The longest work stoppage in NFL history is officially over. The owners and players can pat themselves on the back (they already did) for biting the bullet and signing a deal that will continue to make all of them very rich. Must’ve been tough. What I would really like to see is a “Yes We Did” type press conference with Clark Hunt, DeMaurice Smith, and Roger Goodell all trying to look über cool up on stage with fog machines and lasers. This would be a great day for DeMaurice Smith, finally making it on stage after being beat out by Doctor Teeth as front man for Electric Mayhem. They could have an entire hour long narcissistic show about their decision to ratify the new CBA as well (I love they used this term like it was the freaking Constitution on the United States). It would include what thoughts were going through their mind, where their inspiration to sign the document came from, how they did all of this for the fans, what type of pen they used, what type of shoes they were wearing, how it’s all for sale on eBay…
If I am correct though, you all did not come here to read about the lockout though, right? Screw the past four months. Addicts, it is time to talk real football!
If you have been paying attention to the front page of AA, you probably noticed that not only have the Chiefs become active since the hammer dropped, they came out in full force. There are a lot of metaphors going on in the media to describe the difference between the regular offseason, and this super-compressed version, but I liken it to the difference between the Daytona 500 and Top Fuel drag racing. The first is a long drawn out race based on tact, foresight, and calculated risks. The second is all about getting the jump on your competition and trying not to fly off the track as you accelerate ridiculously towards the finish line.
If anything, stepping into this great unknown will test the “In Pioli We Trust” motto more than anything we have seen before. The free agent market is likely to be all over the place with teams either trying to enforce the rules of a buyer’s market or panicking and offering exorbitant amounts of money to get the free agents they have been chomping at the bit for during the work stoppage. How Pioli handles these next couple of weeks will truly show the Chiefs and the NFL if he is deserving of the praise so frequently lavished upon him. All I can say is I am very glad at this juncture that we do not have “Hot Carl” Peterson at the helm.
I have my own opinions as to how Pioli and company will act during this free agency period, and will break it down into the three main components of player acquisition. We already are amidst the first stage, also the biggest crapshoot, of signing undrafted free agents. It is true that Priest Holmes was an undrafted free agent, but so was that guy you saw sweeping the parking lot at QuikTrip last night. This is a “throw everything against the wall and see what sticks” period where we will determine who to add at depth, and who to replace on our practice squads. If you are looking for more than that out of the undrafted peeps keep your eyes peeled and you may get a surprise, there are always a few out there that can, and we have a pretty damn good scouting department.
Phase two (more than likely running concurrently) will be to sign any players on the team whose contracts are up. I think our retention here should be pretty good, but one thing I would advise you not to wait on is signing Tamba Hali to a long term deal. I expect that the Chiefs will reach an agreement with Hali, but I would be very surprised to see them strike a deal with him before the season starts. It simply wouldn’t make any sense to burn the franchise tag on him if they were going to get a deal done that quickly. I think player retention will be where a majority of the Chiefs offseason spending comes from, but not only because these are home grown guys that have already proven themselves, but because of the unique circumstances surrounding phase three.
Phase three will consist of the free agency pool, as I stated before a lot of players will go under value, with premier free agents going above because of time constraints. Through basic reasoning I expect a majority of these contracts to be shorter than normal. I am no agent, but if I am a player who knows I could get more under normal circumstances but has to get a deal done I would want a shorter contract. Makes sense at least. Personally I do not see Pioli as one to get into bidding wars for high profile talent, but I can see them picking up a couple of bargain players for short contracts to see if they work out. The Chiefs simply do not have enough depth at key positions to try for the home run in free agency. I could be wrong, but I wouldn’t expect a whole lot of pomp from the Chiefs in the free agency market. Of course with the unpredictability Pioli showed at the draft this year I may be taking the cake at the end of the season in Big Matt’s “I Was Wrong Awards.”
So there is an overview of how I see Pioli and company proceeding through the unknown of this shortened offseason. What an exciting way to end four months of football boredom. What do you think Addicts, do you see the remainder of the offseason as far as personnel acquisitions going this way? If you were at the helm what choices would you make? Personally building through the draft and retaining homegrown talent has put us in a pretty good spot. I would like to see one or two premiere players brought in but I don’t expect that will happen, especially with the unique circumstances of this free agency period.