2011 Free Agency Preview: Offensive and Defensive Lines

OK Addicts, we all know the season is in doubt, a lockout is looking. Free agency may or may not happen. Scott Pioli is not dumb. While all this may happen, he has to have contingency plans. Assuming some form of free agency occurs, he has a plan. In years past, the Chiefs have not been an attractive free agent destination. The team was not competitive, so there were little reasons beyond money for a good free agent to come here. That’s the piece that many fans miss, of all teams. They assume that the team can get whatever free agent they want. Sure, you can always throw money at a problem, but Pioli is not the type to throw money around. So, who is a possible acquisition and why would they want to come to the Chiefs? Adam is going to cover a few players later on that are viable targets. I am going to concentrate on the big uglies.

Target #1 Ryan Kalil Center Carolina Panthers 6′ 2” 295 lbs

Kalil is an agile center playing at a high level already. He is only 26 years old and is one of the best at his position. His size and skills are well suited for a zone blocking scheme. The Panthers may try to franchise him, but that’s a 10 million dollar contract for a center. Franchise contracts for the offensive line are all grouped together. So, left tackles drive up the franchise price for all of the offensive line. Kalil should draw interest from many other teams, like the Washington Redskins. So, he is not going to come cheap. If he wants to win soon, Kalil will want to get out of Carolina. Will Pioli pay out a nice contract for a young, ascending player that could lock down the center position for six to eight years? This is a guy worth going after. The Chiefs should go after him, however I don’t see Pioli getting into a bidding war. If Kalil wants to come to an ascending team with a great fan base he could be receptive to a fair offer. If the Chiefs want him, they need to strike fast and not get into a bidding war. To me, this is the kind of player worth a very strong offer.

Target #2 Paul Soliai Nose Tackle Miami Dolphins 6′ 4” 355 lbs

It’s no secret that the Chiefs need some major beef at the nose tackle position. AT 27 years old, Soliai is a young player who enjoyed a break out year last year. With Bill Parcells out of Miami, Pioli can safely raid the Dolphins without having to suffer over family dinners for the rest of his life. Unlike Kalil, a Soliai signing comes with some risk. Pioli spent a few years underachieving. This past year, in a contract year, he broke out and had a very good year. Has he turned the corner or is this the next Chris Chambers? It is decisions like that that makes people like Scott Pioli lose their hair. Citing negatives and passing on a player is a safe, easy to justify position. However, to win at anything usually requires making a call and taking some risk. Why would Soliai want to come to Kansas City? Unlike the Panthers, the Dolphins are a decent team. However, with Parcells leaving, that puts some uncertainty into the future direction of the Dolphins. Will the Dolphins play the 3-4 in two or three years? That uncertainty make give the Chiefs the opening to make an offer. This is a decision where Pioli’s relationship with Bill Parcells will be important. If Parcells vouches for Soliai, he could be wearing Chiefs red next year. I can understand Pioli passing on Soliai. However, it’s the kind of signing I would like to see.

Target #3 Aubrayo Franklin Nose Tackle San Francisco 49ers 6′ 1” 317 lbs

Unlike Kalil and Soliai, Franklin is not young player. At 30 years old, he still has gas left in the tank. The 49ers are unlikely to place the franchise tag on him for the second straight year. He is looking for a long term contract and that may scare the Chiefs off. The 49ers are going through a transition. He may be enticed to join and up and coming team. Franklin could starte for a year or two and then rotate in. He could be an nice complement to a rookie NT like Jerrell Powe. Will Pioli pay out for an aging player? Given the dearth of good NT talent, I think he should consider it strongly. Can we sign Soliai and Franklin? Doubtful. Each has their drawbacks. Soliai hasn’t played at a high level for more than a year, Franklin is aging. Sometimes, there are no perfect solutions.

OK Addicts, those are my top three realistic targets on both lines. Any one of those three would bring a lot of help to the Chiefs and help to fill a major need. One signing is good, two would be great. I would love to see Pioli target these players. Those are my targets, who would you sign and why would they come to KC?

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Tags: Aubrayo Franklin Kansas City Chiefs Paul Soliai Ryan Kalil Scott Pioli

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