note: I’m writing this under the assumption that free agency will eventually happen. Maybe not the safest assumption, but these days I’m always just one bad thought away from five paragraphs worth of owner-bashing. If I want to talk about the team at all, I need to ignore the CBA entirely for this post. But let me just say one thing: no matter how these negotiations play out, the NFL owners are despicable parasites. I’ve known that for years, and these past few months have only confirmed my beliefs. In a way, I’m glad its come to this. At least everyone’s cards are on the table now. These owners aren’t local heroes. Far from it. Clark Hunt is nothing more than Kansas city’s own personal Montgomery Burns.
Every offseason, we all have a laundry list of wants and needs. I would imagine every NFL fan does. We look at what we perceive as our team’s weaknesses and assume they’ll be addressed. In reality, of course, it never works out that way. The coaches see things differently than us, each draft class is strong in some areas and weak in others, our needs don’t match with the available free agents, players have their own agendas, etc., etc. Rarely does the team operate like we want them to, and in the end thats probably for the best. Most of us don’t really know what we’re talking about.
Of course, as Chiefs fans, issues are complicated further. However you feel about it, the fact is we consistently spend less than virtually every other team. The Chiefs can still attempt to fill all of their holes, but many of them will have to be filled with question marks. Because sure things are rare. And if I remember my econ, rare things are expensive.
For instance, this last offseason NT was an obvious weakness. The Chiefs seemed to address that issue somewhat by bringing in Perv Smith. Then he ended up starting at defensive end and NT, essentially, remained a weakness. Receiver was a weakness and our question mark solution was Jerheme Urban. Center was Wiegmann. Guard Lilja. Running back Jones. Some of these guys worked out and some didn’t, but they all had one thing in common: they were all question marks. Wiegmann and Jones were old, Lilja had just been cut, Urban was a backup, and Smith was a journeyman. This is the type of free agent class we can expect as Chiefs fans. A class full of question marks.
When the question marks work out, as some did this year, a free agent class can be very productive. Lilja was great, Perv was good and Wiegmann was good enough. Jones debacle aside, that was a good class. Filled three needs. Now think about the 2009 class. Corey Mays, Mike Brown, Mike Goff, Terry Copper, Zach Thomas. Have you thrown up yet? Yeah, thats what a free agent class looks like when the question marks don’t pan out.
expectations for this free agent class in the full entry:
For the “spending less is smart!” methodology thats been foisted on us to be effective, our front office needs to hit on some of the question marks. This is an important free agency for Scott Pioli. A 2009 repeat would be disastrous, and leave us weak in several key areas. A 2010 repeat could push us to the next level.
I know a lot of us have visions of a sweet #2 receiver and a few new offensive linemen, but I’m tempering my expectations. I believe the Chiefs will bring in a receiver. I don’t believe he’ll be a legitimate #2. I believe there will be a new center either through the draft or free agency. But the 2nd round tender on Barry “Push” Richardson indicates he’ll probably be remaining as the right tackle.
What I’m saying is, don’t expect earth-shattering changes on offense. If you do, you’ll be disappointed. The Chiefs aren’t going to pony up the dough for a premier WR. They’re going to bring in a question mark. I assume they’ll sign an offensive lineman of some kind too, but it won’t be the picture-perfect puzzle piece we want, a new bookend tackle or a legit center. It’ll be a question mark. And don’t expect a new option at running back. It turns out Thom Jones is going to be quick next year (no question marks there!).
This might sound like doom-and-gloom, but it really isn’t. I happen to think that with a few minor tweaks our offense will be good to go. Not a great offense, but good enough to pair with a resurgent defense to form a pretty good team. Jamaal Charles plus an average passing game makes a pretty good offense, right? So to me, the question is what upgrades do we need to have an average passing game? We’ve already got Bowe, an average #1 receiver. And we’ve already got an average-to-above-average quarterback. Branden Albert is an average left tackle. our guards are good. I don’t like Richardson, but apparently the Chiefs do. He could very well develop into an average right tackle. Moeaki is a player on the rise. I think he can be the #2 option on an average passing team. If all we really need is an average passing offense, I’d say we’re almost there already.
To me, all our passing game really needs is a #3 option (who would start at receiver opposite Bowe) and a center who can handle the bull rush. Those are needs that can probably be filled by question marks……if Pioli is who we’ve been lead to believe he is. If not, we’re screwed. Because the big-ticket guys are not walking through that door for us. Not ever again.
You know, in a way, Clark Hunt has already accomplished what all the other owners are trying to. Less money for players, more money for ownership. The Chiefs have been following that model ever since Lamar Hunt passed away. If the rest of these owners really want to figure out how to squeeze a few extra bucks out of their franchises, they should abandon these messy negotiations and just follow Clunt’s lead. Basement payrolls, taxpayer $, increased ticket prices and massive parking charges. Like an owner-friendly CBA without the hassle.
Go Chiefs Hunt family fortune!