John Dorsey has done a terrific job in building an AFC West challenging roster. Like every general manager, he has made his fair share of mistakes, but certainly the number of correct decisions far outweigh them. He has been particularly adept in free agency, especially in the players that he has brought to the Kansas City Chiefs.
The high profile additions like Jeremy Maclin and Mitchell Schwartz are the ones that garner much of the attention. However, it is ability to pick up previously unwanted players that has developed an all round talented roster. Players like Jaye Howard, Ron Parker and Spencer Ware all weren’t drafted by Dorsey and the Chiefs and all are either already, or are becoming, integral parts of the roster. That is top class management.
Where Dorsey has issues, though, is in his retention of his top players. In the salary cap era of the NFL, it is never possible to sign all of your players to big money deals. It simply isn’t possible. However, Dorsey has let many players leave who certainly could have a huge impact on this roster, and it looks as though another key component is one his way out after recent events.
Eric Berry and the Chiefs were unable to come to a long term agreement before the July 15th deadline and now it looks as though the star safety is set to play the season under the franchise tag, becoming a free agent next offseason. This would not be a particular issue if the Chiefs had cap room. Unfortunately, they currently have negative cap room for next season, so it now becomes near on impossible to sign Berry next year, especially when Dontari Poe is factored into the equation.
However, according to all reports, Kansas City and Berry were not close at all on any possible deal. Clearly then, Dorsey was not willing to pay Berry the kind of money that he was after, that being the highest paid safety in the league. While it would seem foolish of Dorsey to sign Berry to the franchise tag and not commit to the kind of terms that he is seeking (surely Dorsey knew that Berry would hold out for that kind of money), a contingent plan will have been made, and it’s time we started trusting in Dorsey.
One possible thought is that Dorsey does not rate Berry as highly as the money that he was asking for would dictate and he was simply unwilling to spend such money on a position of decreasing importance in the NFL. Now, the championship window for the Chiefs is likely now or never. Berry is very likely to leave, Poe also, and with two key pieces of a defense on which the recent success has been built on, it would be surprising if Bob Sutton’s group can recreate such top quality production.
Nonetheless, this was a highly likely situation and Dorsey will have been more than aware of the possible ramifications of not being able to complete a deal with Berry. If he was unwilling to match Berry’s demands, the chances of a completed deal were slim. Dorsey must have a plan in place for such a break down in talks. While I am against not giving Berry the money I believe he deserves, clearly Dorsey does not share the same thoughts. Like it or not, he’s the one who’s paid to make the important decisions and he’s damn well made one.
It’s time to trust in Dorsey and his track record over the past three years in the hope that he can rectify a rather humiliating situation. Only time will tell if he was right to refuse Berry the big bucks.