Expect the Kansas City Chiefs to be relatively quiet this offseason
Rampant speculation has the Chiefs swimming in expensive free agent waters this offseason. One writer sees the shallow end as the likely destination
The Kansas City Chiefs are not signing big-time free agents this offseason—at least I don’t anticipate them doing anything. While some media types and such will explain to you why they can and/or will, I’ll explain why I don’t believe it to be so. This offseason, the Chiefs are shopping for bargains.
Here, we will look at the reasons why the Chiefs simply can’t play in the deep end with other kids this offseason.
Despite what people will tell you that the Chiefs don’t have salary cap problems, the Chiefs do have issues. Currently, the Chiefs have the worst cap situation in the league. And while the Chiefs are capable of easing these cap concerns with possible trades and releasing of players, these are roster spots that you have to replace as well as fill the open holes already existing.
Currently, five teams are already 60 million under the cap, and nine teams with over 50 million in cap space. These are teams with needs similar to what the Chiefs are looking to address. These are teams without having released any bad contracts they can get out from, much like what many anticipate the Chiefs to do in coming weeks.
While the Chiefs can create cap space, they are still not in an advantageous position to outbid other teams for the services of the top free agents.
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The most discussed position of need is cornerback opposite of Marcus Peters. The most commonly mentioned names are Trumaine Johnson and Malcolm Butler of the Patriots. If you go down the list of teams with the most cap room, almost across the board, from the San Francisco 49ers ($114.9 million in space) to the Detroit Lions ($46.5 million), they all have a need at cornerback. When that happens, the price for the services of a desired player will be high.
It should be noted, Matt Patricia and Josh McDaniels, both coordinators for the New England Patriots, are headed off to be head coaches (Lions and Indianapolis Colts, respectively) once the Super Bowl ends. Both teams have a huge need at cornerback and both teams have ample cash to spend.
Trumaine Johnson is coming off playing the 2017 season on a franchise tag but appears likely to hit the market this offseason. Up the road, the San Francisco 49ers have a need at CB and are well aware of Johnson’s ability having played against him. Do the Colts (rumored to be Johnson fans) get involved with Johnson if they are unable to get involved with Butler? Meanwhile the Cleveland Browns have a bunch of cash and looking to find as much talent as possible will get involved somewhere.
Can the Chiefs really get involved and outbid for the services of what is considered to be the top targets on the market at this position when everyone else is wanting the services as well?
Another name making the local rounds is Sheldon Richardson, and needless to say, this kid is going to get paid this offseason. Perhaps the top defensive lineman on the market, Richardson will have plenty of suitors. Able to play in a variety of schemes, Richardson will be in demand across the league.
The New York Jets (Richardon’s former team) are rumored to have a lot of interest, especially if they move on from Muhommed Wilkerson as many expect this offseason. Minnesota, Tampa Bay, Detroit and Chicago are all teams mentioned as possibly having an interest in bringing in a defensive lineman in free agency this offseason.
With where prices are going for young defensive lineman these days, again, it’s hard to imagine the Chiefs being able to outbid for the services of this young lineman. The Chiefs and their fans certainly have champagne taste, but one has to wonder if they are shopping on beer budget.
When the Chiefs yet again showed an inability to stop the run when it counted and lose a home playoff game; Chiefs fans across the board expected Bob Sutton to be on his way out as the defensive coordinator. That didn’t happen. Many expected changes across the board in an effort to change their fortunes, and thus far, no changes have happened. Which brings me to this point..
Will the Chiefs actually move on from Alex Smith? While everyone says, at least out loud, that the Chiefs have no option but to move on from the quarterback, we also expected the Chiefs to move on from Sutton. That didn’t happen.
What’s a situation the Chiefs can keep Smith? It’s simple. If the Chiefs go into the offseason and are unable to find nothing of value in a trade for Smith. Unwilling to simply release Smith, general manager Brett Veach and company hold on to Smith, waiting/hoping for a situation like what happened with the Eagles and Sam Bradford. Philadelphia kept the expensive veteran on the roster into training camp and, when Teddy Bridgewater was injured, the Eagles were able to land a first round pick from the Vikings. It was a gamble that paid off in spades.
Would the Chiefs roll the dice on a similar move? Doing so provides competition and depth at the quarterback spot but fails to create highly valuable cap room. If the Chiefs hold on to Smith, even through the early part of free agency, no big signings will be taking place.
Fill out the roster
While the notion of signing a major free agent or two sounds great, the issue is that the Chiefs would still need to fill out the rest of the roster. How valuable is it to sign a big time free agent if you have issues filling out the rest of the roster?
While there are not a bunch of big named free agents, there are a good amount in quantity, and with the players released to create cap room, their roster spot needs to be filled. Bennie Logan, Dustin Colquitt, Zach Fulton and Albert Wilson are important players for the Chiefs and fans want them back. Combined with the money needed to sign your draft class get your full compliment of players to training camp, and suddenly, cash is spread thin really quickly.