We’re seven days into the new league year and the Kansas City Chiefs are a decidedly different football team. John Dorsey and Andy Reid now have new starters at four, possibly five, positions. There’s been no kidding around at One Arrowhead Drive this offseason. The Chiefs are widely considered to be one of the early winners in free agency.
Let’s recap, shall we?
1. Signed S Husain Abdullah (1 year, $715,000).
2. Franchised LT Branden Albert ($9.6 million).
3. Re-signed WR Dwayne Bowe (5 years, $56 million).
4. Re-signed P Dustin Colquitt (5 years, $18.75 million).
5. Re-structured DE Tyson Jackson (2013: $4.2 million).
6. Traded 34th pick and a conditional 3rd (2014) to the Niners for QB Alex Smith.
7. Signed free agent TE Anthony Fasano (4 years, $16 million).
8. Signed free agent DE/DT Mike DeVito (3 years, $12.6 million).
9. Signed free agent CB Dunta Robinson (3 years, $13.8 million).
10. Signed free agent WR Donnie Avery (3 years, $8.55 million).
11. Signed free agent QB Chase Daniel (3 years, $10 million).
12. Signed free agent CB Sean Smith (3 years, $16.5 million).
13. Signed free agent G/T Geoff Schwartz (1 year, $1.2 million).
The players listed above are those most likely to compete for roster spots, though several other players were signed to minor deals. That’s an impressive haul for Kansas City’s new head coach and general manager. There’s still work to be done (namely in finding a new right tackle and an inside linebacker), but the Chefs are cooking. Andy Reid told the media the team would now shift their focus to the NFL Draft.
“Who knows what happens from here?” Reid said. “We had this wave here and then we’re going to step back and kind of analyze what’s out there now. Is there a move to be made here or there? Yeah, possibly. But you’re digging in on the draft now.”
“It’s important to get ourselves ready for the draft. Both John and I have said this before: That’s kind of where you build your football team. It’s not necessarily through free agency. That’s not what we’re trying to attempt to do.”
With all the Chiefs have accomplished in free agency, they won’t have many pressing needs when the draft rolls around. Couple that with Geno Smith’s highly-regarded pro day last week and Buffalo’s release of quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick, and the Chiefs should be in a position to trade the #1 pick. Recovering their R2 pick would be helpful to the team. The second round figures to be fertile ground for both of the Chiefs’ remaining vacancies (right tackle and inside linebacker). A player like Notre Dame’s Manti Te’o or A-PB’s Terron Armstead would come in and contribute right away.
The most impressive part about the recent signings is how well they fit Andy Reid’s offensive and defensive plans. Say what you want about Alex Smith, but his accuracy over short and intermediate routes is exactly what Reid’s West Coast Offense calls for. The same is true of wide receiver Donnie Avery. He’s the fleet-footed complement to Dwayne Bowe that Chiefs Kingdom has long been waiting for. His ability to rack up yardage after the catch will be beneficial to Reid’s offensive system. Anthony Fasano is a blue-collar tight end, but his durability, reliable hands, and excellent run blocking talents will help mobilize the league’s worst scoring offense. Geoff Schwartz is a versatile offensive lineman who gives the Chiefs options along the offensive front. Schwartz could start at either guard or tackle. No word yet on Kansas City’s preference, but Schwartz has said he’d like to play guard.
New cornerback Sean Smith is an ideal candidate for defensive coordinator Bob Sutton’s scheme. Sutton prefers press coverage and Smith is a big, physical player who is excellent within the first ten yards (as he can effectively jam a wide receiver). Did I mention that Smith is just 25 years old? He still has room to grow as a football player and should continue to mature under Emmitt Thomas and Al Harris. Safety Husain Abdullah has been out of football for a year, but PFF ranked him as one of the 25 best safeties in the NFL in 2011. He played only half of the season, but PFF gave him a +3.1 grade. In 2010, he played over 800 snaps in 15 games and received a +6.9 grade. If nothing else, he provides great depth at the position.
The Chiefs free agent class isn’t unimpeachable though. We’ll have to wait to see how the Chiefs plan to use cornerback Dunta Robinson. If he’s converted to free safety, his skillset will upgrade the position. He’s a hard-hitting defensive back who is great in run support and is a sure tackler. If the coaching staff prefers him at Nickel, forget I said anything. He’s lost a step and will have trouble covering smaller, faster receivers in the slot.
Mike DeVito is arguably one of the five best run-stuffing defensive linemen in the league, but he might’ve arrived a year too late. Now that Sutton is changing Kansas City’s defense to a 1-gapping system, I’m not sure DeVito was the right guy. He’s more of a 2-gap player. DeVito will be superb in run support, but he gives you even less than Glenn Dorsey when it comes to getting after the quarterback. Expect him only to play on first and second downs. Chase Daniel’s a bit of a mystery as Kansas City’s backup quarterback. He’s respected, but he’s only thrown nine real passes in four NFL seasons. His contract may have been a bit high for a guy as unproven as he is, but he can say he studied under one of the league’s best (Brees).
Overall, I give the 2013 free agent class a B+. This bunch, barring injury, should have a real shot at winning the division. Andy Reid can tell you that no group of free agents necessarily equals change in the left column of the NFL’s standings. These players need to gel for the grand design to work. They also need Kansas City’s front office to continue to put the right pieces together in the draft next month. It’s hard to argue with what they’ve done so far, but the team still has a long way to go. There are only five weeks left for the Chiefs to get ready for the 2013 NFL Draft. Dorsey deserves credit for being active in free agency, but it’s time for the Chiefs to look to the future.
Until next time, Addicts!