Nowhere To Go But Up For Chiefs, Nowhere But Down For Dorsey


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The Football Writers of America have named Chiefs GM John Dorsey the NFL Executive of the Year and it’s not hard to see why. Dorsey, along with HC Andy Reid, pulled off a marvel, turning around the league’s most pathetic team and making it into a feared playoff contender with just one offseason.

By the time the team kicked off in Jacksonville to start the season, Dorsey and Reid had replaced two-thirds of the roster. Top-line free agents WR Dwayne Bowe, P Dustin Colquitt and LT Brandon Albert had been retained. A talented defense was finally put in a position to thrive. Perhaps most impressive was the way that Dorsey’s constant but methodical churning of the bottom of the roster turned out gems. CB Marcus Cooper looks like a starter in this league and TE Sean McGrath ended with 302 yards receiving and 2 TD’s in spot duty.

Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

But, as amazing as that feat was, Dorsey faces an even tougher task during this offseason, and I wouldn’t expect him to repeat the amazing year-on-year improvement of the last cycle.

First, as has been laid out very well here at Arrowhead Addict, the Chiefs are in a salary cap bind. With just $3 million and change in cap space, Dorsey doesn’t have the option to sign all of the Chiefs important outgoing free agents, nor is he likely to be able to replace them all with outside free agents that the market deems as comparable talents. In fact, the big ticket guys like LT Brandon Albert and DE Tyson Jackson are almost certainly gone. WR Dexter McCluster will similarly be difficult to get under the cap ceiling and still allow for cash for draft picks, camp bodies and overall fiscal flexibility during the offseason.

If you haven’t already, and especially if you’re already writing a comment below criticizing me for being a naysaying Debbie Downer, just go over the Over the Cap’s Cap Calculator for the team and show me how you make it work yourself.

Personally, I think the team is going to have to spend more than half of its cap space bringing back S/KR Quintin Demps, G Georff Schwartz, G Jon Asamoah, and S Husain Abdullah. All four of them are going to get at least a meager pay raise, but they’re still among the cheaper options on the platter and all are dependable options at positions of need. Safety in particular is a spot that requires at least one outside acquisition, but I feel better about Abdullah out there than Kendrick Lewis, who I firmly believe is packing his bags.

Toss in the cutting of CB Dunta Robinson, and the Chiefs will be close to where they started. That’s my opening salvo, and I’m still planning my next move, I’m sure Dorsey tinkering with the same. But don’t count on him to play the same Superman routine he did last year, extending Alex Smith and resigning all of our favorites. It just isn’t happening.

The second reason Dorsey won’t be getting executive of the year next year is that the Chiefs are headed for a much tougher schedule in 2014. I’m still picking them to get into the playoffs, but it’s going to be a much harder and uglier road than it was last year. The Chiefs have the 7th toughest strength of schedule in the league next year compared to the 5th easiest (as judged pre-season) last year.

In 2013, KC was also 11-0 against mediocre QB’s, while going 0-6 against Peyton Manning, Philip Rivers and Andrew Luck. The Chiefs’ pass defense is going to face an even tougher gauntlet in 2014. Along with playing  Manning and Rivers twice, the Chiefs will face Ben Roethlisberger, Tom Brady, Russell Wilson and Colin Kaepernick next year.

All and all, Dorsey and Reid are going to have find a way to do more with less, plain and simple. The good news is that, lost in the defensive breakdown late in the season is the fact that the team improved in every area except pass D. All the same, the Chiefs are not going to sneak up on anyone next year, and the team won’t have any more “first year” excuses. While I expect the Chiefs to continue to do good things, 2014 is likely to be a reality check for the limits of money and management. If the Chiefs are going to keep surging forward, the improvement is going to have to happen on the field, not in the front office.

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Tags: Draft Free Agency Kansas City Chiefs Salary Cap

  • Stacy D. Smith

    We don’t have major needs this offseason though. We need help at free safety and wide receiver, but Commings should be healthy in 2014 and there will be inexpensive options available. I’m expecting Dorsey to probably re-structure a couple of contracts for additional room. Overall, I think you’re right though. This is a year that you coach guys up and hope their progress continues.

