This article, in it’s direct emphasis, has little to do with the Kansas City Chiefs in the immediate or direct sense. No, it’s about just the understanding of an organization and knowing when it’s time to walk away.
Currently, the New Orleans Saints are dealing with the ugly aftermath of years of ‘going for it’ and ‘kicking the can’ down the road on salaries and guarantees. They are in the midst of a second offseason of releasing contributing and starting players, most recently starting guard Jahri Evans and having to redo a contract for linebacker Dannell Ellerbe. The Saints are carrying a staggering $22 million in dead cap money and still have to figure out the future of quarterback Drew Brees.
For quick notes, Drew Brees is entering 2016 playing under the last year of his contract, which is set to count a mind-blowing $30 million against the salary cap. Per spotrac.com and overthecap.com, as of Feb. 10, $10 millionof his contract became guaranteed, meaning the Saints would get crushed if they let him go.
If the salary cap is set at roughly $153 million, New Orleans is still over the cap with commitments in excess of $157 million. In reality, it is more like $15 million over, as they still have to sign a draft class and fill out their roster.
Had the Saints been willing to acknowledge there comes a time when an organization must walk away from a player, it is in better shape. New Orleans could likely have worked something out to allow Brees to find a trade, bringing assets back.
As it stands, the Saints are now looking at a situation in which they will have their aging quarterback (he just turned 37) and really few pieces around him. Their offensive line has lost an important piece in Evans and it is likely they lose wide receiver Marcus Colston. Would the Saints not have been better at some point in the past few years bringing in a potential replacement for Brees, allowing him and his outrageous salary to go elsewhere?
The reason I write this and why it’s relevant to the Chiefs is highlighted by two players. Safety Eric Berry and quarterback Alex Smith. Berry is a Pro Bowl player and the ultimate fan favorite. Alex Smith, while not the fan favorite, is the starting quarterback and has been solid in his three years since arriving in a trade from San Francisco.
It’s not picking sides but posing the question: is it smart business to invest a bunch of money at the safety position when there are issues elsewhere on the defense that needs attention? And, while I’m not comparing the job they are doing, it should be noted that Dorsey and company have invested similar draft resources to the quarterback position as Scott Pioli. Both appear (appeared) unwilling or disinterested in bringing in competition at the quarterback spot. As history has shown us, that can have catastrophic results.
Teams sometimes go down with the ship. Pioli did that with Matt Cassel, and it appears the Saints braintrust will do the same with Brees.
Will this regime do the same with Alex Smith? It obviously remains to be seen.