K.C. Chiefs And Free Agency: A Mirage Made In Heaven

1 Feature From The Bleachers

The Kansas City Chiefs and the 2014 Free Agency period is a mirage made in heaven… err… or would  that be hell? I guess it depends on your perspective.

So far, the Chiefs Free Agency scoreboard looks like this:

Other teams: 5

Chiefs: tiny 2 (Abdullah Husain and Frank Zombo retained)

As good as the free agency period and the period prior to that was last year for the Kansas City Chiefs… that’s exactly how bad it might be this season.

Branden Albert: $9.9M signed with the Dolphins

Dexter McCluster: Titans, $12M for 3 years, $4.5M guaranteed.

Jon Asamoah: Falcons

Tyson Jackson: Falcons

You can look at these as great losses or the inevitable attrition that it is.

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Scott Pioli, the Over-Evaluator

What was it in Tyson Jackson’s performance for the past five seasons that made him think he’s worth $25M for the next five years? It must have been his 1.8 sacks per seasons or his 27 tackles per year. You know that’s really really close to 2 tackles per game. Or, was it Pioli justifying his pick to this very day. Wow, are Scott Pioli and Atlanta GM Thomas Dimitroff ever thick-headed. Hand it to this little BFF duo for pulling off a double-pantsing of the Chiefs on the first day of free agency. So, what will the loss of TJax and Mr. Asamoah ultimately mean to  Chiefs fans?  Tin man? Okay, see where he gets you (you know he’s QB-blind right?). And Asamoah? Good, yes. Great? No.

I can see Scott and Thomas sitting in a dark corner plotting to undo the team that was Scott’s undoing. Oooo. Did you ever get us on that one.

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From Good to Bad or Getting Better

My knee jerk response to losing these five players was one of shock and awful thoughts of the team returning to the days of 2012. When you look over the team the Chiefs still have and give credit where it should be placed for developing young players. Even without the players who will be added in the coming draft, the Chiefs will be all right.

So, what do I mean by, “all right?”

Based upon the Chiefs’ year-ending position in the playoffs, they currently rank 10th best among all NFL teams. Last year they were #32 at the end of the season. Adding a new GM, HC and staff and 23 (plus) players to the roster was part of an organizational design we’re seeing played out right now.

In Lyle Graversen’s post called, “Free Agency 2014: Keep Calm And Chief On,” he makes a great point that,

“The exciting, big name, big headline, big money players that are signed at the start of free agency rarely bring a lot of wins with them.

This isn’t a new story in the NFL. The path to the Super Bowl is almost never paved with big name (and big dollar) free agent signings.”

Graversen goes on to give many good examples. What must be emphasized here is that the Chiefs have a plan in place and they are executing that plan. John Dorsey spoke of this plan on the first day of the combine saying that during the first few weeks of the of season, he and Andy Reid had sat down together and designed their plan with the idea that they could make it work.

Recently Andy Reid spoke about the difference in this offseason saying,

“So far, it’s smoother. You’ve got a staff; you’ve got John Dorsey and his staff and you’ve walked in those shoes for a year, going through the whole process, getting ready for the draft. For the football side of it, we work scheme evaluation for half the day and the other half, we’re doing personnel and that’s broken up into free agency and the college draft and that’s the way it will go, right up until the draft; whatever John needs us to do, we’ll do from a personnel standpoint.”

Now, who knows if part of that plan was to allow OL Geoff Schwartz to go in free agency but if the Chiefs could have signed him earlier, wouldn’t they have already? It sounds like Schwartz wanted to be in New York and that’s exactly where he is now… and will apparently sign a deal later today.

Remember when Brandon Carr left for the Cowboys? He actually wanted to always play for the Cowboys since childhood. There’s no stopping that kind of personal dream.

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The Journey

Look at this offseason more as… Frodo’s frolic to Mordor and back. In other words, enjoy the journey: the good, and what appears to be the bad. Why? Because it’s not only great entertainment but because both John Dorsey and Andy Reid deserve that kind of support.

Everyone focuses on the player leaving. That would be Branden Albert, for instance, at left tackle. However, can you imagine what yesterday was like for Donald Stephenson or Eric Fisher. If I was either of them I’d not only be celebrating this whole week but I’d see the move of Albert as a big shot in the arm. I’ve had bosses who believed in me and bosses who didn’t. There’s nothing like a show of support for what you’re spending your life doing.