    • Chris Tarrants

      We should take bets now, how many starters do we have next year that Dorsey plucks from the dark depths of other teams practice squads and even CFL guys? He done a hell of a job last year just constantly churning the bottom of the roster and leaving no stone unturned. My geuss right now in January is 4 players, who will be both starters and spot starters

      • berttheclock

        Probably very close to picking the correct number. But, one player overlooked by many was the acquisition of DeVito, a true blue collar guy in the trenches. Dorsey is starting to remind me very much of the work of John Schneider, who was also a Ted Thompson protege. After he arrived in Seattle with Pete Carroll being added to the mix, the roster moves became very difficult to follow. Pickups and cuts, pickups and cuts. If any player had played for Carroll at USC or even with the Pats, come to town, but, rent, stay in a motel, but, never buy as he would cut anyone in a heartbeat under the “What have you done for us lately?” category. They rebuilt the offensive line and the defense by such moves. Now, some pundits are saying Seattle has become the new Free Agent City on the Hill. Perhaps, but, Mr Dorsey is going to keep building the Chiefs into a power house. Better days ahead for all.

        • NicholasAlanClayton

          I like DeVito, but I also think he is roughly the same quality, price and talent level as Glenn Dorsey whom he replaced. I think his signing was more or less a way of getting a Bob Sutton guy in the building who could teach the schemes and techniques Sutton wants to the rest of the D-line. On the other hand, i was watching last week’s game and saw that San Fran had Dorsey lined up at NT. I’m definitely not regretting the Poe pick, but just imagine how things would have been different if big Glenn had emerged as a consistent nose tackle a few years ago …

          • berttheclock

            Yes, the Niners out of need during the season switched Dorsey to NT. He played very well and had some kudos from players. Then, he was injured and missed a game or two, but, when healthy he went back to playing NT. Kind of funny about in that when he was with the Chiefs, he was considered to be too light to play NT.

      • NicholasAlanClayton

        I’ll take 2.

  • berttheclock

    All right, I will take my lumps, but, why the need to resign Demps? Kick off returner or needed help at safety? Should the time spent in the conditioning programs and OTAs for McKnight pay off, McKnight is an even better kick off returner than Demps and far cheaper. Demps, as well as Lewis, have had problems turning their speed into productive over the top help and I have seen far too many plays where they were late for doubling help for DBs

    Even with the Eagles, Demps was beaten out for a starting safety role, but, it was his first year. However, after that and playing for Hartford, he was a backup with the Texans and he was cut, thus, making him available for the Chiefs. The Chiefs need a much faster player, as in covering players, at safety.

    One blessing for Dorsey is the extra two weeks given him to select his draft. I, foresee, Dorsey passing on drafting a TE, due to the hopeful recovery of Kerce and Fasano coming back stronger through off season conditioning and the healing process. Remember, he is 30 with good years ahead of him. Put that first pick in the draft into one of two defensive areas. (Yes, I know we need another wide out, but, defense cost us not being able to meet the Pats). So, either, upgrade DE with someone with more quickness in pass rushing or select a solid safety or even select the bruising Dennard out of Michigan State as a shut down corner and look for a safety somewhere else. However, the most important thing on the plate of Mr Dorsey is to sign Alex Smith to a well deserved extension as he really has become the QB needed at this point for the Chiefs until young Mr Bray truly develops. Now, micah, you may commence your usual anti-Alex blather.

    • micah stephenson

      I’ll let the amout of playoff and superbowl wins speak for me about Alex (Cassel 2.0) Smith.

      • Brian Martasin

        Get a clue pal.

        • micah stephenson

          I’m give you some clues. Alex is so carefull and doesn’t turn the ball over 23 tds 7 ints. Matt Cassel had a 27 td and 7 int season. It takes more than not having ints. Cassel was able to get Bowe the ball, Bowe led the lg in tds receptions that yr. . With Cassel, they say you have to surround him with a whole lot of weapons for him to have a chance, now I hear the same thing about Alex. These guys are who they are.

          • Jim bernard

            Yeah but they really didn’t let him start throwing down field until week 9

      • Deadmeat

        Micah (Poop on he bottom of your shoe) Stephenson. Same comparison!!! So, what is really behind this personal deep hate you hold for Alex?

