If the Chiefs knew they were going to eventually sign Darrelle Revis all along, it explains a few things about the way they’ve handled this season so far.
We all knew it was a need. The Kansas City Chiefs still did nothing about it.
The Chiefs, in their defense, did have reason to sit on their hands. In a perfect world, one of the in-house options at cornerback would have settled into the starting outside spot opposite Marcus Peters. Terrance Mitchell indeed had looked very good down the stretch in 2016, although it was such a limited sample size. Phillip Gaines was healthy and coming into a contract year with much to prove. Steven Nelson looked good in his first full year and has shown the ability to play larger than his size.
In the NFL, however, entropy typically takes over. If something can go wrong, it will. For a team to depend on a lot of what ifs at a key position is generally not the way to go, since injuries and fatigue will reduce any and all teams down to a depleted core.
Throughout all of the offseason and preseason, however, the Chiefs general managers—John Dorsey and Brett Veach—failed to make a move to lock down the position. The free agent market opened with no business conducted at the spot. A loaded NFL draft with a celebrated class of corners went to every other team but the Chiefs—unless you want to count Leon McQuay, the teams’s sixth round pick, as an option. The Buffalo Bills, for example, took Tre’Davious White where the Chiefs were supposed to pick in the first round and have been thrilled with the results.
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Even Veach, after taking over, went into motion to shore up weaknesses on the roster. He moved a couple future draft picks to aid the linebacker corps and offensive line. Cornerback, however, remained intact as the unit he inherited from Dorsey.
With the aforementioned options along with Kenneth Acker, the Chiefs became willing, through the first 10 weeks of the season, to simply throw pasta at the secondary wall to see what sticks. If Mitchell didn’t work, rotate in Acker. Oh, well let’s try Gaines again. Nelson’s injury for a half season certainly didn’t help, but again, that entropy thing.
But what if the Chiefs knew that this week’s news, the signing of Darrelle Revis, was coming at some point? Would that have prevented them from making moves all along, or at least at some point?
If you look at the details of the Chiefs signing Revis, it’s clear that these talks have been going on for some time. Everyone has admitted as much. Let’s break this down:
1. At some point this offseason, someone from the Chiefs front office contacted Revis to gauge his interest.
2. Those talks apparently were positive enough that the Chiefs knew they could keep checking back on him because there was interest on his part, yet it wasn’t enough for Revis to sign just yet. Likely as a veteran, he didn’t want to play an entire season. Consider it a Hali-esque route except for a free agent.
3. Revis admitted other teams checked in, but that doesn’t mean the Chiefs even really had competition for his services. Other teams could check in, but maybe the Chiefs knew they could always work something out once Revis was ready. This is, of course, complete conjecture.
4. Revis mentioned he’d spent a lot of time watching the Chiefs this offseason while working out and staying ready to come back.
5. Now that he’s back, he’s talked excitedly about returning to Bob Sutton’s defense (his own defensive coordinator for his first six years in the NFL), playing for a head coach like Andy Reid and playing alongside Marcus Peters in the secondary. Every player says positive things about their new team, but Revis has real reasons, mostly Sutton, to have been focused on K.C. all along.
If this is the case it might explain why we watched the team continue to put Mitchell then Acker then Gaines then Nelson on the outside again and again. If a team knows Revis is coming, then you can’t sign another Revis before then. You just have to wait until the future Hall of Famer says, “Let’s do this.” Then you cheer and hope it isn’t too late into a midseason slide.
As I said earlier, this is all a complete guess. Maybe the Chiefs just now inquired again and were surprised they won the sweepstakes over other teams, but there was no big contract here to woo him and it all makes quite a bit of sense from the outside. If so, it might have been frustrating watching a lack of activity to bolster the cornerback position for some time, but an answer is an answer even if it comes at the eleventh hour.
Let’s hope Revis is that answer.