The Chiefs have made quite the splash in free agency this offseason, something fans around these parts aren’t used to. And while this activity certainly does not guarantee success – just ask Andy Reid and the Eagles “Dream Team” or Scott Pioli and Chiefs fans everywhere after the last offseason when we got Eric Winston and Peyton Hillis and everyone still naively thought Pioli knew what he was doing – it is nice to see some activity in an attempt to improve the team.
Most of this activity is expected: after all, most new regimes want their own guy at quarterback so we all knew a move was either going to come in free agency or the draft. And then there’s always the expected move of new coaches bringing in free agents from their previous teams: just like Mike DeVito following Bob Sutton from New York. But some of these additions, such as Dunta Robinson, Geoff Schartz and Sean Smith, I would consider luxury additions.
(I’m going to interject here in regards to a signing that might go overshadowed but still important. By the Chiefs getting Anthony Fasano from Miami, they are greatly improving their red zone offense. Let me explain: while Tony Moeaki appears to be the better receiving tight end and perhaps a better target in the middle of the field, Fasano has proved time and again his red zone scoring capabilities. In fact, since 2009, Fasano has accounted for 17 touchdowns. In that same time, KC tight ends have combined for 11. And that time span doesn’t even include the 7 TDs he had in 2008. Plus he’s a decent blocker. All those things combined and you got yourself a good tight end).
What I mean by that terminology is that the Chiefs really didn’t NEED them, but they make the team better in the now, and are the kinds of additions that a team expecting to win makes. After all, the Chiefs already had Javier Arenas and Jalil Brown to play corner and nickel. The Chiefs already had 2012 2nd round pick, Jeff Allen, at guard, assuming that’s where Schwartz ends up playing (as Pro Football Focus stated on twitter on Friday, Schwartz could make a good right tackle but can make a GREAT right guard). The Chiefs could have stood pat, hoped these players developed, and rolled the dice on their success. Instead, the new regime, with no preconceived loyalties to players from the old regime, went out and got players they believed as upgrades and that would help the team win now.
This should be encouraging as a Chiefs fan, because most teams coming off a two-win season would be looking to rebuild through the draft, not reload during free agency. This is even more of a surprise if you know John Dorsey’s history in Green Bay, where in 2010 the Packers had the third highest percentage of draft picks making up their roster with 71.7%. In fact, when the Packers won the Super Bowl that year, they had just two players on the roster that had been signed as unrestricted free agents, and both (cornerback Charles Woodson and defensive tackle Ryan Pickett) had been acquired in 2006.
For Dorsey to go out and get all these guys, you have to believe he either thinks the roster was in need of a jump start or the team is close to competing for a playoff spot now. Either way, Dorsey is making it known that he is his own man and isn’t afraid to break the Packer mold. This, of course, is something that Scott Pioli had trouble doing and ultimately served as his downfall and reason for scorn from much of the Chiefs fan base.
So, after addressing the cornerback, tight end, quarterback, defensive end, guard, wide receiver and whatever position Robinson is actually going to play, what’s left?
Once again, assuming Schwartz doesn’t play right tackle, I believe that is a position of need. Once the Chiefs released Eric Winston based on “philosophical differences”, who was a top right tackle in the NFL by the way, that opened the conversation up for who was going to replace him. Could the Chiefs roll with 2012 3rd round pick Donald Stephenson in that role? Sure; but I have to believe that this position will be addressed in either the next few weeks of free agency or through the draft in April. But don’t assume that Winston’s release guarantees the Chiefs selecting Luke Joeckel with the first overall pick. Joeckel played left tackle all throughout college and Branden Albert has played only left tackle while in the NFL. And if you think switching from the left to the right side is easy, it’s not. Can Joeckel do it? Probably; but would the Chiefs spend a #1 pick on a potential right tackle? I guess we’ll find out.
The other position that the Chiefs might want to address before the draft is inside linebacker. With Jovan Belcher’s death and Brandon Siler’s release, the Chiefs are in a position of need there. While linebackers are going quickly on the market, there are still a few that are available, and with the spending spree that the Chiefs are going on (which I’ve stated on Twitter before I have no problem with. After all, it’s not my money, what do I care?), ILB seems like as good of a position as any to throw some money at.
Any other positions the Chiefs should look at before the draft? Just want to talk about how awesome Chase Daniel is? Hit me up in the comments section.