Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

Changes Likely Coming As Chiefs Rebuild For Championship Run

The Kansas City Chiefs are rebuilding again.

They’re just trying to do it while still winning games.

When Scott Pioli and Todd Haley came to Kansas City to save the franchise, they immediately began tearing apart the roster. Pioli essentially sacrificed the entire 2009 season so he could institute “the Patriot way” by bringing in a bunch of New England castoffs in order to “change the locker room culture” of the Chiefs.

For a fleeting moment, it seemed to work. The Chiefs stunk in 2009 but then in 2010, Pioli’s hand-picked QB, that he traded a second-round pick for, and a few of his recently drafted rookies, contributed a 10-6 season that saw the Chiefs win the AFC West.

The 2013 Chiefs, in many, many ways, were just like their 2009 counterparts. QB Alex Smith, while not overwhelmingly brilliant, took care of the football. RB Jamaal Charles got a lot of touches. The team was fairly lucky in the injury department.

Neither team, however, was close to being good enough to win a Super Bowl.

Chiefs fans should be thrilled with what John Dorsey and Andy Reid did last year. The due came in and brought winning back to Kansas City. They gave the Chiefs Kingdom some hope and proved that steady leadership and smart QB play can turn a team around faster than a “Patriot Way locker room shakeup.”

Still, Dorsey and Reid didn’t come to Kansas City to continue the franchise’s legacy of first-round playoff heartbreak.

Over the course of the last week, we’ve heard rumors that the Chiefs are considering drafting a QB and also that they might deal franchise CB, Brandon Flowers. While all this could just be some pre-Draft smoke-blowing, I wouldn’t be so sure of that.

Many of the players on the Chiefs’ roster were not drafted to play in Reid’s offense or Bob Sutton’s defense. That doesn’t mean that they aren’t good players to have but it does mean that their time on the roster is likely limited. The Chiefs do not have a lot of salary cap room and so it is foolish to think that Dorsey is going to pay a lot of money to veteran players that aren’t good fits for the team’s system.

Every coach and GM wants to fill the roster with “their guys.” Dorsey and Reid will be no different. Don’t expect the Chiefs to be dumping Jamaal Charles any time soon but if Dorsey believes had has a younger, cheaper player that is a better scheme fit than an expensive veteran he didn’t draft, Dorsey is going to make the move.

The changes have already begun. Players that once seemed part of the team’s future, guys like Dexter McCluster, Kendrick Lewis, Jon Asamoah and Branden Albert are all on new teams now. It is always a risk allowing players that have been productive to leave but teams that are consistently competing for Super Bowls have a knack for knowing which expensive veterans to ditch cheaper, younger models.

So while the Chiefs will surely try to keep winning as the new regime remakes the roster, fans shouldn’t delude themselves into thinking that beloved veterans will be around forever.

John Dorsey is building this team now and chances are, he’ll be replacing more old bricks in the coming months.

Let’s just hope he picks the right replacements.

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Tags: Kansas City Chiefs

  • Pealvin

    If they are smart with their choices and really do their due diligence I think they will remove and replace the right guys. As a chiefs fan I would hate to see many guys go, but it is exciting to see new guys come in.

  • mnelson52

    Go Chiefs

    • Kisersosay

      Mike is that you

      • mnelson52

        My name is Mike

      • mnelson52

        who are you

  • Stacy D. Smith

    For a guy like Flowers, it makes sense. He’s not ideal for Sutton’s press-man schemes. He was originally drafted to be a Tampa 2 guy. For players like Berry, it makes much less sense. He’s scheme versatile, is younger, and is still ascending. I get that he’s going to get a big contract soon, but the salary cap is also going to get a significant bump soon.

    I just can’t see the benefit of trading Berry. Unless they want to lock up Smith, but he just turned 30 today. I wouldn’t sacrifice one of the league’s best at a position which has grown in importance, just to keep the veteran around another 3-4 years.

    If we’re trying to eliminate fat contracts, let Smith play out his deal, draft and groom his successor and move on next year. I’d prefer that to keeping Smith and moving Berry.

    • Patrick Allen

      I think we are much more likely to see Tamba dealt or cut before they trade Berry.

      • Stacy D. Smith

        That’ll make sense. Hopefully they get his successor in the draft this weekend.

        • Patrick Allen

          I know they probably can’t afford it but what would you think about moving Tamba back to DE in his later years in favor of an OLB with more speed?

          • Stacy D. Smith

            Maybe if they decided to start running the 4-3. It’s gonna suck, but Tamba’s age and coming cap numbers are going to spell the end of his reign in Kansas City. I think it’s inevitable.

          • Patrick Allen

            It is just a harder position to keep playing well when you get old. I was thinking the other day about how DJ can probably play at a pretty high level for another 3-4 years (maybe 5 since Haley gave him a season off) whereas Tamba may already be starting his decline.

            MLB requires a lot of smarts and you can see DJ getting smarter every year. It isn’t all athleticism. He knows what holes to hit which is why he is so often there early.