        • micah stephenson

          Dead (poop on your top lip) meat. I just don’t like him. He is a waste of time. Well he cool if you just trying to win regular season games sell tickets and that kind of stuff. If you trying to win 3 games in a row against playoff caliber teams and a superbowl with him, it ain’t happening. I’d rather just draft a QB and start from the bottom up. With Alex, I feel like we just treading water till we can really get somebody.

          • Deadmeat

            He has been through more adversity than most people. God, SF fans hated so hard on him for so many years, he never had a real chance. This guy just keeps getting better and better, now he has found a home and a fan base that loves him. I have nothing but respect for him and I truly believe he will get us our first playoff win in two decades. He was so freaking close this time. I can’t remember being this excited about the next season. I am so excited for this team, led by Alex Smith, I’ll be flying out to SF for that game next year. This will be my very first time in another football stadium. I’ll be doing that, because of Alex Smith. Never would have spent the money on Cassel.

          • micah stephenson

            Well good for you. They hated for a reason. Harbuagh moved on for a reason! Some people like him. Some don’t. Alex just like Cassel are real likable guys, they just have a limited skill set. Have fun at the game. You think you could get Kopernicks autograph for me while you out there? I trade you an Alex Smith signed football for it if you do.

          • Deadmeat

            Would love a Alex Smith signed football, to go next to my Dawson one.

          • micah stephenson

            I got one for you. Signed by Alex Smith, J.Charles, D.Bowe, Dexter Mcluster, Fasano, Kelce, Albert, Stephenson and Fisher. How much will you give me for it?

          • micah stephenson

            Chiefs

          • Deadmeat

            Lol, nice.

          • micah stephenson

            I got a Dawson Too! :-)

          • 22deeboi

            Its an “if”for you saying he won’t win 3 playoffs game, its also an “if” if he leads this team to the superbowl. what alex smith has always missed is continuity in his career and this is what he is getting coming into next year. when he was in his 2nd year of harbaugh’s offense he was heading towards a career high in td’s and yards before the injury. this year was his first year getting used to the new offense and he put up good numbers in the regular season and in the playoff game. i’m expecting now a breakout year, 25+ td’s and above 3500 yds

          • micah stephenson

            Thats not alot! Rivers over 4000 5 out of 6 seasons and manning 55 tds over 5000. What are yo playoff win a superbowl predictions?

          • 22deeboi

            yea but its not bad either, you leave out the records for those years phillip rivers, they averaged 9.5 wins which is basically mediocre. didn’t go anywhere any of those years and in one yr he threw 20 ints!! yea manning had that type of season but how many times has he had great regular season stats and straight up failed in the playoffs? his record in the playoffs is a terrible 10-11. my playoff predictions for next year for the nfc and afc will be:

            NFC: 49ers, Seahawks, Eagles, Saints, Cardinals and Bears
            AFC: Denver, Chiefs, Patriots, Bengals, Colts, Miami

            Superbowl will be Patriots vs Seahawks (for my favorite)
            (darkhorse pick) Chiefs vs Saints or Eagles

          • micah stephenson

            As is stands now Manning and Rivers are better. I think the Chargers make it in before the dolphins. Chiefs and Dolphins battle it out for the 6th seed.

          • Macdougl

            It is obvious you do not like Alex Smith. But comparing him to Matt Cassel? Really? Cassel is a certified back up. Smith is a proven starter. Now that Smith is comfortable with the new coach, new receivers, new play scheme, new team in general, new stadium, he threw the crap out of the ball the second half of the season. He adapted fast to the Chiefs and Andy Reeds form of football. He is still young and game smart. Not sure what team you were watching, but Smith proved he is the next QB of the Chiefs. He was asked to do a lot and near seasons end, he showed he could.

          • Jim bernard

            Absolutely agree with you and he played great against Indy , it wasn’t his fault the defense couldn’t stop anything.

    • NicholasAlanClayton

      He may not be a lights-out safety, but he was 3rd in the league for kick return average at 30.1, had a return touchdown (plus one in the preseason) and also snagged 4 INT’s on defense. I’d say he was worth his $750k salary, and if we can extend him for around $1 million a year for the next couple and he gives us roughly the same production, I’d say that’s a deal.

