Upon their epic stomping of the Packers, and throughout a turbulent 2011 season that has left all of us dispirited at one time or another, it’s incredibly easy to miss one thing: these Kansas City Chiefs are Super Bowl ready in too many phases to ignore.
They have the opportunistic defense with the elite pass rusher. They have the solid WR receiving corps with some outstanding talent. They have one of the game’s best rushers in Jamaal Charles, and decent blocking across the offensive line (with one glaring exception).
As always, the Chiefs will need several things this offseason, but as far as I’m concerned, all of them are attainable in your average offseason. The one area of need the Chiefs have above all others is, of course, the quarterback position. And with all our other elements in place, landing a primo QB could turn this team into a contender overnight.
As of December 28th, 2011, I am publicly leading the charge on AA and across the Chiefs blogosphere for the franchise to heavily consider going the Joe Montana route. They should opt to bring in future Hall of Famer Peyton Manning, who will be formerly of the Indianapolis Colts, through any means necessary. (Assuming, as we must, that his neck checks out.)
It’s a huge gamble. But come March 2012, he will command a $28 million roster bonus for the worst team in the NFL. The Colts, by this point, will have either the #1 or #2 pick, and their QB of choice (either Andrew Luck or Robert Griffin III) will have been zeroed in on this point. The rebuild will be commencing, and with an untradeable contract, Peyton Manning, once the face of the franchise, will be cut.
Free agency starts right after this cut date, and at that point, Peyton Manning will be commanding a big pay day for an immediate contender. The Chiefs have more pieces in place than any other team on the market for a Super Bowl run (excluding, perhaps, the Cowboys or Jets, should either team elect to make an incredibly unlikely run for him), and oh yeah, they have more cap space than any other team with Manning in their radar.
Signing Peyton Manning to a contract on Day One of the offseason is an imperative. It allows him maximum time to build a rapport with all the non-Dwayne Bowe receivers on the team (Bowe will likely be franchised by the team for the summer and be deep in hold-out mode).
It also allows us to bring in a ton of free agents who will literally line the streets outside of One Arrowhead Drive to play with Manning. My favorite Chiefs-specific free agents I have targeted:
RB Jason Snelling, Falcons
C Chris Myers, Texans
TE David Nelson, Bills
WR Antony Gonzalez, Colts
All of thsese folks are likely to hit the market, and would be a brilliant fit for our Manning-led offense. They would all come easier and cheaper with Manning under center, as well.
Did I also mention that the guy is a natural locker room leader, is a brilliant contributor to the community, and would guarantee the Chiefs 10 sold-out home games, perhaps restoring Arrowhead to its past glory and netting the team several primetime games throughout the 2012 and 2013 seasons?
Acquiring Manning wouldn’t prevent this team from pursuing its QB of the future, either. This team will still end up with something like the 12th overall pick in the 2012 NFL Draft. It’s possible to use that pick on a franchise QB like Landry Jones or Ryan Tannehill who could use the next two to three years to sit out and let Manning do his thing. By the time Manning’s window closes, we’ll have a supremely understudied QB of the future in the wings.
The stars are aligning for history to repeat itself in Kansas City. But ask yourself what this sport and what this team is worth to you if not a chance to do something so interesting, so immensely fun, and so incredibly aggressive as landing a Hall of Famer in his twilight years to finish off this roster.
I’m ready for it. Are you?