The Chiefs’ offseason has now officially begun with the signing of CB Stanford Routt. There are mixed reviews on the signing. The main reason for this is that people are worried about the team re-signing Brandon Carr.
Let’s get this out of the way right off the bat. Brandon Carr is not coming back.
“Lyle, the Chiefs have plenty of money to sign Carr, too! If they don’t re-sign him, they’re just being cheap!”
Fine, you’re entitled to your opinion. Here’s what I know. The Chiefs signed Brandon Flowers to a contract that pays him an average of about $8.3 million per season to be their number one CB. Stanford Routt signed for about $6.5 million per season to be the team’s number two CB. What that tells me is that Brandon Carr isn’t taking number two CB money. If he was willing to sign for around $7 million per season, let’s say five years, $35 million, he would have. By all reports, Carr likes Kansas City. He’s great friends with Brandon Flowers, he’s got a great defensive coach in Romeo Crennel. He even chose to make KC his home in the offseason. So if he was willing to take less money than he’ll get on the open market, I think he would have already. The fact is, he didn’t.
So the question then becomes, should the Chiefs give him number one CB money? Now, I love Brandon Carr. I listed him as my number one in-house free agent to re-sign just last week. But the Chiefs should under no circumstance give him as much or more money than they paid Brandon Flowers. I understand that the Chiefs have lots of cap room, but they also have to think long term. When they drafted Eric Berry at number five overall under the old high rookie salary system, they made him the highest paid safety in the league (at least at that point). Then they gave Flowers a big contract.
I love Carr and value what he brings to the team, but I don’t think it’s smart to have that big of a percentage of the team’s payroll locked up in the secondary. Not when the league has gone out of its way to give WRs the advantage with the increased pass interference rules they put in place a few years back. If you want to be mad at the Chiefs for not signing Carr long term it shouldn’t be because they won’t break the bank to sign him now. It should be that they didn’t re-sign him a year ago before his value (and asking price) got so high.
Plus, the Routt signing went a long way to ease my fears about losing Carr when I read that Routt’s best asset is as a man-to-man corner. The reason I worried that Carr’s loss would set the defense back is because in both the Green Bay and Denver wins at the end of the season, the reason the defense was so effective is because they trusted both CBs to play man-to-man on the outside with only one safety (Lewis) staying back. My fear was that if they didn’t find a CB that could handle playing man-to-man that they may have to keep an extra safety back deep and play more of a zone. Taking that extra man away from Romeo in the middle of the field (or as an extra blitzer) would greatly affect what the defense could do. If Routt can handle playing man-to-man (which at least some think he can), then the Chiefs defensive gameplan will not be affected by the move from Carr to Routt, even if there is a slight downgrade between the two. One possible upgrade that Routt brings is that he has elite speed. Even though both Flowers and Carr have been great in coverage, neither of them are “burners.” The Chiefs now have a CB with enough speed (I believe he set a record for 40 time at the combine) to keep up with the fastest WRs in the league.
The bottom line is that I’m hoping the drop off in performance will be less than the significant price tag difference that it appears there may be between the two.
Here’s the real question….
Will the Chiefs go out and be aggressive in free agency to actually take advantage of this extra cap space?
If we just go off of recent history, then the answer is probably “don’t count on it.”
However, there are signs out there that point to the Chiefs taking a different approach this offseason. The Chiefs are going out of their way to sell us on them being big players in free agency. Clark Hunt has been telling local newspapers and sports talk radio that the Chiefs are carrying over their cap space because they plan on needing it.
Keep in mind that we are talking about one of the most “tight lipped” organizations in professional sports. Their typical M.O. would have been to roll the cap space over but not say a word about it publicly. You combine that with the Chiefs’ website running a “30 FAs in 30 Days” series where they preview one marquee free agent every day for a month leading up to the start of free agency and all signs point to the Chiefs being active in free agency this year. Once again, we all know that Scott Pioli micro-manages every detail of this organization. So if Josh Loney is out there hyping possible free agents it’s because Pioli has given him the green light to do so.
Why would the Chiefs do these things if they planned on sitting on their thumbs and only making “Kelly Gregg-ish” FA signings again this year? The public perception of this team’s front office is about the lowest it’s ever been. So if they went out and screamed from the rooftops about how they were going to need all this cap space and hyped all these free agents on their website and then did nothing, they are the most incompetently run organization in professional sports. They may be greedy and power hungry, but I don’t think they’re stupid.
Now, maybe the only reason they’re going to spend big this offseason is because public perception of them is so low coming off the “Arrowheadgate” rumors and they want to bring fans back around (and sell more tickets). Frankly, I could care less about their motivations as long as they go out and sign good players that help the Chiefs win.
So bottom line, the Routt signing, in my opinion is a good and bad thing. It’s bad because to me it says that Brandon Carr was unwilling to take number two CB money. It’s a good thing because with Carr leaving for number one CB money somewhere else, they now already have his replacement lined up and don’t have to worry about spending a high draft pick to replace him. Now the Chiefs just have to go out and prove that they’re going to utilize the extra money they saved in the process.
As always, thanks for reading and GO CHIEFS!!!!!!!!