Filling in for Dontari Poe…already done?

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Free agency is always a popular topic with fans.  Whether it’s the defending Super Bowl champs, or a perennial loser, fans of every team can easily be convinced they are just one player away from greatness.  And the closer we get to the start of the season, the more that becomes true, even though it shouldn’t be.  The truth is that the free-agent cupboard is approaching bare.  There are very few players remaining that teams will find worth signing, and even fewer that will fit what the Kansas City Chiefs need.

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Of course, the hot topic right now is at defensive tackle.  With Dontari Poe down and expected to miss at least one game, Chiefs fans are anxious to ensure that it doesn’t result in losses.  The top candidates being thrown around are…

A versatile defensive lineman, Bunkley does have ties to Andy Reid that could make him an option. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

Brodrick Bunkley – DT: Released by Saints after a “failed physical”, I’m calling this for what it looks to really be…a salary cap move.  Cutting Bunkley falls right in line with the Saints moving several other top talents, including Ben Grubbs.  The Saints added $1 million in cap space this year, and cut $4 million off of their projected overage in 2016, by cutting Bunkley now.  He’s also got a tie-in with the Chiefs stemming from his days in Philly with Andy Reid

Tony McDaniel – DL:  The Seahawks ended up in a pretty rough salary cap spot after re-signing both Russell Wilson and Bobby Wagner.  That made McDaniel a necessary cut, though one they probably wish they didn’t have to make.  McDaniel isn’t a world beater, but he’s a good option with scheme and position versatility.

Barry Cofield – NT:  Prior to being cut by the Redskins, Barry Cofield was set to be the highest paid nose tackle in the NFL.  In fact, it was likely that his contract would have been the starting point for negotiations with Dontari Poe.  However, a significant back injury cut his time short in Washington.  Cofield has been announced clear injury-wise, but not yet ready for football.  It was announced that Cofield should be ready to go by the start of the season, however that may not be worth it to most teams right now.

Red Bryant isn’t the dominant force he used to be, but he can still be very stout against the run. Mandatory Credit: Richard Dole-USA TODAY Sports

Red Bryant – DT:  Bryant is one of the better run defenders in the NFL.  However, he has been on the market since March with little to no interest shown.  It’s unlikely that any team will look at him until they are convinced their own defensive line is simply inadequate.  Don’t be surprised if Denver comes knocking.

Each of these players would offer the Chiefs help with their run defense in the absence of Dontari Poe.  And none of them should be particularly expensive at the moment.  Under normal circumstances, you would think that the Chiefs would have already had one or two of them in for a visit.  So why hasn’t that appeared to have happened yet?

Jaye Howard…that’s why.

Next: Yes, THAT Jaye Howard!