          • Stacy D. Smith

            I agree. Though in Tamba’s case, I think his excellent conditioning and martial arts training will help him stay productive longer than the average pass-rushing OLB.

          • ILChiefan

            Agree with you Stacy……if they can get value for Flowers, as much as I like him, I would like to see them move on it. I want to see Berry and Houston extended, and hope Dorsey/Reid see it that way too. I AM a big fan of Smith, and would like to see him re-signed, but if not, and we can get another season out of him while mentoring a pick from this year………well, I guess I just will have to trust ‘DorsReid’

          • berttheclock

            Sutton runs more combinations than just a 3-4. He throws 4-3s into the mix as well as hybrids. Should the Chiefs be able to move up to 10, they could take Aaron Donald. Many pundits say he is a tweener who fits the 4-3 better as he is not a great run stopper, but, he could be used rotationally in the sub defenses of Sutton to be a fierce pass rusher.

          • Stacy D. Smith

            He mixes a number of different schemes in, but we generally play the 3-4.

          • mnelson52

            I would love to have Donald on the team, but I wouldn’t trade a multi-tasking every down pro-bowl player to get a rookie sub package player. Even if we did get two more late round picks. First of all, Manning and Rivers in our own division, not to mention the other top QBs we face this year, usually run the hurry up offense where we wouldn’t have time to get our players on and off the field for sub packages in a lot of cases. We need good 3 down linemen in our division, in my opinion. Someone that could help Poe collapse the pocket at any time.

          • freshmeat62

            I thought of that too, or maybe to ILB.

    • berttheclock

      I do not want to see Berry go, but, I brought up trading him to Detroit, only to pick that 10 slot as well as lower picks. The Chiefs would still have the 23rd to either take a player or use for more picks. This is a deep draft where Dorsey could add talent to the 53.

      Now, the rumors out of Detroit is they might want to use that 10 spot to move up and take Watkins. Tomorrow evening is going to be very interesting if trades begin early.

  • tm1946

    Interesting point of view. If management decides they need to gut this roster to get where they want to go, not sure I understand. No need for Smith, no need to give Bowe a fat contract. They took over the team with the worst record the prior year. Why spend the money that put us in cap hell this year if they had to trash the roster? Makes no sense to me. Smith is of no value if they need several years but together a roster, Daniel could have stood around for a few years as they draft the QB for the future. Same with Bowe, totally wasted money.
    Why the push for the great regular season last year? Better to be really bad and get a Clowney this year to replace Jackson and on it goes. Strange plan.

    • sidibeke

      While it could be semantics, I think the whole idea is to NOT gut the roster like Pioli did, but to gradually replace guys who may not be the best fit. I would guess that Flowers and Hali are the next, and probably last of the Pioli guys to go. AS may be the next vet to hit the road, but not if R&D don’t feel like they have the guy to take his place yet.

      • berttheclock

        Both Hali and Flowers were drafted by King Carl.

        • sidibeke


    • jimfromkcj

      tm, I don’t know if you recall or not, but I wanted them to get Matt Moore instead of Alex and my reason was that I didn’t think there was much difference between them and Moore would be a lot cheaper. Neither one of them was a franchise QB, but would suffice while we built a team and got to the place where we could draft a franchise QB. I understand why they did what they did as I expect the are going on the assumption that if they don’t win right away they will be n the unemployment line.

      • Calchiefsfan

        You have to think that Reid and Dorsey both felt that Smith was by far the superior QB.

        • jimfromkcj

          Cal, I think Smith is better too, but just not that much better, and as I don’t think either of them is a QB who can carry a team, the money come into play and if we had packaged Albert for a 4th rd pick and had Matt moore in the package, Ireland might have come through and we would have come away with an extra 4th and a 2nd last year and a 2nd this year. And we wouldn’t be in nearly as much cap doo doo as we are today.

          • berttheclock

            Alex Smith had his team within one late fumble of going to the SB. Jeff Ireland over paid for Wallace and had to try look tough for his owner. He was the one who screwed up in the Albert negotiations and by not signing him, he was forced to move Martin to LT and it ended up being a disaster which cost Ireland his job. Ireland was another Parcells protege who didn’t learn the formula. I can’t imagine why John Schneider hired him to work in Seattle. Ireland is a walking disaster. What you are saying is you wanted Moore to come off two seasons of being benched and try to start for KC. They might have tried to bring Palko back because he would have been the same as the One Hit Wonder of Moore. BTW, if you talk with fans of the Dolphins, they have harsher things to say about Ireland than Chiefs fans have to say about Pioli. Two proteges of larger names, who were nothing more than coffee GoFers.

