The Chiefs currently stand in the middle. Fans will be glad to take it, given the slate of recent losing seasons where the Chiefs clearly stood on the side of the have-nots. Yet with the 2010 AFC West title properly tucked away, the Chiefs are now heading toward the other side, with 2011 providing a pivotal season for that talent.
Consider the usual "haves." Those are the teams that draft prognosticators allow to take picks for "depth" in case of injury. For example, the Steelers might grab a defensive tackle since Casey Hampton is getting older. Whereas another team like the Panthers need a defensive tackle simply because they have no other players at the position. That's a case of the haves versus the have-nots. And it's between those camps that the Chiefs currently reside.
The Chiefs hold obvious positives on both sides of the ball. They hold both an elite pass rusher and an elite rusher. Their top receiver led the NFL in receiving touchdowns while also having a shutdown corner. They have current Pro Bowlers and future favorites as well, with untapped potential available with players like Dexter McCluster. Yet there are also holes that need to be filled. And the hopes are that the Chiefs can land one more impact player on both sides of the ball with their first couple of draft choices.
Enter Sidney Rice, the suddenly available wide receiver from the Minnesota Vikings. After the Vikes used their franchise tag on Chad Greenway, Rice declared through his agent, Drew Rosenhaus, that he would explore free agency. Peter King picked up on the idea and linked Rice to one of a few obvious targets: the Kansas City Chiefs.
A rebuilding offense needs receivers who can help a developing quarterback, and losing a 6-4 emerging star (again, provided he's healthy) would be a big blow. There will be plenty of young, interested teams with cap room -- Tampa Bay and Kansas City at the head of the pack -- if there's a cap, as most people assume there will be in a new labor landscape. He'd be a perfect young catch for the Patriots too. It doesn't make sense for Rice to go back to an uncertain future if he can go somewhere with a solid quarterback on a team that's not rebuilding.
For the Chiefs, the acquisition of Rice would be a dream come true. The holes of the Chiefs are fewer than recent seasons, but they are glaring ones given the much tougher schedule facing them in 2011. Matt Cassel simply has to have another impressive target at receiver. The front seven must get a young impact player at defensive tackle. Another pass rusher across from Tamba Hali would truly make the Chiefs defense outstanding.
Other possibilities emerge, ranging from back-up quarterback to offensive line, but it's these three positions that the Chiefs must address. For the Chiefs to sign a vertical threat like Rice while still holding their draft assets would be the ideal situation and provide the Chiefs with the offensive playmaker they need to go to the next level.