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If I were Kansas City Chiefs GM John Dorsey: A 3-step plan

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There are a lot of unwritten rules when it comes to writing about football (ironic, no? Or is that one of those things that's not actually ironic that everyone thinks is ironic? I can't remember. We're way too early in the article for this. Anyway...). Mostly, those unwritten rules are regarding certain topics that everyone writes about at one time or another.

For example, mock drafts. Almost everyone I know who writes about football claims to hate mock drafts. They're overdone, overused, over ... uh, overpopulated? Anyway, the common thing you hear from people is how sick they are of mock drafts by the end of May (and sometimes sooner).

But at the end of the day, EVERYONE does at least one mock draft. Heck, even I do something resembling one sometimes. You write football, you do a mock draft. This is the unwritten rule. Those who defy such things suffer the dreadful wrath of ... well, nothing. But you just don't violate things like unwritten rules. Ask baseball.

Now isn't the time to get cute. Now is the time to keep players who have performed in the system if at all possible.

One of the "it must be written" unwritten-rule articles is that of the offseason GM. Everyone has a plan for how their team should operate once the offseason rolls around. Everyone knows how to turn a bad team into a good team, and a good team into a Super Bowl team. If we're really honest, the offseason was often the most fun part of Madden. Because we got to prove how well we could build a team.

Well, I'm not a guy to break anything as important as an unwritten rule. So I've got a rough plan for the Chiefs offseason I'd like to share with you fine folk. It's a pretty rough plan as far as plans go, but as of right now, if I were John Dorsey this is how I'd proceed.

Step One: Keep The Band Together

The Chiefs are close. Closer than we thought when the year started. The defense is very good, and the offense (at least as the season wore on) was good enough to start climbing the DVOA ratings nicely. By the end of the season, the Chiefs we good enough to destroy a "meh" playoff team in the Texans and make the Patriots sweat at Foxboro despite missing their most important players.

The defense, as constructed, is capable of playing with the best in the league. Now isn't the time to get cute. Now is the time to keep players who have performed in the system if at all possible. Continuity matters on defense. Kind of a lot. The first step for Dorsey should be to ensure (as best he can) the defense doesn't take a step back.

While we're on the subject of taking steps back, the Chiefs offensive line finally started to look not pathetic as the season wore on. A lot of that was due to the play of Jeff Allen. He's a guy the Chiefs definitely should be looking into retaining. The offensive line simply cannot go backward this offseason. It remained a problem throughout much of the year (yes, injuries played a part). It's time to do everything possible to build on what we saw as the season wound down.

"But MN, you lunatic, we can't afford to keep everyone!"

Well, random citizen, you may be right. But what CAN Dorsey do? I took a trip to the wonderfully addictive site Over The Cap to play around with their cap calculator. I decided to spend a little time tinkering to see what I could accomplish with some creative structuring. With very little time and effort, I achieved the following.

(Note; these are all ballpark numbers I believe would be somewhat competitive with the open market based on the players' individual situations, with no work put into various roster and workout bonuses. In no way am I saying this is exactly how it will go down, or that these numbers are even close to exact. I look forward to being told how unrealistic the numbers are despite this note)

(Second note; bonuses are not included in the total amounts. That's separate. The total amounts are given to give everyone the per-year math we all love to do)

1)  Re-signed Eric Berry to a six year, $60 million contract with a $15 million bonus and $21 million guaranteed (last two years of deal with no guaranteed salary)

2)  Re-signed Derrick Johnson to a three year, $18 million contract with a $3 million bonus and $7 million guaranteed (last year of deal no guaranteed salary)

3)  Re-signed Sean Smith to a five year, $56 million contract with a $16 million bonus and $23 million guaranteed (last 2 years of deal no guaranteed salary).

4)  Re-signed Jeff Allen to a five year, $26 million contract with a $6 million bonus and $8 million guaranteed (last two years of deal no guaranteed salary).

After those four moves, I'm guessing you think the money is gone. It's not. The Chiefs, in this (seriously, super pretend) scenario still have over $11 million in 2016 cap. The 2017 cap sits with over $13 million to spare (with some contracts creating more room after the 2016 season ends).

So there's room to play. Room to give Jaye Howard a deal and still have room to make a few more moves, as well as sign the rookie class. NFL teams are a thousand times more creative than I am with cap tinkering. There is absolutely space to re-sign whoever the Chiefs want to re-sign.

Like I said, I'm of the opinion this team is very, very close. I'd focus the majority of the big money on keeping together a group that has performed well. That's the first step.

Step Two: Playmakers Wanted

When Jeremy Maclin got hobbled against the Texans, we all knew there was trouble. With Jamaal Charles already out of the picture (and a suddenly really-important Spencer Ware also hurt), the Chiefs were BADLY lacking playmakers against the Patriots. It became really obvious down the stretch, when the most consistent receiver on the field was Jason Avant.

Travis Kelce is exceptional, but he can't do it alone. The Chiefs need to find themselves another wide receiver who can consistently contribute. Now, I'm hopeful that Chris Conley and Albert Wilson can continue to develop, but that's not something to bank on. I don't like the idea of being so thin at receiver.

Who, though? Honestly, the 2016 crop of free agent WRs is noteworthy mostly for how meh it is. A relatively cheap option would be Anquan Boldin, who has long been a favorite of mine. He is definitely not a long term solution, but watching 49ers games last year it looked like he has something left in the tank. He could be the temporary solution to upgrading the WR group while Andy Reid sees if Wilson and Conley develop.

Since this is a if I were John Dorsey article, that's the direction I'm gonna go. I've kept the defense together and signed Boldin as my only splash move on offense.

Step Three: Draft That Beef

So we've kept the defense intact, re-signed Allen to allow for the offensive line to build on the pieces that worked in 2015 (personally, I like the idea of Fisher / Grubbs / Morse /  Reid / Allen), and signed a WR who is substantially better than the No. 2 and No. 3 guy the Chiefs trotted out last year. Continuity + small improvement.

The next step, for me, would be to go after some beef in the first few rounds of the draft. The offensive line is still a question mark. I don't like question marks. They're like exclamation points, but think they're fancy because they're curved. I won't tolerate it. And so we go o-line the first two rounds of the draft to see if we can't create a situation where we've consistently got a decent line in front of Smith, Charles and company.

If I'm John Dorsey, I'm seeing a team that's close. Stay the course, trust the system, keep what you've got, and make a few improvements where they're needed. Obviously, I fully expect Dorsey to do his yearly "find some dude off the street who is unexpectedly good" thing, so that'll be a treat as well.

This team is not far off. This isn't the offseason to get drastic. If the Chiefs can stay the course on defense while improving the playmakers on offense just a bit, they are absolutely (health permitting) going to be the same thing in 2016 they were by the end of 2015; a balanced, dangerous team that no one wants to play.

You're welcome, John.