Winston, Robinson Moves Reveal Complex Plan

Well, these new guys sure know how to keep us guessing.

When you think they’re going to zig, they zag. For weeks, reports were coming out about unproductive contract negotiations with the Chiefs’ unsigned stars and our new GM’s affinity for the “draft-and-develop” and “best-player-available” approaches. When the new regime traded our 2nd rounder (and more) for QB Alex Smith, it seemed cemented that LT Brandon Albert would be allowed to walk, Bowe would be tagged and denied a long-term deal for another year and the Chiefs would draft the best tackle available.

Then, the team locked up all three of the team’s most important free agents – including Albert – in a day. Chiefs nation rejoiced. This made the offensive linemen a secondary need moving forward and freed our hands to do whatever we pleased in the draft. Then, just as suddenly, the team cut our second-best lineman at the opposite tackle spot.

RT Eric Winston’s $4.5-million salary was more than reasonable given his skill and the value of the position.  Did they need the cap space? Well, by restructuring DE Tyson Jackson’s contract, they doubled their cap space for 2013 and they still have Matt Cassel on the roster due $7.5 million next year. More head-scratching ensues.

Maybe they want to go young? Perhaps they’ll move Albert to RT, or start the 1st-overall tackle selection there. But, they just traded a high pick for a veteran quarterback. Not exactly a rebuilding move. If there were any doubts that the new regime believes it can win now, those were certainly dashed by the signing of CB Dunta Robinson, who is 31 and will make an average of $5 million a year for the next three.

Josh D. Weiss-USA TODAY Sports

Immediately, speculation was rife that the Chiefs intend to move him to free safety. This of course did not stop CB Javier Arenas from mouthing off to a local blogger who had the temerity to suggest that the team that gave up 29 passing touchdowns last year (only four teams allowed more) could use some cornerback help.

After spending a few days trying to reconcile the seeming contradictory nature of these moves over the past week, I finally realized the simple truth that we can only see a portion of the plan right now. Free agency hasn’t really started and the Draft is still more than a month away. Trying to figure out what the new regime is doing is like trying to put together a puzzle with only about 10% of the pieces.

To me, this is what we are seeing:

 

Reid wants an O-line that can pass block

Overall, Pro Football Focus rated the Chiefs offensive line as the 12th best in the league in 2012, but that ranking was pushed up for them being the 8th best run-blocking unit. They were far less effective when you look at their pass blocking (14th) and amount of penalties accrued (15th). Winston was pretty much the embodiment of that. Winston is a gnarly run-blocker, but committed 10 penalties and isn’t at his best blocking for passers.

This is actually both a deep Draft and free agency year for tackles, so if HC Andy Reid and company think they can find better and cheaper pass-blocking tackles out there, then this move makes perfect sense. In the NFL, it is considered a gentlemanly move to cut players as soon as you are confident you will be moving on from them. Releasing Winston now gives him a jump on free agency and the best chance to get value for his services. Had they waited until after the Draft, most teams looking for right tackles would have likely already filled their roster holes and the money out there would be spent as well.

Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports

The names I would keep my eye on are Gosder Cherilus of the Lions and Winston Justice, who previously played for Reid in Philly and will come cheap. The team is also reportedly arranging workouts with top tackle prospects Luke Joeckel and Eric Fisher.

 

The new regime respects this defense

I honestly expected a lot more turnover on the defensive side of the ball by this point. However, the fact that the Chiefs kept Jackson and reportedly want to hold on to DE Glenn Dorsey shows that they think that this defense doesn’t need to be fiddled with much. They picked up Robinson quickly after he was cut by Atlanta for a surprisingly reasonable price. Generally, players will get a bit more money before free agency opens up, because they are essentially allowing the team to fill a hole and narrow their focus before the floodgates open. Once it’s open season on free agents, everyone’s personal value goes down.

Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

That’s why, to me, the Robinson signing smacks of opportunism. The team knew they wanted to bring in a starting quality CB or two, they sent Robinson an offer not looking at him as a priority target and it worked. The contract isn’t huge, but having Dunta gives them some flexibility. I would be surprised if we don’t sign at least one more free agent D-back (the Rams’ Quintin Mikell is my best guess).

