HOUSTON - OCTOBER 02: Eric Winston #73, Mike Brisiel #65 and Duane Brown #76 of the Houston Texans stand over wide reciever Andre Johnson #80 as was helpled by the training staff after going down with an injury against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Reliant Stadium on October 2, 2011 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)

NFL Free Agency: Eric Winston Gives Chiefs' Scott Pioli Opportunity To Stick By His Words

The Chiefs have some important visits today highlighted by the arrivals of the right tackle.

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Eric Winston Rumors: Lions Visit Scheduled For Monday If Chiefs Can't Complete Deal

The Kansas City Chiefs have had right tackle Eric Winston in town for the better part of three days. If the former Houston Texans star doesn’t like what he sees by now, he’s likely to sign elsewhere. And the next team on the visitation list has been determined as the Detroit Lions, per Alex Marvez.

The Lions certainly have their own offensive line issues on the right side and the play of Jeff Backus has declined in recent years. However, the Chiefs and WInston are still reportedly meeting, so perhaps something can still get done.

Winston was unexpectedly let go by the Houston Texans recently and he was immediately listed as the best tackle available. The Chiefs went with Barry Richardson the last two seasons as their starter at right tackle, and it’s believed the team will replace him in some way this offseason. They are also bringing in former Chargers tackle Marcus McNeill for a visit.

For more on the Kansas City Chiefs, check out Arrowhead Pride. For NFL notes from around the league, head over to SB Nation's NFL page.

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Chiefs Reportedly 'Prepared To Make Eric Winston Highest Paid RT' In NFL Free Agency

The Kansas City Chiefs need a right tackle in the worst way. From the reports of Matt Miller, the team might be willing to pay one more than any other in the NFL if Eric Winston gains the contract that he’s reporting. Matt Miller writes via Twitter, “Word has it Chiefs are prepared to make Winston the highest paid RT in the game. Serious talks today.”

The Chiefs started Barry Richardson at right tackle the last two seasons, and the team was widely expected to replace him at some point this offseason. Mock drafts typically project the team to invest a first round selection on Jon Martin or Riley Reiff to fill the role, so this move could even free up draft assets.

There’s no official word yet, but something should happen soon since Winston had scheduled others visits after Kansas City with Baltimore reportedly next on the list. If that fails to happen, there will much cause for celebration among Chiefs fans today.

For more on the Kansas City Chiefs, check out Arrowhead Pride. For NFL notes from around the league, head over to SB Nation's NFL page.

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Eric Winston To Chiefs? Press Reports Lean Positive For Free Agent Tackle

Eric Winston reported to the Kansas City Chiefs for his visit a little late yesterday according to Adam Teicher of the KC Star. That shuffled everything around, so when there were no reports one way or the other about Winston signing, fans got a little worried last night. There were even rumors that had him moving on to visit Baltimore. Waking up today, however, Chiefs fans might find some brighter news — albeit nothing set in stone.

Instead various press reports make it sound positive that the Chiefs might end up signing Winston or at least have a definite shot despite the feelings from late last night. Jason La Canfora reported late last night, “Sounds like the Chiefs are pretty serious about trying to keep Eric Winston in their building.” Then the NFL Network’s Jeff Darlington wrote, “Winston has a few more meetings in Kansas City in the a.m. He didn’t get there until Noon today”.

Later Teicher ended up posting, “My guess is he will sign with #Chiefs. Don’’t hold me to that but when a free agent is in your town, you’re the favorite until he goes”. That is a guess by definition, but Teicher is right that both the player and team are investing quality visitation time at this point into the process. That might bode well for the Chiefs.

In the end, the Chiefs have to like what they see and Winston must as well. It’s impossible to tell whether personalities mesh, ideas are exchanged and the fit is nice. But on paper, it’s hard to think of a stronger addition to the Chiefs roster.

For more on the Kansas City Chiefs, check out Arrowhead Pride. For NFL notes from around the league, head over to SB Nation's NFL page.

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NFL Free Agency: Eric Winston Gives Chiefs' Scott Pioli Opportunity To Stick By His Words

It was way back in January that Kansas City Chiefs General Manager Scott Pioli made comments regarding the Chiefs offensive line that had fans assuming that upgrading the offensive line was going to be a focus of this off-season. Pioli had talked with Bob Fescue and Josh Klingler via 610 sports radio in Kansas City.

