The 2016 NFL free agency period starts on Wednesday, March 9 at 3 p.m. (Arrowhead Time). However, the legal tampering period starts on Monday, March 7 at 11 a.m. (Arrowhead Time). This means that on Monday Chiefs free agents can speak to other teams and the Chiefs can speak to other teams free agents but they can not execute contracts until Wednesday.
[More: There's some RGIII chatter here]
With this being the soft start of free agency, let's review where we stand with all of the Chiefs free agents with about $19 million in cap space available.
Chiefs free agents
S Eric Berry: He's been tagged. He wants to be a Chief for a long time and the Chiefs want him for a long time. This will get done eventually.
I asked Eric Berry, who has been franchise-tagged, if the plan is to be a Chief for the long-term. His response? "Definitely, definitely."— Terez A. Paylor (@TerezPaylor) March 5, 2016
CB Sean Smith: As one of the top corners on the market, we're assuming he's gone. I would expect him to get more than $10 million per year. The Chiefs have been planning for this with Marcus Peters (2015 first round pick), Steven Nelson (2015 third round pick) and Phillip Gaines (2014 third round pick). It would be great if he could stay but I can't see it. The cap has gone up $30 million in the last three years so Smith will be paid very, very well.
Would expect Chiefs free agent corner Sean Smith to have a strong market for his services. Corner market is robust with him, Janoris Jenkins— Aaron Wilson (@AaronWilson_NFL) March 1, 2016
LB Tamba Hali: His contract voided on March 4, which means the Chiefs will be hit with a $4 million cap charge no matter what and Tamba will hit free agency on March 9 ... unless the Chiefs can re-sign him. They say they want to do just that but it's unclear if that will happen. Tamba is worth decent money on the open market so a minimum type of contract isn't going to happen. He could probably command at least $5-plus million per year from another team. With $4 million already against the cap, can the Chiefs commit that much to Tamba? I lean towards them figuring something out because Tamba is an all-time Chief but this is very much up in the air.
#Chiefs can still bring Tamba back, but they’ll owe him whatever they pay him plus the $4M that hit cap Fri. Plus other teams can pursue Mon— Terez A. Paylor (@TerezPaylor) March 6, 2016
DT Jaye Howard: If we assume Smith is gone then Howard becomes one of the bigger question marks. The Chiefs do need him back, for sure, with Mike DeVito also hitting free agency. However, he has one year as a full time player. It's understandable if there's some hesitation there to give him a big deal, which his reported $8-9 million per year asking price would be. Adam Schefter recently predicted this one gets done and he stays in KC. If this doesn't get done, the d-line is up there with corner as the Chiefs top need.
Jaye Howard on talks with Chiefs: 'It's kinda up in the air ... I would love to be there' https://t.co/AnOICoqKwb pic.twitter.com/SfFK2AyHxp— Arrowhead Pride (@ArrowheadPride) March 4, 2016
LB Derrick Johnson: Dorsey said they're talking to him about coming back. DJ himself said on a Texas radio station a few weeks ago that he wants to come back to the Chiefs. It's a big upset if he's not back. The only question is what kind of contract he gets. Karlos Dansby's four-year, $24 million deal has been mentioned as a comparable.
#Chiefs GM John Dorsey told me he will do everything in his power to retain Derrick Johnson: https://t.co/sjS8jggLP3— Terez A. Paylor (@TerezPaylor) February 29, 2016
G Jeff Allen: $4-5 million per year has been mentioned. There will be interest from other teams, with rumors pointing to the Jaguars and Eagles so far. The Chiefs aren't in a position to be losing offensive linemen but I wouldn't be surprised at all if Allen left. Look at Branden Albert, Geoff Schwartz, Jon Asamoah, Rodney Hudson ... all good linemen who walked under Dorsey and Reid. This is the part of Dorsey's team building that has frustrated me the most so far.
Eugene Chung was credited with helping bring out the nasty of the Chiefs' OL in 2015, including Jeff Allen.— Anthony DiBona (@Anthony_DiBona) March 7, 2016
Chung is now with the Eagles.
