Sean Smith ($13.8 million) – It seems that Chiefs fans are largely split on what to do with Sean Smith. Easily the best free agency acquisition (in terms of value) during the John Dorsey era, Smith has out-played his contract by far and is ready to be paid accordingly. Smith’s agent, the notable David Canter, told KTGR’s Brandon Kiley last year that Smith was looking to try free agency this offseason.
So, point blank, he is going to be getting a ton of money this offseason and it will be tough for Kansas City to compete with the likes of Jacksonville and Oakland who actually have to spend money to avoid getting in trouble, and who both have a desperate need for a quality veteran corner. The Chiefs only course of action here would be to use the franchise tag on Smith and then work out a long-term deal. But even that would be risky as Smith has already shown he’s willing to bet on himself for a year.
I’ve already made my position on retaining Smith pretty clear…it’s just not practical. However, John Dorsey has pulled off some big moves already in his short tenure with Kansas City (he really doesn’t get enough credit for re-signing Houston and adding Jeremy Maclin in the same offseason). While only a contractual miracle would change my stance on the practicality of re-signing Sean Smith, it doesn’t mean that Dorsey feels the same way, and ultimately my opinion on the Chiefs offseason means pretty much nothing when compared to his.
Jaye Howard ($13.3 million) – The most interesting decision facing John Dorsey this offseason is the perceived choice that he will have to make between Defensive Tackles Jaye Howard and Dontari Poe. While Poe has been nothing short of spectacular over the last couple of years, there are some major factors that might convince the Chiefs to stick with Howard instead. The first is the fact that Howard largely out-played Poe in 2015. Not enough to really say he’s the better overall player, but enough to consider keeping Howard instead of Poe.
Of course, a major reason for factor No. 1 is our second factor…Poe’s back injury. Anybody carrying around 320 lbs needs a strong frame, and that starts with the back. While Dontari is still young, back injuries are very scary prospects for NFL linemen and teams start to get wary. The final factor in this is the fact that despite the first two items I listed, Dontari Poe is ultimately still set to be more expensive than Jaye Howard. Sometimes business-based decisions are made, and this is certainly a time when that might apply. Keeping Howard would also make Dontari Poe one of the premier trade pieces in the NFL.
Howard came in at No. 15 on Bleacher Report’s Top 50 Franchise Tag Candidates. However, Arrowhead Addict’s own Matt Verderame advocated a couple of weeks ago that the team shouldn’t over-spend on Howard. While Matt was speaking more in terms of overall contract, the same logic applies to the franchise tag. Defensive tackles are on the lower end of the Franchise Tag amounts, but it is still an awful lot of money to allocate to one player, and the Chiefs do have other options and considerations.
Next: Derrick Johnson and Jeff Allen