      • berttheclock

        I agree about his work at returning, but, check out the stats for the 2012 season of McKnight. He had one very long TD run (100 yards?) and he gained just under 1100 yards. He was cut and the Jets used several returners to rack up almost the same number of yards. One caveat about him. He can get into the fumblelitis dog house.

      • berttheclock

        One other point concerning Demps. I am not saying he is not a highly productive return guy, but, did you read Adam Teicher at ESPN, today, where he mentioned the Dallas Morning News has just listed their annual ratings of special teams in the NFL and the Chiefs came in 3rd, just behind the Niners and Pats. So, for one thing, Toub was able to really focus his players into setting up properly for blocking and creating lanes. In the past, Toub has won the best honor twice. He made a dramatic difference in the vast improvement of the Special Teams of the Chiefs with far fewer blocks in the back which, at times, seem to be called the moment the ball is kicked.

        • NicholasAlanClayton

          I totally agree that our ST success was more Toub than any particular player. But, I also think most of the league realizes that, and I look at Demps as a guy that kills two birds with one stone for the Chiefs — he’s safety depth, he’s worked as a returner and knows this system, and he’s cheap. Re-sign him.

      • micah stephenson

        Hmmm. Didn’t Adullah have 3 or 4 ints too?Why not play the best out of Adullah, Demps, and Commings at FS and Eric Berry back at SS instead at LB. It b a lot harder to get those deep passes off if both saftys played deep zones instead of just one.

        • NicholasAlanClayton

          Abdullah had 1 pick during the regular season and 2 against the Colts in the playoffs and he’s also a free agent. I say we sign them both. As for Commings, we really don’t know what we have in him. He was a late-round pick who’s been injured, and just because we haven’t really seen him shouldn’t lead us to assume he’s better than the guys who were starting.

        • NicholasAlanClayton

          Ah, and I seem to have missed your last point. Honestly, I’ve been very confused as to why they’ve been playing Berry so close to the line all the time. Supposedly he is good at it, but I also remember him being great at being the athletic center-fielder his rookie year. That’s the element we are most missing from our defense and I agree with you, if we could solve that problem by moving him around, that’ll save us a lot of time and money.

  • tm1946

    I expect the Chiefs to step back next year. Unless the team can find a way to re-vitalize the defense, other teams will be more ready to play against this unit. Of course, there is the tougher schedule also. Lastly, we seem in some salary cap hell and I cannot figure out why.
    Lastly it not like the AFC West or the NFL is waiting for the Chiefs to catch up or fix the road kill approach to defense. When you are exec. of year you are supposed to do better every year, tough assignment.

    • toperspective

      “we seem in some salary cap hell and I cannot figure out why” – Partially due to last years FA signings. Fasano, S. Smith, Divito, Daniels and Robinson and Avery are responsible for almost 28M in cap space in 2014. I don’t see 28M in production there. The only one that can be cut to save a worthwhile amount of cap space is Robinson.

  • micah stephenson

    Dorsey has a lot of work cut out for him. We still need about 3 pcs on each side of the ball, only have 3 mill n cap space, only have late 1st and 3rd rd draft picks, have escalating contracts, quite a few people hitting 30 yrs or older, is gone b stuck paying Alex too much, still has to find QBOTF, J.Houston needs an extension asap, and have a few of our players leaving in free agency. He has a lot work to do.

    • NicholasAlanClayton

      I agree on Houston, but I don’t think we have the draft ammunition to go after the QBOTF right now. Bray’s got the tools and it looks like AS11 (as much as you hate him) can steer the ship long enough until Bray is worth an honest shot. Other than that. this is still one of the youngest teams in the league. Guys like Tamba Hali, Brandon Flowers and Derrick Johnson are getting long in the tooth, but Jamaal is 26 and he’s the franchise. Outside of those three that I mentioned, it’s hard to find many cogs that are aging, and LB’s can always be found.

      • micah stephenson

        DJ will b 31, Hali, Alex, Fasano, Avery, Devito will b 30. Bowe 29. Flowers 28 he will b alright for a few more yrs. I’d like to have guys coming up the pipeline for those older players. Those also happen to b the guys with bigger contracts.