2013 Adjusted Cap Number: $137.067 million (5th-highest in the NFL)
2013 Cap Room Remaining: $3.562 million (8th-least in the NFL, as of July 10, 2013). However, the Chiefs have not yet signed No. 1 overall pick Eric Fisher, who will have a first-year cap hit of $4,034,636. Since Fisher’s contract will knock a $480,000 cap charge out of the “Top 51″ contracts that count against the cap during the offseason, the Chiefs actually have around $20,000 in cap space.
Best Bargain: Running back Jamaal Charles bounced back from a torn ACL in 2011 to finish fourth in the NFL with 1,509 rushing yards last season. Charles likely would have finished second behind Adrian Peterson in rushing last season had it not been for miserable performances — 20 carries for 17 yards — in three games against the Buffalo Bills and the Oakland Raiders, who had two of the worst run defenses in the league.
Best offseason acquisition: Smith is the obvious answer. Chiefs quarterbacks put up a 63.8 rating last year, 31st in the NFL. Jacksonville’s quarterbacks ranked better. Think about that for a moment. Smith was playing well last year for San Francisco, he just got Wally Pipp’ed by the incredibly talented Colin Kaepernick. The bar is pretty low for Chiefs quarterbacks, so Smith will be just fine. Getting with Reid should help him out too.
Biggest hole on the roster: While Dwayne Bowe is a good receiver (at least when he has someone competent to throw him the ball), there has to be some concern about a second option in the passing game. Jon Baldwin is a former first-round pick, Dexter McCluster was once picked in the second, and neither has lived up to their draft status. Fasano is a good player but not a playmaking receiver. Maybe Donnie Avery, a fast but inconsistent receiver who comes over from the Colts, can help.
Hudson, the KC Chiefs center, went down with a season-ending knee injury early last season. His injury caused a real stir around among the offensive line, shifting Lilja to center and Jeff Allen to guard. Considering the circumstances, Lilja did an excellent job filling in at center. I, for one, had no idea he was capable of performing competently as a center. Who knew the emergency back-ups were actually used?
So Lilja was fine last year but a 31-year old former guard is not the future of the Chiefs center position. That would be Rodney Hudson, a 2011 second round pick who somehow has very little experience. He was a highly decorated lineman coming out of Florida State, with an excellent make-up and picked high in the draft. Those types of players often don’t bust and they often play right away.
After that time, players who have been designated with the franchise tag cannot sign an extension until after the final game of the 2013 regular season.
Albert signed his franchise tender last March which will pay him $9.828 million in 2013, and he will be part of the team this season. However, if he does not sign an extension by Monday, he would be an unrestricted free agent in 2014 unless the Chiefs make him their franchise player again.
Albert, his agent Todd France and Chiefs general manager John Dorsey were not available for comment on the status of negotiations.
The Chiefs selected offensive tackle Eric Fisher with the first overall pick of the 2013 draft and plan to start him at right tackle this season, but if Albert is not retained beyond 2013, Fisher could slide over to his natural position, left tackle, in 2014.
Week 1: at Jacksonville
The skinny: Luke Joeckel has spent way too much of his time working up a complex about being the No. 2 overall pick in the draft and, well, I guess blocking the bejesus out of Justin Houston in the season opener will be his way toward redemption. Whatever. I think a lot of people will assume this is a win. The Jags are expected to be the NFL’s worst team^, after all, and have talked about playing the Red Zone channel at games so fans might actually show up. But, guys, the Chiefs were 2-14 last year. There are no gimmies, especially on the road.
^ They have the lowest Vegas over-under, anyway.