Fisher, veteran
QB - Alex Smith, Terrelle Pryor, Aaron Murray (backup ranking to be decided in training camp)
RB - Jamaal Charles, Knile Davis, DAT, Cyrus Gray or someone else
FB - Anthony Sherman
TE - Travis Kelce, mid-round pick, Demetrius Harris / practice squad / UDFA
WR - Free agent, mid-to-low draft pick / UDFA / other
Slot - DAT, training camp winner
WR - High draft pick, Albert Wilson
RE - Allen Bailey, mid-round draft pick / short-term free agent / Nick Williams
NT - Dontari Poe, practice squad promotion / mid-late round draft pick / UDFA
LE - Jaye Howard, Vance Walker*
WOLB - Dee Ford, mid-late round draft pick, Josh Martin
WILB - Derrick Johnson, mid- to low end free agent / Josh Mauga
SILB - Joe Mays, high-mid round draft pick
SOLB - Justin Houston, Frank Zombo
RCB - Sean Smith, low-round pick / cheap free agent
NB - Phillip Gaines
LCB - Jamell Fleming, Marcus Cooper / someone else
FS - Husain Abdullah, Kurt Coleman, Sanders Commings
SS - Ron Parker, Daniel Sorensen / mid-low round pick
K - Cairo Santos / rookie
P - Dustin Colquitt
LS - Jorgen Hus / Brandon Hartson
PR - DAT
KR - Knile Davis, Albert Wilson
Other players: Eric Berry
This may look like a wild turnover of personnel. But have a closer look: The only starter at a position other than wide receiver who was NOT on the roster in 2014 is at center - and that is only if Hudson does not return.
You're still feeling well? Great! Then send us a round of applause (or a case of beer if you are of legal age)! Because that was it. A lot of work was involved - read the whole series here - but also a lot of fun.
(KC_Guy1966's final personal words) :
Thanks go out to Jakuvious and UPlay2Win for their support to this effort. I'd also like to thank those offering their thoughts on our products - whether I agree or not. They definitely offer a different perspective, and I'm pretty sure you'll encounter that same struggle behind closed doors at Arrowhead.
Thanks also go out to Arrowheads Abroad and Arrowhead Pride for providing the opportunity to spread the word about this great community and forum throughout the Kingdom near and far.
And finally I want to thank all those great guys and gals out there who provide raw data: contract numbers, performance statistics, free agent lists, and so on. Without those resources this project would not have been possible.
And finally a postscript (how many finals can there be in one article?):
You made me think again. The intense discussion on some releases, the related cap impact etc. got me. I thought I was done with this. But now - well, one more piece is yet to come. Fresh from the press. Published nowhere else (yet). Breaking down the numbers. In detail. For those who are into the cap thing. Boring stuff for all the others.