"We have to get better on the offensive line somehow, some way," Pioli told Fescoe and Klingler. "We don't know who's going to be here and who's not. We have a long list in free agency. We have to improve our offensive line. We have to improve the depth of the football team."

Well one of those players that Pioli might not have known was going to be available a couple of months ago was Eric Winston, the former standout right tackle of the Houston Texans that was recently cut after five years with the team. Winston apparently had surgery on his left ankle that was deemed as nothing serious a few weeks ago when he had the surgery, but the Texans saw it as an opportunity to let a player go and save a few million on their salary cap in the process. Winston is supposed to be fine within a couple of weeks as the injury isn't considered serious.

I wrote a few days ago reasons why I think the Chiefs should go after Winston if given the opportunity. It's been reported by the local media that Winston will be taking a visit to the Chiefs on Thursday. If Scott Pioli was serious about upgrading the offensive line this off-season adding Winston to lock-down the right tackle spot for the Chiefs for the next half-decade should be a main priority for the Chiefs right now.

Right tackle has been the spot on the line that the Chiefs have been looking for a long-term answer for quite some time. Barry Richardson started at right tackle for the Chiefs last year and is currently a free agent. Richardson struggled in pass protection for most of last season and graded out as one of the worst tackles in football last season according to Pro Football Focus. His strength in the run game wasn't as obvious with Jamaal Charles being out last season with a torn ACL.

It's not just that Winston would hold down the right tackle position that benefits the Chiefs heading into next year and beyond. It's that it gives the Chiefs many more options as to what they'd be able to do in the upcoming draft. They currently sit at No. 11 and just about every mock draft out there has them selecting one of the offensive tackles that might be available. That could be Jonathan Martin, Reilly Reiff or Mike Adams depending upon where you're looking. If they were to sign Winston they could look at defensive line with Dontari Poe, or even take Stanford guard David DeCastro with that first round pick. By drafting DeCastro you could conceivably solidify your offensive line with young players in Jon Asamoah, David DeCastro, Rodney Hudson and Winston for the next decade.

Thursday could be one of the most important days of the 2012 season for the Kansas City Chiefs. Scott Pioli and company have an opportunity to take what has been a huge weakness for this team for the last few seasons, and make it an absolute strength with one of the top right tackles in all of football. Winston is only 28 years old and should be seeing a healthy amount of money coming his way.

Winston recently left Miami, where he played college football, on a visit without signing a contract. That bodes well for the Chiefs in that they will at least get the chance to sit in front of Winston and sell him on joining the Chiefs. It's been reported that Winston has at least four other teams that have lined up for visits after Kansas City. It's going to be up to Scott Pioli to stick by his words and help upgrade the offensive line tomorrow on Winston's visit. They need him to sign that contract before he leaves because if he leaves to take those other visits, they won't see him again. If they can blow his socks off and put the right deal in front of him, that's a huge signing and would change just about everyone's opinion on this off-season for the Chiefs regardless of what else they do in free agency.

For more on the Kansas City Chiefs, check out Arrowhead Pride. For NFL notes from around the league, head over to SB Nation's NFL page.

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Chiefs Reportedly Sign Amon Gordon To New 2-Year Contract

The Kansas City Chiefs need to make some moves along their defensive line to bolster both depth and the middle, and they have reportedly agreed to a two-year contract with Amon Gordon — a move that brings both. Josina Anderson has the scoop.

Gordon was a nice surprise last season for the Chiefs defensive line with solid play all-around as a rotational player. Gordon had 23 tackles and he also registered the first two sacks of his nine-year NFL career. He’s the type of blue-collar, hard-working player that both Romeo Crennel and Scott Pioli love, so it’s not surprising to see them give Gordon a bit of security heading into this season.

For the Chiefs, they have now acquired several solid defensive linemen over the last three season. Anchors like Tyson Jackson and Glenn Dorsey on the outside have enhanced their game in the last year, and Allen Bailey was also a nice surprise as a rookie. Gordon gives them yet another name to rotate in for various packages. Expect the team to also address the middle in some way with a new body or two as Kelly Gregg might not be back with the Chiefs.

