The Kansas City Chiefs have a lot of young and improving players but they also have a number of positions that will need to be upgraded in 2011.
I think most of us can agree that the 2010 Chiefs arrived a little bit ahead of schedule. Thanks to excellent coaching, a very good rookie draft class and a soft schedule the Chiefs were able gain valuable confidence and experience. Still, after watching their playoff performance it is clear that the Chiefs have a ways to go before they can compete for 60 minutes with the NFL’s elite.
The offseason is the time to upgrade and the Chiefs will have two chances to do so in the draft and free agency. We know the Chiefs are trying to build a team through the draft but that doesn’t mean they aren’t willing to make calculated moves in free agency that can help fill some holes.
There are pros and cons of being an active free agency team. If a team is not careful they can end up overspending on veteran players. Making bad free agent pickups can hamstring a team by getting it locked into long and expensive contracts with aging veterans. However, as we saw with Ryan Lilja and Shaun Smith last year, the Chiefs can get good value pickups without breaking the bank.
After the jump, we’ll talk about which positions the Chiefs may want to target in free agency. (if it happens)
There is a chance that free agency will not occur before the draft if the players and owners do not sign a new collective bargaining agreement. Since we can’t predict what is going to happen there we are just going to pretend something will get worked out and that the offseason will progress in it’s normal manner until we hear something different.
The problem with building through the draft is that it takes time. I think we can all agree that this year’s Chiefs rookie class was about as good as it gets and while those players made a big impact, they still have a lot of developing ahead. Dexter McCluster’s poor performance as a receiver is a prime example that you can’t count on a rookie to come in and be able to make a huge impact right away. That is why key free agent pickups can help a team continue to win while young players are developed.
Here are a few positions I would like to see the Chiefs upgrade in free agency:
This is a position that is an absolute need for the Chiefs both in free agency and the draft. It became clear as the season progressed that Dwayne Bowe was KC’s only viable receiving threat. When teams were able to take away Bowe they were able to take away the Kansas City passing game.
I think the Chiefs should definitely draft and develop some receivers but their offense needs some players who can come in an make an impact right away. If the Chiefs are going to fork up some money in free agency, it should be for a veteran wideout under the age of 30. The Chiefs have got to get some more guys who can get open.
2. Nose Tackle
Unless there is a sure thing out there the Chiefs could use a veteran nose tackle who can come in and take the place of Ron Edwards. The Chiefs have a lot of youth and potential on the defensive line in Glenn Dorsey, Tyson Jackson and Wallace Gillberry. If they bring back Shaun Smith they should be in pretty good shape at DE but they need a big presence in the middle of their line. Again, KC will need to bring in some beef through the draft but it wouldn’t hurt to bring in a big man in free agency so the team doesn’t have to rush a rookie into a starting position.
Here is a position where the Chiefs can target some value players. KC is set with Eric Berry and Kendrick Lewis at free and strong safety but they have absolutely no depth behind them. The Chiefs were very fortunate in the injury department this year but sooner or later the injury bug will bite and the Chiefs need to be ready. They would do themselves a favor to bring in some solid, veteran backup safeties to give themselves some secutirty because the Donald Washington’s of the world aren’t going to cut it.
The most important position on the team needs some insurance as well. Brodie Croyle and Tyler Palko are not who you want standing behind your starter. The Chiefs should go after a veteran QB who can step in and play well should something happen to Matt Cassel.
Alright Addicts those are my primary targets for free agency. I think if the Chiefs can spend some money on upgrading the receiver and NT positions while picking up some solid value at safety and and QB they will be in good position entering the 2011 draft.
What positions are you targeting for KC in free agency?