 

This is what GM John Dorsey means by “best player available”

BPA is the new zeitgeist phrase of the Chiefs blogverse. It’s what Dorsey lives by, and I think it’s been largely misunderstood. In order to pick whatever you believe is the best value out there, you need to have a solid team in the first place. If your fridge breaks, you don’t go out and buy a second washing machine just because it’s on sale. Very few people will be excited if the Chiefs use their 1st-overall pick on an offensive tackle, but if Dorsey thinks that the guy is a future Hall-of-Famer and there’s no longer any gaping holes on the roster, I can live with it.

We still need to get ourselves a backup QB (ideally through the Draft) and fill in a bit of depth here and there, but I think we starting to see the new guys make their mark on this team. The O-line is going to be reworked (although we’re not quite sure how), but otherwise we will be a team that rewards their own and fights to compete every year.

My qualms with specific moves aside thus far, I’m increasingly optimisitic for where this franchise is headed.

Topics: Dunta Robinson, Eric Fisher, Eric Winston, Free Agency, Glenn Dorsey, Gosder Cherilus, Luke Joeckel, Matt Cassel, NFL Draft, Quintin Mikkel, Tyson Jackson, Winston Justice

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  • Tyler Alexander

    Somethings going on in Philly sending the owner and coaches and management to look at Geno. Maybe they’re gonna trade us Foles and #4 to us for our #1 to keep Arizona and Oakland from taking him first. Its not like they’ll need Foles if they draft Geno.

    • http://twitter.com/javierq7 Francisco Quezada

      That would be perfect

    • Troy Adam

      Great idea Tyler!

    • Doug McD

      This would be awesome. I think this would fit the new game plan in Philly also. They would have Vick,Dixon and Geno. Maybe we could throw in Matt Cassel just for fun.

      • superman_25_58

        Hopefully the reports are wrong and we traded Matt Cassel, and a next year 2nd or 3rd pick depending on how Alex Smith performs and just swapped 2nds with SF……………. Is this possible?…………….Ya prolly not but would be sweet!

    • chiefridgy

      I think I could live with that.

    • GDL40

      That would be a great start to our 2013 draft…..although I would prefer their 2nd round pick over Foles. BUT that is just a dream …..

    • Jim Harper

      That is certainly an interesting scenario and makes a ton of sense. Foles, with a year under his belt already has more experience, not to mention we know Andy already likes the guy.

    • micah stephenson

      Why wud they trade up from 4 to 1 when it looks like kc might b stupid enough to pass on Geno. O I know Why, cus the other teams needing a QB are not stupid enough. If KC is that Dumb hell yea philly will trade up for geno!

      • KCMikeG

        I am still holding out hope for Geno but if that doesn’t happen I will trust Dorsey & Reid judgment of his potential. If Smith works we could still get Boyd or Manziel next year and as much as I like Geno I think they both would be better NFL QB’s. If FA continues to be fruitful and the draft goes right this year we fill our needs at RT CB, SILB, FS, WR? then we could afford to trade a bundle of 2014 picks with a 1st round from 2015 & 2016 if necessary to lock down the next elite QB. Even if Smith succeeds why wouldn’t a team that wants to be a perineal playoff contender have two starters at the most important position on the field?

        • micah stephenson

          They gon haft to earn my trust. Im not giving them anything.

    • micah stephenson

      Why wud Philly trade up to 1 for Geno if he aint worth the #1 pick in the armchair GMs eyes?

    • KCMikeG

      Like it – funny I thought I had heard it was Joeckel who they might trade up with us for. So who do we take with the #4 pick? Assuming we fill the CB/S positions with another F/A then I would like to see us take Fisher over Joeckel. While Joeckel could play RT – Fisher played RT last year plus LT and has also played guard. I really like the versatility he offers as we have been hurt when injuries required changes. There is something about Joeckel and the way he locks up his feet once engaged that I believe will limit his pass blocking development. Fisher excels at it, was dominate all year, owned ALL the DE’s in pass pro at the Senior Bowl. We all know that the emphasis will be passing in Reids WC offense.

      I’m with GDL40 below that I would rather have our 2nd round pick than Foles. Not that I don’t like him. I actually promoted us taking him last year and wouldn’t be disappointed if he was part of the deal but I like EJ Manuel better.

    • Danny W

      I think a swap and Foles wouldn’t be enough in my humble opinion. I want a third or a second to boot. In fact now that I think about it they can keep Foles.

  • Calchiefsfan

    Maybe the Eagles figure Geno’s not going in the first 3 picks. If AZ wants Geno they better trade up with us to get him.