      • berttheclock

        Matt Moore only had one good year, then, was benched to be a backup. That was in 2011. If you compare the rise of Alex Smith in 2011, Smith threw for almost 700 yards more than Moore, and had 17 TDs to only 5 INTs, whereas Moore had 16 TDs and 9 INTs. Smith followed his 2011 season with an even better 2012 season before he was injured and replaced by CK. Moore, after that one year with Miami ended up never starting a game for the next two years and threw only a few passes when he came in for mop up.

        I see no equality between them. One of the reasons Moore had good stats in 2011 was due to playing very well against the Chiefs at Arrowhead. Consider this, Matt Flynn came in as backup for the Packers and one great game which has earned up much money for the Seahawks and Raiders, but, no real playing time. Sometimes, a backup is a backup is a backup.

      • tm1946

        I can only say it was Dorsey/Reid’s first year. They could have lost every game and told us – see what Pioli left here. But no, they juggled the roster just enough to make the playoffs. This year we seem to have taken a step backwards and get stupid talk about drafting a QB and trading better players either at the end of careers or big money.
        Whatever the plan is, it seems to be a strange one.

      • KCMikeG

        What about Weeden – pretty sure he is available.

  • Rusty SHackleford

    I think the term “The Patriot Way” should be abolished, and replaced with a “Kicker the shall not be named” type alternative. I suggest “The way that shall not be mentioned.”

    • berttheclock

      It has become very popular in Atlanta.

  • berttheclock

    As there have been threads about possible trade ups or downs, consider one trade down by the Chiefs. In 2003, Marty wanted defense, but, King Carl wanted offense. The Chiefs were at 16 and decided to trade down with Pittsburgh whose first pick was at 27. Pittsburgh made the deal and threw in #92 and #200. The Steelers used the 16 to take Polamalu, whereas the Chiefs took Larry Johnson and Julian Battle at 92. The 200 pick was used in multiple trades and the Chiefs ended with Jordan Black. King Carl, also, took Kawika Mitchell at 47 and left Anquan Boldin for the Cards at 54. BTW, Boldin was 23rd in the 40 for wide outs, but, he and Andre Johnson, who was the first wide out taken that year, were within a split second in the 3 cone. Funny thing, the Cardinals took Boldin in the 2nd round and took a taller, faster wide out at 17, Bryant Johnson. After camp, Boldin became the Number 2 receiver and Johnson, the slot Number 3.

  • berttheclock

    There are only a bare handful of players on Seattle’s roster who were there in 2010 when John Schneider and Carroll were hired. It has been a roller coaster ride for many with signings, cuttings and a whirlwind of roster moves. 23 of Seattle’s former players are on rosters of other teams in the NFL The mantra has been “Rent, don’t buy in Seattle” for incoming players.

  • Calchiefsfan

    Solid article Paddy. Great seeing you pop in here from time to time. Once a Chiefs fan always a Chiefs fan.

    The Chiefs have had the talent to be competitive but were grossly under coached. Better coaching and front office management played the biggest part in turning the Chiefs around last year. Now Dorsey is trying to upgrade all positions and at a better value. At this point I wouldn’t put anything past Dorsey if he thinks it will improve the Chiefs chances of winning and I’m all for that. Pioli just plain sucked, it appears that Dorsey is much more competent. This next year will tell us a lot about this regime. If Reid and Dorsey truly are good at what they do then the Chiefs should be perennial Super Bowl contenders by the third year.

    I feel sorry for Atlanta, it appears Pioli is already having a bad influence on his buddy Dimitroff.

    • berttheclock

      Wait until Pioli tells Dimitroff that the beginning of the 5th round is nap time.

      • mnelson52

        does he wait that long? I thought he picked his 5th 6th and 7th rounders in the 1st three rounds to get it over with and then took a nap.

  • Olivier

    Great reasoning … and clearly Tamba is the one more likely to be delt this draft than Flowers who is not quite the fit for Sutton, but when you don’t know if you’re going to have something as good as him at the minimum as replacement, you don’t deal. And Agree with Stacy : Berry is too good a beast to be delt away for the sake of having more and/or better picks, or even future cap purposes. You can build a defense around this guy.
    I think this draft is still to get as much as you can with the hand given to you by the old regime … if they come with good to excellent FS, WR OG and OLB, that’ do the trick for me. I think the “real” Dorsey draft will be in 2015. Chiefs are still in transition, even if they have wha it takes to compete for playoffs.

    • Stan Colbert

      Dorsey strikes me as a man with a plan who will doggedly pursue his goals! He also has established if he doesn’t want info. distributed it doesn’t. The rumors about trading or drafting players may not be the goal, though, no doubt there is a purpose. It is not an accident.

  • jimfromkcj

    Why not clean house as much as we can, I think most of usthink we aren’t going anywhere as long as Elway keeps it together in Denver. If we trade Berry, Hali and Flowers for picks we would probably end up with 6 more picks in this draft and save 33,584,406 dollars in cap money. In a talent laden draft like this year we could make a sizable dent in our talent pool with 12 picks in this draft. We haven’t come close to competing with the big dogs with these overpaid pro bowlers, so why not take a chance.