For more on the Kansas City Chiefs, check out Arrowhead Pride. For NFL notes from around the league, head over to SB Nation's NFL page.

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Brandon Jacobs Release Adds Strong Running Back Option For Chiefs In NFL Free Agency

Mike Garafolo is reporting that the New York Giants are releasing popular running back Brandon Jacobs today after seven seasons with the team. One half of the famed Thunder and Lightning duo, Jacobs has seen his playing time diminish and now at 29, the Giants have decided to turn the corner after the better part of a decade.

“Jacobs, 29, was scheduled to earn a total of $4.9 million in base salary and a roster bonus that was due later this month,” writes Garafolo. “The Giants met with his representatives during the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis late last month and requested he hack that number down to a much more manageable figure. Jacobs resisted and, after one final attempt to bridge the gap today, he was informed of his impending release.”

The Chiefs have Jamaal Charles coming back next season after tearing his ACL, but the health risk will force the team to address the position. It’s also been the team’s priority thus far to pair Charles with a complementary option, even when healthy. Jackie Battle, Le’Ron McClain and Thomas Jones are both free agents, which means Charles could be the only returning back on the team.

Jacobs would give the Chiefs a perfect complement to Charles as a power back while also giving the team someone experienced in case Charles isn’t back completely. Jacobs ran 152 times for 571 yards and 7 touchdowns last season in New York.

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Chiefs Free Agency: Kyle Orton Expected To Get Bears' Attention

The Kansas City Chiefs are among many teams reportedly interested in Peyton Manning and are consistently listed among some of the top finalists for a potential landing spot. But once the dance is over and the former Colts quarterback selects his partner, everyone else will scramble to find the answer. If the Chiefs fail to win the Manning sweepstakes, Kyle Orton, the team’s end-of-season starter, is expected to be that man.

Jeff Dickerson of ESPN Chicago says that the Bears are also going to be players for Orton in free agency as they seek to upgrade the No. 2 spot from Caleb Hanie. The team found out last season just how valuable a solid back-up to Jay Cutler can be.

Dickerson writes, “McCown impressed the Bears’ coaching staff last season and is considered a strong candidate to be re-signed, perhaps as the No. 3 quarterback,” Dickerson noted. “That would allow the Bears to pursue a more high-profile No. 2 quarterback in free agency, such as Kyle Orton, who might strongly consider returning to Chicago in a reserve role if he fails to land a starting job somewhere else in the league. Orton, however, would probably require a hefty contract by backup quarterback standards.”

Orton will likely want to start, as will any quarterback, and the Chiefs can offer that chance unlike the Bears. However, it’s unknown what interest Orton has in returning to Kansas City.

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Peyton Manning, Kyle Orton And Chad Henne Top Likely Quarterback Targets For Kansas City Chiefs

As the Kansas City Chiefs survey the free agent market and the quarterbacks available to bring in as competition for Matt Cassel, the starter of the last three seasons, they will see some familiar names and some exciting ones. But it seems the most likely to land in Kansas City are Peyton Manning, Chad Henne and Kyle Orton.

Ryan Van Bibber looked at the quarterbacks available and laid out the destinatations for each, giving KC the chance to land one of the three. While Jason Campbell is also an option, Van Bibber is right on these counts. For Kyle Orton, the most likely of all quarterbacks to sign, he provides the most familiar target for Scott Pioli. Van Bibber writes:

Orton had two good seasons in Denver under Josh McDaniels. Sure, Jay Cutler would have been much better, but Josh McDaniels is smarter than you, just ask him. Since 2009, Orton has completed slightly more than 60 percent of his passes. His 50 touchdowns and 30 interceptions over that same period speak to what kind of player he is: a useful game manager. With a decent supporting cast, Orton can get you by until fortunes improve. The Chiefs sang his praises at the Combine, and it would hardly be a stretch for them to have him compete with Matt Cassel.

As for Manning, he would bring the most respect and hype to the organization, but he would also come with the most health concerns. That said, Cassel is a nice fall-back option in case Manning still has nerve issues come opening weekend. Van Bibber writes:

Manning is not a free agent…yet. He will be by the end of the week. The Colts owe him a $28 million bonus on March 8, and all signs point to them keeping that money and drafting Andrew Luck, as well they should. The big question with Manning is whether or not he can still play like he used to. Nobody knows. Whoever released a grainy cell phone video of Manning throwing at Duke deserves a spot in the viral marketing hall of fame; it was just enough of a teaser to get teams excited with nothing conclusive. If he is healthy, he should have a few years left to help a team, preferably one with well-rounded roster, chase the Lombardi Trophy.

