The Kansas City Chiefs are done with the first day of free agency and it was a fun one. The team retained several key players such as Tamba Hali, Derrick Johnson and Jaye Howard while signing Mitch Schwartz. Sean Smith is the last big domino to fall. We'll recap by looking at the Chiefs winners and losers on day one.
Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton are free agency losers as it seems likely that John Dorsey will be elected our new President in November. We'll start there with the guy who had the best day of them all...
John F. Dorsey
Is there a bigger winner on day one than Chiefs GM John Dorsey? Things started off very slow with Jeff Allen, Tyvon Branch and Chase Daniel signing deals elsewhere. Hanging in the balance was Derrick Johnson and Jaye Howard. Not only did Dorsey lock up those two in the span of a few hours, he topped it off by signing arguably the top right tackle on the market in Mitch Schwartz. The contracts for Howard (two years, $12 million) and Schwartz (five years, $33 million) also seem like very good ones.
[UPDATE: Sean Smith to the Raiders. Still a good day for John Dorsey.]
Dorsey is a popular man in Kansas City. Someone elect this man.
I'm literally voting for John Dorsey as President of the United States. After today, you can't tell me there isn't a problem he can't solve.— Andy Reid (@FauxAndyReid) March 10, 2016
Chiefs keeping Berry, Howard, DJ, Tamba AND signing Mitchell Schwartz is a damn impressive offseason for John Dorsey.— Danny Parkins (@DannyParkins) March 10, 2016
John Dorsey should get executive of the year just off today's deals alone.— Devereaux Frazier (@KCChiefsWriter) March 10, 2016
If something happens to my daddy, I want to go live with John Dorsey. #GoChiefs— ChiefDog (@Chieftastic) March 10, 2016
Alex Smith a winner, Von Miller a loser
Very few had success against the SBMVP @MitchSchwartz72 teams must realize pass rush comes from both sides. pic.twitter.com/v7ZQBmctoh— Deryk Gilmore (@DerykGilmore) February 9, 2016
Bob Sutton keeps the band together
Let's consider what the Chiefs defensive coordinator was potentially up against. The following were scheduled to be free agents: S Eric Berry, CB Sean Smith, DL Jaye Howard, LB Tamba Hali, LB Derrick Johnson. That's half the defense! So far, everyone but Smith is back (and the Smith talks are ongoing). How big is that for Sutton? It's not just the talent of those players but also the leadership that guys like DJ and Tamba bring to the table. That's not something that's replaced easily. The Chiefs defense was a big winner on day one.
Another year wondering about Dee Ford
We can try to spin this and say Tamba Hali coming back doesn't say anything about the Chiefs 2014 first round pick but let's be honest, it does. The Chiefs signed Tamba to what was essentially a one-year deal last season, presumably under the impression that he had one more year in him before Dee Ford took over. Now Tamba has a three-year deal and it's reasonable to wonder if he'll outlast Ford. Ford isn't a complete bust but you would hope that your first round pick is starting by year three or at least a significant factor in the team's future plans. He's still young and can change the perception but time is running out.
Aaron Murray or Tyler Bray will get a promotion
One of these two will likely be the Chiefs No. 2 quarterback next season after Chase Daniel left on a multi-year deal in Philly. Bray received an extension before last season and enters his fourth season while Murray is entering his third season. It's about that time where one of them has to emerge as the backup quarterback. Most are likely picking Murray but don't count out Bray. The Chiefs believed enough in him to re-sign him despite sitting on IR the past two years.
Jaye Howard bets on himself
You look at the two-year, $10 million deal that Jaye Howard reportedly agreed to and you think he should be among the losers in free agency because many of us expected him to land a bigger deal. However, I'm not so quick to do that. Howard is 27 years old. When his two-year deal with the Chiefs is up he will be 29 years old and looking to cash in again. I'm not ready to declare him a winner or a loser because if things go his way then this thing lines up for him to get a big pay day before he's 30 years old and when the cap is even higher in two years.
Faith in the o-line depth
The Chiefs lost two starting guards this week -- Jeff Allen and Ben Grubbs. This gives the Chiefs guards a real chance to find a role. Jah Reid is someone I wonder about because he can be a swing tackle with the Chiefs starters already established but he can also potentially be a starting guard. Laurent Duvernay-Tardif and Zach Fulton are two other guards who will compete. There are two open spots so one or two of these young guards will be rewarded.
The Scott Pioli offensive line is gone
It's easy to forget how excited we were about the Chiefs offensive line when Scott Pioli was the GM. The 2012 Chiefs had Eric Winston, Jeff Allen, Donald Stephenson, Jon Asamoah, Rodney Hudson and Branden Albert. We thought that was the beginning of an offensive line that would be in KC for years to come. The John Dorsey era arrived the following year and the cuts began. First it was Winston, and Albert. Then it was Hudson's big deal in Oakland. And on the first day of free agency this year, Stephenson and Allen closed it out by signing deals in Denver and Houston, respectively. I'm actually surprised at how quickly that line died.
Chris Conley and Albert Wilson
You could argue that receiver is a need for the Chiefs. On day one, however, the Chiefs made no moves at receiver, which leaves Conley and Wilson as the Chiefs two main options behind Jeremy Maclin. The Chiefs can always add a receiver in the second or third wave of free agency - wouldn't be surprised if they did - but so far the Chiefs are showing some faith in their two young receivers to develop.
Eric Berry deal coming?
The Chiefs had less than $20 million in cap space entering the day and will have much less than that after all these new contracts are settled. It's just a guess but I would think the Chiefs will need more cap space at some point this offseason. That cap space can come in the form of an extension for Berry, who will count $10.8 million against the cap with his franchise tag number. A long-term deal would likely lower that cap number. The Chiefs get to keep Berry. Win-win.