A couple of weeks ago, AA senior writer Ladner “Laddie” Morse came up with an interesting scenario. As we all know, this time of year for football fans, mock drafts abound. But as many have pointed out, doing one now is pointless because free agency hasn’t even started yet and it’s impossible to know what teams’ needs will be after they’ve signed free agents.
Laddie’s answer: don’t just mock the draft but the entire off season.
In his original post, Ladner laid out the ground rules. We’ll use those as well. They were pretty simple.
1) Make at least one free agent signing
2) Make at least one trade- either inside or outside of the draft
3) Create a one-team specific 7 round mock (see fanspeak link below)
I’ve said before that I’m a fan of sci-fi type shows and movies. One of my favorite shows from recent past was Fringe from J.J. Abrams about an alternate universe, much like ours. For this scenario, consider me the alternate or Fringe-Dorsey.
In following Laddie’s rules, I made four free agent signings. I also did some restructuring of contracts as well. The best way to do this and keep the salary cap situation straight is www.overthecap.com. They update the site constantly and allow you to play with the numbers and re-sign current free agents. First, let’s look at the contracts I worked out.
Chiefs safety Eric Berry is the highest paid safety in the league. He currently has two years left on his rookie deal — one of the outrageous ones, done before the rookie cap was instituted — but the Chiefs are talking to him about restructuring. In my Fringe-esque fantasy world, my version of John Dorsey was able to work out a four-year extension with Berry, locking him up until the 2019 season. The deal is a $66.55 million deal with $29.25 million guaranteed. It breaks down like this:
Eric Berry Mock Contract
As you can see, Berry will continue to lead the league in pay checks in regards to the safety position after signing this contract.
The next contract our imaginary John Dorsey was able to work was with Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith. In real life as in our scenario, the Chiefs want to lock up Smith for a few more years, while trying to manage the cap situation for this season. The contract they reached with Smith will do just that. The Chiefs offered Smith a four-year extension worth $53.7 million. That contract includes $25.2 in guaranteed cash. This is the breakdown:
Alex Smith Mock Contract
Work Out Bonus
Based on current value on these players in these positions, these are very realistic contracts that could happen. Based on salary cap projections, by creating these extensions, the Chiefs cap room would be right around $17 million. That frees up the space for the Chiefs to make the next set of moves, which is sign players on the roster that are scheduled to hit free agency.
Just like the real John Dorsey, I had some priorities when it came to which free agents I wanted to lock up. The first was guard, Geoff Schwartz.
With the cap space that I created in extending Berry and Smith, I was able to give Schwartz a nice deal that included a three-year extension for $10.45 million with $8 million guaranteed. Schwartz’s contract broke down like this:
Geoff Schwartz Mock Contract
The next two free agents who were a priority to re-sign were huge defense/special teams contributors from last season. They were strong safety/kick returner Quintin Demps and free safety Husain Abdullah. Both of these players were signed to one-year deals slightly above what their last year’s contracts were worth.
The final two “home grown” free agents were the last two pieces from the Chiefs 2013 team that I wanted to bring back. In order to give last year’s rookie linebacker Nico Johnson one more year to learn the speed of the NFL game, I wanted to bring “thumper” Akeem Jordan back to the team. A two-year deal worth $2.5 million easily brought him back to Kansas City.
The final free agent to sign back to the Chiefs was receiver/punt returner Dexter McCluster. With the unexpected increase to the cap as well as the contract extensions, the Chiefs were able to bring back the diminuitive receiver and returner for the next four years. The breakdown of his $19.1 million contract was like this:
Dexter McCluster Mock Contract
After those signings, the Chiefs were left with $11.2 million in cap space. In sticking with the original rules as well as following the possibilities, the Chiefs were looking for a trade to make.
One of the biggest positions of need heading into this off season is free safety. Though the Chiefs brought back Husain Abdullah, he is not the answer moving forward at the position. Therefore, Dorsey had to either find a top level talent in free agency or draft one. However, because the level of talent at the safety position significantly drops off after the first round — and the Chiefs don’t have a second-round pick this year — Dorsey wanted to make sure he got his guy.
The Buffalo Bills’ Jairus Byrd is easily the most talented free safety in the league. The problem is, he’s on a team that never seems to get better. He was scheduled to hit free agency last year but the Bills refused to let him go, forcing him to play the 2013 season under the team’s franchise tag. All indications this season are that the Bills will do the same thing and then field offers for his trade. This is where Fringe John Dorsey gets a little crazy.
Proposed Trade to Buffalo Bills
Chiefs Player or Picks
Bills Player or Picks
|2014 5th Round Pick||Jairus Byrd, Free Safety|
|2014 6th Round Pick|
|2015 3rd Round Pick|
Once the Chiefs acquired Byrd, there was the problem of redoing his contract, rather than having him play a one-year deal under the franchise tag, which for safety is just north of $8.3M for one year.
Using Berry’s (imaginary) recently inked extension as a template, Fringe-Dorsey was able to get Byrd under contract, just before the NFL Draft in May. Creating the most-feared defensive backfield in the NFL wasn’t cheap. The Chiefs signed Byrd to a five-year, $56.2 million contract with $33.15 million guaranteed. This is how Byrd’s contract looked:
Jairus Byrd Mock Contract
In finishing all of these off season contracts the Fringe Chiefs are finally ready for the draft. After the dust settled from our imaginary off season, the Chiefs have $6.7 million in remaining cap space, which is plenty to sign their draft picks as well as shore up their roster during the remainder of the off season.
In following Laddie’s original rules, I created my one-team draft at www.fanspeak.com/ontheclock. The site allows you pick a team to draft for (in this case, the Chiefs) and then a simulator picks the other teams to take some of the guess work out of the mock draft portion.
After making trades, and working through the draft process, this was the result:
|1||23||Marqise Lee, WR |
|2||56||Traded to San Francisco 49ers for Alex Smith, QB|
|3||87||Stanley Jean-Baptiste, CB |
|4||120||Justin Ellis, DT |
|5||151||Traded to Buffalo Bills for Jairus Byrd, FS|
Received from Dallas Cowboys
|Traded to Buffalo Bills for Jairus Byrd, FS|
|6||184||Jeoffrey Pagan, DE |
|7||215||Traded to Dallas Cowboys|
So there’s my “mock off season” Addicts. A big thanks to Laddie Morse for coming up with this idea. It took some wheeling and dealing, but the Chiefs are now a much better team and ready to make a run at the Lombardi Trophy during the 2014 season.
How’d I do? Am I completely crazy or do you think some of this is in the realm of possibility? Let me know. While you’re at it, we want to see your mocks as well. Feel free to leave them in the comments section below.
As a note, all numbers used were within the boundaries of possibility according to current salary cap estimates.
As always, thanks for reading and GO CHIEFS!