Kansas City Chiefs GM Scott Pioli had a good day yesterday and he deserves to be recognized for it.
After all, we aren’t shy about voicing our displeasure with moves the Chiefs make so it is only fair that we are just as quick to praise them when, in our view, they do well.
After what I felt were a couple of free agency strikeouts and mistakes by Pioli, the Chiefs’ GM came roaring back yester with two big moves that I think will greatly help the team moving forward.
First, he managed to outwait the Le’Ron McClain market long enough to still lock up the FB to a one-year, team friendly deal.
Why is the one-year deal significant?
Well, more than likely, when free agency began, McClain was looking for a long-term deal. It makes the most sense for free agents to get locked up long-term for big contracts with a lot of guaranteed money. By waiting out the market on McClain, Pioli was able to wait until the player and his agent were forced to change their expectations. This enabled the Chiefs to get McClain for one-year. McClain is a talented player but he has had his share issues like complaining about his lack of carries and spitting in another players face. Those aren’t giant concerns but they are enough to make the Chiefs want to get a good look at McClain before they consider inking him to anything long-term. McClain could certainly help the Chiefs, maybe a lot depending on how he is used, but a FB, unless you are talking Tony Richardson in his prime, isn’t a guy you want to break the bank on.
Pioli attempting to wait out the market may have backfired on him in the case of Shaun Smith and Ron Edwards. We don’t know what the plan was with those two so we can’t know for sure. But in McClain’s case, it worked to perfection. Well done Scott.
The next move Pioli made and not a moment too soon, was locking in Tamba Hali for a five-year contract. Hali is in his prime and is one of the league’s best pass rushers. I worried yesterday that Pioli might be jerking Hali’s chain a little bit. I was afraid that he might try to force Hali to play under the franchise tag for a season to give himself insurance in case Hali got injured.
I was wrong.
Pioli wisely used all of the negotiating time allotted to him and got Hali in before the league year began. Now Tamba, along with McClain, can join his teammates at practice.
If we’ve learned one thing about Scott Pioli it is that he is very patient in free agency. I think in almost every cast, this is a virtue. Sometimes, however, I wish that Pioli was a little quicker to react. Alas, nobody can be perfect.
Yesterday’s should help to somewhat dispel the idea that the Chiefs are cheap. I am not saying that Clark Hunt is a big spender but the team has at least made moves to lock up guys like Jamaal Charles, Derrick Johnson and now Tamba Hali. These players are young, in the prime of their careers and they are pro bowl caliber. If Pioli can manage to lock up Brandon Carr, Brandon Flowers and Dwayne Bowe in the next couple of years, the Chiefs likely won’t need to be too active in free agency down the road. All the good players will already be on their team.
Pioli isn’t perfect but the last 24 hours have softened my opinion of his offseason. I’d now give him a solid B for his moves where yesterday he probably would have gotten a C.
If you wanted a big-name free agent to sign with the Chiefs this offseason, you just got one.
His name is Tamba Hali.