    • superman_25_58

      I think the Eagles are in more need of a dominant offensive tackle than a QB IMO. The Eagles line needs some Major upgrading to keep Vick or whatever QB ends up starting, on their feet and aware, instead of running for their lives. Thought I heard something about the Eagles are interested in the Arizonas Qb, he is also a good mobile QB.

  • Calchiefsfan

    I’d really like to trade down a couple of spots and get a 2nd round pick back.

    • Danny W

      I think the Chiefs do too. The trouble is finding any suitors.

  • micah stephenson

    Hmmmm. So philly who has Vick and Foles but still want Geno! Wow. Notice how Oak, Philly, AZ, & Buf want Geno. They all pick in the top ten. Geno is good enough to b picked in the top ten by the other teams that need a QB but not the Chiefs. Wow.

  • dioxintribe

    Branden Albert has not been resigned. He was given the franchise tag and has until July to sign an offer. And can you please explain what you mean from the title (which got me to read the article), “. . Moves Reveal Complex Plan”? You state. “Reid wants an O-line that can pass block” – that’s what 31 other coaches in the NFL want too. Winston was terrible. I get to the end and read “The O-line is going to be reworked (although we’re not quite sure how)”?? – I was looking for the “Plan”. I for one will be very excited if they pick an OT with the #1 pick, because those that have played or coached football know that it all starts with the O-line. I do agree that they are headed in the right direction. (and they might even keep a contract-restructured Cassel as backup!)

    • NicholasAlanClayton

      Sorry for the false advertising, but like everyone else at this point, I have no idea what Reid and Dorsey are thinking. I can only guess.

  • Dr. Paine

    I think we all agree that said trade scenario is a no brainer, but I have a feeling that a team wanting a damn good QB would be wise to take a long look at Geno.

    I live in West Virginia where the Mountaineers are HUGE, and have watched my fair share of Geno over the last 2 years.

    1) There are no character issues. He is a leader on and off the field, and really cares about his team as a whole.
    2) Theres a delusion that he played poorly in the Pinstripe Bowl, his last game in college. If you watched it, you know the conditions were abysmal. He was 16-24 with 2 TDs, 0 INTs, 2 taken safeties (bad), and 1 lost fumble (also bad). If you didn’t watch it, you wouldn’t know that nearly all of those incompletions were drops. You also wouldn’t know that the WV defense was a wet tissue in every phase, routinely getting carved up by anyone at any position all year and particularly in the Pinstripe Bowl.
    3) On the sideline, he is a very vocal leader and isn’t afraid to get in somebody’s face if necessary. This is essential out of an NFL QB.
    4) Geno is deadly accurate. He is in a QB friendly attack and had Tavon Austin and Stephon Bailey setting the world on fire, but he often threw them open.
    5) He has the moxie and field presence to play with poise late in games. If you missed the WV Oklahoma game, wow…
    6) I’m not a huge stat guy but this is an impressive line from his senior season: 369 for 518 at 71.2% (wow) 4,205 yards, 42 TD’s and 6 INT’s. How was West Virginia so bad with him throwing over 40 touchdowns? No defense. None.

    I don’t think he’s ready yet, and I don’t think we should hesitate if we get a good package for #1, but I think we should still consider the idea that we stand pat and draft him #1. I like the idea of having him sit and learn Andy Reid’s complex system for a year and develop rapport with the receivers. He can learn how to be an NFLQB from Alex Smith. Think Carson Palmer sitting behind Jon Kitna for a year. It worked pretty well for a while.

    • Danny W

      We’ve been beating the Geno drum now for a long long time. I think since the Alex Smith trade we’ve all kind of gotten over the idea of getting him. Don’t get me wrong we would love to have him or most would but sadly I’d say the chances are really minimal.

      • Dr. Paine

        With him going 60-64 with 2 drops at his pro day, looks like we’re trading down! The more teams interested the better…let the bidding begin!

  • Adam Sherman

    Nice fridge, washing machine analogy……………………………..

  • Danny W

    NAC

    I’m in agreement that our new brass is seemingly aggressive instead of passive and thus far it seems to be welcome relief from what we’ve had in the last four years. I’m having dreams of Alex Smith completing dump off passes and hell maybe even 10 yard outs. So yeah I think subconsciously I am optimistic too.Were going to have to make a couple of more moves though in free agency for sure.

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