As for Chad Henne, he would be the least sexy pick out there and fans would likely be underwhelmed by the move. But the familiarity with new offensive coordinator Brian Daboll is hard to ignore:

Henne has value to teams who confuse youth with potential. Maybe, just maybe, some team will take a chance believing that they can detail the mistakes out of him. A reunion with Tony Sparano, now the Jets’ offensive coordinator, has been mentioned as one of the more likely possibilities, solely for the purpose of shaming Mark Sanchez into being a better quarterback. Henne might be acceptable enough for a season or two in an offense that leans on the run. Denver might also come calling, looking for a quarterback to compete with Tim Tebow. Brian Daboll’s new job as the offensive coordinator in Kansas City could lure another middle quarterback to that middling division.

If I were a betting man, my money would be on Kyle Orton for the familiarity factor. Manning is such a wild card in terms of release, money and health that it’s just not a safe bet for any team including the Colts. Henne is not better than Cassel and anyone who believes that is silly.

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Scott Pioli Says Ricky Stanzi Has Good Ability As A Potential Starting Quarterback In NFL

As much as the Kansas City Chiefs have talked about providing competition this offseason for Matt Cassel as the Chiefs starting quarterback, no mention has really been made of the one back-up already on the roster. Last year, the Chiefs selected Ricky Stanzi out of Iowa as the team’s fifth round choice and it was immediately celebrated as a strong late round selection. Yet as promising as he seemed, Stanzi was given zero snaps under center in 2011 in a Chiefs season that featured four starts from Tyler Palko. Four? Yes, four.

So it’s surprising to hear Scott Pioli describe his love for Stanzi once again when the team didn’t utilize him one bit last season. Then again, that might point to Todd Haley being at odds with Pioli and refusing to play his draft choice.

“Last year, free-agency never started (until training camp),” Pioli told the Star recently. “We had Matt on the roster. We had Tyler on the roster. We had Ricky, who we drafted. We didn’t draft someone high who was perceived as competition, but I’ll say this: I think Ricky is competition. Let’s not get lost in where a guy was drafted as to whether or not he’s a player. This league has shown time and time again at many positions, including this particular position, that where a player is drafted doesn’t necessarily have anything to do with how good he is or how good he becomes.

“You just don’t wave a wand and magically say, ‘There’s competition.’ We drafted a quarterback last year who I truly believe has good ability and has the potential to start in this league. I really do believe that.”

The Chiefs are still likely to bring someone in, whether it’s a high profile addition like Peyton Manning or a predictable one like Kyle Orton or Chad Henne. But Stanzi adds another name to the mix and a full offseason under his belt will likely go a long way. If anything, it’s good to know that there’s still promise there and perhaps Stanzi didn’t play because of other issues than the fact that he’s not a good option.

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Kyle Orton Ranked No. 6 Among NFL Free Agent Quarterbacks

If the Kansas City Chiefs plan to bring in a veteran quarterback in the upcoming NFL free agency period next month, the team could do worse than to bring back the starter who ended the season with two wins in three games in Kyle Orton. With Orton under the center, the Chiefs moved the chains better than they had arguably all season, so it stands to reason that the team might want to pair Orton with Cassel and have the best man win via competition in camp.

Orton is also the sixth best quarterback listed in free agency this off-season by Pro Football Focus. Nathan Jahnke writes, “At times, Orton has looked like a capable NFL quarterback like he did for most of the 2010 season. However, when Orton is bad, he has been terrible and it usually lasts for a number of games. As a Chief, he was able to show he is still capable of performing well, as he helped hand the Packers their only regular-season loss. The question is if he can do that with any consistency. The Chiefs want competition for Matt Cassel, which could come from Orton, or he could find a third home since the start of the 2011 season.”

Orton also seemed to have the confidence of his teammates and perhaps that quick audition near season’s end was enough to win the job at quarterback, just like his interim head coach Romeo Crennel.

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