The initial rush of free agency has long since passed and things have been pretty quiet in Kansas City. We haven’t had any news of any free agents visiting the Chiefs in some time and while it is always possible GM Scott Pioli may still have a few moves planned, it appears as though the Chiefs are through adding talent until after the Draft.
That being the case I thought it would be fun to hand out my grades on what the Chiefs have done thus far to better the team.
Ryan Lilja: A+
In my opinion, this is the best move the Chiefs have made thus far. Lilja is a huge upgrade at over any other guard on the roster, save Brian Waters. Lilja is a true starter which is something the Chiefs need more of as they have backups starting at multiple positions.
Chris Chambers: A-
This was a move that had to happen for the Chiefs, especially once they failed to trade for Anquan Boldin. The minus is because the team has still failed to adequately upgrade at the WR position and Chambers’ age makes him a bit of a risk. Still, a solid move that will become even more valuable if the Chiefs can add another wide receiving threat via the draft or trade.
Thomas Jones: B+
If Jones were a couple of years younger this would be an A+ move but we have seen too many times that running backs over 30 are dead men walking. Jones has bucked the trend so far and what makes him especially appealing to the Chiefs is that he doesn’t have to carry the whole load. He came at a value, he is a high character locker room guy, he can mentor Jamaal Charles and the Chiefs have a couple of young running backs behind him in case he suddenly breaks down. Low risk, high reward pickup that has become Pioli’s specialty. There isn’t much not to like about the Jones move.
Derrick Johnson: B
DJ has only shown flashes that he might one day become the player the Chiefs drafted him to be but one thing Todd Haley failed to realize last season was that Johnson was still one of the most talented linebackers on his roster. DJ’s inconsistency aside, the Chiefs can not afford to let go of good players with playmaking ability. Romeo Crennel will be the best defensive coordinator that Johnson has ever had and he will hopefully be able to maximize Johnson’s talents in 2010. DJ is still young. All is not lost.
Mike Vrabel: B
This is another instance of the Chiefs not being able to afford to lose good players. Vrabel is older than dirt but when he is healthy he is still productive.The Chiefs were a team without an identity last season and keeping a guy like Vrabel around will go a long way in helping them develop one. The main reason I like that Vrabel is coming back is because of the impact he might have on the Chiefs young linebackers, in particular Andy Studebaker, who played very well covering for Vrabel last season. My only concern is that loyalty to the veteran Vrabel will keep the younger Studebaker on the sideline. If the Chiefs really think Studebaker is their OLB of the future then they need to start working him into the defense this season, even if that means he time shares the position with Vrabel. Todd Haley has proven he isn’t afraid to sit a veteran in favor of a guy he thinks can help his team. The Chiefs will be in good shape if Studebaker is starting by the end of the season.
Terrance Copper: B
Copper is a solid special teams guy and doesn’t cost a lot of money. The bottom of the roster is just as important as the top.
Jerheme Urban: B-
Urban is here because he knows Haley’s offense and he can provide some depth at the WR position. While I like this pick up it isn’t likely to have a significant impact on the Chiefs passing game. Not a bad move by any stretch but not one deserving of a higher grade.
Casey Weigmann: C
I like this move just because it might mean that Rudy Niswanger won’t be starting again and because Casey Weigmann is back in Kansas City where he belongs. Weigmann is just a placeholder, however, and his age doesn’t help me sleep at night. Something else needs to happen at the center position.
Shaun Smith, Ikechuku Ndukwe, Matt Gutierrez: C
These are all depth moves and I have no major problems with any of them. The Smith signing is good but the Chiefs still need a starting NT.
Kolby Smith: C-
Smith spends more time on IR than he does on the field and when he is on the field he is less than impressive. I would rather see the Chiefs work on developing Jackie Battle behind Jones at this point. Not saying I don’t want to see Smith succeed but this is likely his last chance in KC.
Letting Mike Goff, Mike Brown and Bobby Wade leave town. These 3 were absolutely useless and in some cases, harmful to the teams development.
Letting Wade Smith get away. Wade was a versatile lineman and while he may never develop into a starter at any position, the Chiefs couldn’t afford to lose even average offensive lineman.
What do you think, Addicts? Could/should the Chiefs have done more in free agency? What are your grades?
Tags: Anquan Boldin Bobby Wade Casey Weigmann Chris Chambers Derrick Johnson Jamaal Charles Kansas City Chiefs Kolby Smith Mike Brown Mike Goff Rudy Niswanger Ryan Lilja Scott Pioli Thomas Jones Todd Haley Wade Smith