S Tyvon Branch: There's talk the Chiefs want to bring him back. I like him and want him to return but there are some things working against him. He has an extensive injury history lately with just five starts in 2014 and 2013. The Chiefs have also demonstrated an ability to find good safeties off the street (Husain Abdullah, Quintin Demps, Kurt Coleman). Is that just luck? The system? I'm not sure but they find one every year it seems. That said, if the price is right the Chiefs need to keep a good veteran safety.
I'd rather the #chiefs spend to keep Tyvon Branch than spend $ for an outside free agent.— Jeff Fawver (@Jtfawver) February 25, 2016
DE Mike DeVito: There's reportedly mutual interest in a reunion but nothing has happened yet. He provides a nice veteran run stopping presence. The question here is whether Nick Williams or Rakeem Nunez-Roches are better than DeVito. If the Chiefs think either one is better, move on. If DeVito still has some rotational value on the line, keep him.
ICYMI: DE Mike DeVito tells me "that’s an easy choice" if things work out with #Chiefs for potential return: https://t.co/zNXpyKsR0J— Herbie Teope (@HerbieTeope) February 27, 2016
OT Donald Stephenson: Sounds like he's likely gone, which we expected. He's had some ups and downs but he has a future in the league. I'd take a short term deal, build himself back up and then try again in a year or two. The Chiefs will absolutely need another offensive tackle, one of the starting variety.
Pending free agent Donald Stephenson reflects fondly on his time with #Chiefs https://t.co/1VUosOlQjl— Jeff Rosen (@jeff_rosen88) March 7, 2016
QB Chase Daniel: Sounds like there's nothing to those Eagles rumors. Dorsey said if the price is right Chase could be back. I would definitely take that because, despite not really needing him in many games over the past three years, having a backup quarterback can be very beneficial ... when you actually need him. Alex Smith has missed one game due to injury in the past three years. The chances of that happening again are? If not Chase, Aaron Murray needs to step up and become the new No. 2. He'll be competing with Tyler Bray.
Doug Pederson picks his quarterback and it's not Chase Daniel. #Eagles #Chiefs https://t.co/xdwImXRD3C pic.twitter.com/5tg5vaM8If— Arrowhead Pride (@ArrowheadPride) March 1, 2016
S Husain Abdullah: Another savvy safety signing by the Chiefs. Like Branch, I would like if the Chiefs could bring him back at the right price. They do have a history of finding safeties off the street so there's that too. Wouldn't be upset at bringing him back.
If the Chiefs lose both Abdullah and Branch - you gotta think safety is high on the priority list.— no bare feet (@JinxSavage) January 30, 2016
WR Jason Avant: The Chiefs No. 1 receiver during the playoff game. That came out of nowhere. It's probably time to add some youth over Avant but as the fourth or fifth option I don't really mind if he's back. Doesn't hurt having a vet presence like that. Jeremy Maclin picks up the slack in that department if Avant isn't back.
Avant may be slow but man what he still runs great routes. Nice corner route to put the Chiefs inside the Pats 30 pic.twitter.com/eDXDYeZVBm— Joe D (@pulseofdachiefs) January 19, 2016
LB Frank Zombo: Competent special teamer and backup pass rusher. These are the guys fans don't think much about but make up a number of valuable roles on the roster. He was playing late in the year when Houston and Hali were down. Bring him back unless you find someone better.
Not a priority, but I'd love to see #Chiefs bring back Frank Zombo. Veteran who can rush passer & play S/T. Was important down the stretch.— Matt Conner (@MattConnerAP) February 2, 2016
CB Jamell Fleming: He was relegated to mostly special teams after he was torched in Week 2 against the Broncos and Week 3 against the Packers. Can't see him coming back.
Chiefs CB Jamell Fleming wants Danny Amendola suspended for his hit Saturday https://t.co/gdMd0lNRoK— Kevin Duffy (@KevinRDuffy) January 17, 2016
LB Dezman Moses: Terez Paylor says there's interest in bringing him back. As a reserve pass rusher, I don't see why not. Not all that different from Frank Zombo. If Tamba leaves, it would be great if he could step up as the third pass rusher.
Chiefs final OLB snap count: Tamba Hali 54, Dee Ford 38, Frank Zombo 13, Justin Houston 8(none in 2nd half), Dezman Moses 3. Out of 58.— Nathan Jahnke (@PFF_NateJahnke) January 17, 2016