Ask yourself why Geoff Schwartz was on the Chiefs roster in the first place. Dorsey, Reid and the personnel department are good enough to have found a diamond in the rough. What have Dorsey and Reid done to show you that this talent they have for spotting talent has diminished in the past week? Schwartz got a big contract that they couldn’t match and that’s the only reason he’s not still in K.C..

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Remodeling the Roster

I once ran an organization and the higher ups told me I could hire my own people but to first give the existing employees a chance. It only took one month for me to realize I not only couldn’t work with a certain employee but I really had to have my own people to make it work.

I would expect no less from John Dorsey and Andy Reid, especially in regards to the “employees” on the field: the players themselves.

With yesterday’s changes and an unverified head count, I now only calculate that there are 16 players left from before Andy Reid and John Dorsey arrived just 14 months ago.

Let’s see, 16 into 53… that’s a 70 percent turnover ratio and that is significant.

I’ve often wished that a new coach could have all the players he wanted so we could see him carry out his program and plans. Well, that’s pretty much the case here and it should be very exciting to see who joins the club next.

The addition of Husain Abdullah is an important one. This is the second year in his return to the league after a year in religious hiatus. Not only should Abdullah be better but his presence makes the tutoring process of Sanders Commings at free safety a much smoother one.

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The Burn and the Concerns

While some fans may feel burnt by the opening day free agency events, the real question is, what are you concerned about?

Yes, there appears to be an opening at RG but don’t forget that both Rokevious Watkins and Rishaw Johnson have been on the roster for all of the 2013 season. While I’m concerned that bringing in a new guard will require them to get up to speed on Andy Reid’s offensive playbook, if Johnson or Watkins gets the shot next, that shouldn’t be an issue.

The loss of Dexter McCluster may be a concern for many Chiefs fans. However, how much of his success was due to special teams coach Dave Toub? Also, don’t forget the Chiefs have signed Weston Dressler.

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The Draft/Free Agency Connection

When the Chiefs set out to build the team, they’ve said repeatedly that they will do that through the draft. Yes, losing five important players on day one of free agency is disappointing, but getting the cap space right for future years has to be done or the Chiefs will be in the same situation in future offseason as they are this offseason.

So, is there a way the Chiefs can allow their starting RG and their starting RGs replacement to walk away in free agency by drafting the right players?

  • 6-5, 329 lb OG Cyril Richardson from Baylor should be available to the Chiefs in the third round.
  • 6-3, 323 lb OG Jon Halapio of Florida should be there in the 4th or 5th rounds.

While losing players in free agency can sometime be hell, don’t forget that the following year it will mean Compensatory Heaven. With the loss of Albert, Asamoah and McCluster, all starters and two of them Pro Bowl level, it could mean the Chiefs will receive up to three third-round choices in the 2015 draft.

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Displaced and Homeless Finds

In the last year, I wouldn’t be at all surprised if John Dorsey picked up 200 players and signed them at one time or another. It seemed as if he was bringing in prospects every hour of the day at times.

It’s this attitude and willingness to “do his job,” part of which is scouring the waiver wire to find the next Marcus Cooper that he did so faithfully that it helped produce players like Sean McGrath, Jaye Howard and Ron Parker.

The increased cap amount has helped to create a fireworks festival on the first day of free agency. And, it also has created a Dr. Seuss-esque re-action effect which won’t be sooner than later but includes a number of starting-caliber players who just lost their jobs to the newest members of the Fortune 500.

In other words, there are going to be a load of players being let go, or dangled as trade bait who can and will be picked up by the Chiefs. It’s inevitable. And, it’s another big reason to not worry about what’s going on with the Chiefs.

Like Lyle Graversen has said, “Chief On!”

Also, remember the Chiefs said they wouldn’t be “active” in free agency and that doesn’t mean they won’t be active at all. So, breathe deep, close your eyes, and visualize JC scoring on a 47-yard screen pass from Alex Smith against the Raiders.

Ahhh. Feels better already. Right?

Okay, Addict fans, are you ready to come in off the ledge?

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