For the Kansas City Chiefs free agency season has now begun. While the NFL’s official free agency start date isn’t until this coming Wednesday (3/9), today marks the beginning of the “legal tampering” period where teams can begin negotiating with pending free agents. It’s an exciting time for NFL fans as we all sit back and anxiously wait to see what players our favorite team will add to their roster. Chiefs General Manager John Dorsey has done a good job of overhauling a depleted roster and turning it into a team that was able to break it’s long playoff win draught last season in large part because of the depth that he had acquired that allowed KC to overcome several key injuries. While it’s exciting to see what “new toys” Dorsey may bring to town it is also possible that Chiefs fans may have to say goodbye to some sentimental favorites…..and that’s okay.
Before anyone jumps straight to the comments section to tell me what a complete and utter moron I am (which could in fact be true) let me first say that I would love it if Dorsey found a way to bring Derrick Johnson and Tamba Hali back to Kansas City next year. DJ is one of my very favorite Chiefs and I don’t see how anyone could have watched Tamba’s play throughout his career in Kansas City have anything but the utmost respect and admiration for the man. Second, I understand that the Chiefs have needs at both of their respective positions and letting them get away in free agency creates holes that will have to be filled. Despite those two strong acknowledgements it is still possible that the Chiefs could look to move on.
In the past calendar year the Chiefs have made a strong commitment to two of their defensive leaders. Justin Houston inked a long term deal before last season and KC has now used the franchise tag on Eric Berry and it appears that they will eventually sign him to a long term deal as well. Houston and Berry are arguably the Chiefs two most vocal leaders on defense. While DJ and Tamba obviously are respected in the locker room and set an incredible example to younger players letting them leave would not leave a black hole of leadership on the defensive side of the ball. You always want high character guys in the locker room so if the Chiefs can find a way to bring them back it will be an asset for sure, but their leadership alone is not a good enough reason to sign them to new deals.
The ONLY reason to re-sign these long time Chiefs is because it is the right business decision. Yes, the Chiefs have needs at inside linebacker and edge rusher. So the decision that John Dorsey has to make is if the production that he believes these players can give the Chiefs is worth whatever their asking price is….OR….could that money be better served bringing in a younger player at the position that has more long term upside….OR….could the money they save by letting Johnson and Hali walk give them the cap room needed to re-sign other pending free agents like Jeff Allen, Jaye Howard, and Sean Smith.