Patriots’ Pro Bowl NT Vance Wilfork is a trap for the Chiefs, not an opportunity.
Don’t be fooled.
A deal hasn’t been worked out between Wilfork and the Pats and it’s looking more and more like he wants it that way. If you follow the Chiefs with obsessive diligence, you already know this. If you follow the Chiefs blogosphere with any diligence, you’ve read the clamoring for the Chiefs to make a move on Wilfork.
This news will likely only heighten that clamoring, of course. To much of the blogosphere, the match seems logical: Pioli and Haley love players they know, and Pioli actually drafted Wilfork. The Chiefs sorely need someone to man the nose, and rather than bring in a rookie, why not bring in a 28-year-old Pro Bowler with something to prove? Certainly you’d expect Pioli to think it over.
This has the look a golden frickin’ ticket, as long as you haven’t been paying attention.
We are heading into an uncapped year. That means that more teams can hold onto their free agents, and the few free agents that do make it onto the market will have 32 teams bidding on them with no ceiling to worry about. That’s fine and dandy if you’re a team with a few remaining pieces, but the Chiefs are a rebuilding team with more holes than not, and for every dollar we spend on free agents now, we won’t be spending those dollars as we begin the critical final period of plugging in the final pieces for future championship runs.
You’ve got to think long-term on this. And signing Wilfork out of free agency, or trading a pick for him (to the Patriots AGAIN), would simply be bad budgeting. If we draft well, we can find a nose. If not, we can find one later when more of our pieces are in place. But to do it right now while we’re in the crucial stage of laying our team’s foundation is simply madness.
Trading a pick would be especially costly, because we’d likely be facing a holdout as we scramble to create a new deal with Wilfork — so we’d be paying the Patriots a pick (again) while having to also sign Wilfork to a longterm deal, most of which would be focused on the downside of his career.
Miami is a much better landing spot. He wants to play there, and they desperately need a nose tackle. They can afford the gamble at this stage because all the other pieces are in place. Plus having Wilfork around to try to kick his old teammates’ asses twice a year would be a boon against their NFC East rivals.
We, on the other hand, simply cannot put ourselves behind the budgetary eight-ball so soon in the reconstruction of our team.
Patience, Chiefs fans. Patience. We will be thanking ourselves in future seasons for not binge-eating in 2010’s costly free agency.