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The Kansas City Chiefs said they were looking to potentially add a cornerback or two to help in the secondary this offseason, but there’s hardly a better move they could make for the money than bringing back Travis Daniels. Daniels certainly impressed last year in nickel coverage and has been a solid reserve for some time. The terms of the deal were not announced.
From the press release, “Daniels (6-1, 195) has appeared in 41 games (two starts) with Kansas City (2009-11). In three seasons with the Chiefs, Daniels has tallied 47 tackles (28 solo) with three INTs for 29 yards, eight passes defensed and two QB pressures. Additionally, he has recorded 12 special teams tackles for the club.”
The Chiefs could still aim for a defensive back or two in the NFL Draft given the need for further depth and special teams help. Perhaps safety is the more likely position given Eric Berry’s injury and consequent rehab.
For more on the Chiefs, be sure to head over to Arrowhead Pride and join the discussion.
The Kansas City Chiefs have yet to replace last year's starting nose tackle Kelly Gregg through free agency. According to Kansas City's head coach Romeo Crennel, the Chiefs might end up bringing Gregg back.
Asked specifically about nose tackle, where last season's starter, Kelly Gregg, is an unrestricted free agent, Crennel said, "We've talked to some people there, but we've told them we're going to wait until after the draft and see what else might develop. So we have possibilities there."
Gregg is 35, but he played in all 16 games for the Chiefs last year, starting 14. Crennel said the Chiefs might attempt to re-sign Gregg after the draft.
It makes sense to wait until after the draft, as Crennel and the Chiefs could address the position through the draft. Crennel does seem to think that Kelly would welcome a return to Kansas City as well:
"I'm not ruling Kelly out. I think he would like to come back and play. I think he likes the situation. He understands how we coach. He knows what defense we're going to run. I think if he has the opportunity he would not be opposed to coming back."
We'll see if Gregg feels that way after the draft in April -- if the Chiefs even have interest in him then.
For more on the Chiefs, be sure to head over to Arrowhead Pride and join the discussion.
Those teams who could use some help at offensive tackle, like the Kansas City Chiefs, should send out a few thank you notes to some teams who are helping the cause by adding to the players available on the market. The Houston Texans and San Diego Chargers are among the teams helping the most with the announcement that both Eric Winston and Marcus McNeill are hitting the free agent market.
McNeill is likely going to make way for a former Chiefs tackle in Jared Gaither, who has been reportedly negotiating a new deal with the Chargers. McNeill could make a nice find for the Chiefs, but health is an issue there, so it would be ridiculous to expect McNeill to hold up for 16 games without also making contingency plans on the roster.
Winston is the biggest surprise of all and is the best player in the tackle market at this point. The Texans are cutting cap room and it’s likely to be able to retain Mario Williams. But losing Winston is going to hurt the team’s offensive line in 2012.
The Chiefs should be kicking the tires on both players, and Chiefs fans have to hope that the team is aggressive in its pursuit of Winston in particular. He would make a major difference for the team’s right side.
Carl Nicks wants to get paid like the best in the NFL. Thus, very few teams are going to be able to make that kind of investment along the interior of the offensive line. While it seems that a team like the Kansas City Chiefs is not likely to go that route, the team needs to bolster its line going into next season and it has the money to do so. In fact, the Chiefs have a relatively cheap offensive line thus far, so an impact player like Nicks might fit.
Joel Corry recently put up a list of players ready to break the bank in NFL’s free agency period this offseason and believes Nicks will get his wish.
Corry writes, “Jahri Evans’ seven-year, $56.1 million deal ($19 million guaranteed, $25.6 million over the first three years) with the Saints ensures that Nicks’ days in New Orleans are over. As arguably the NFL’s best offensive guard, Nicks shouldn’t have any problem reaching his goal of supplanting Logan Mankins as the NFL’s highest paid player at the position ($8.5 million per year, $30 million in guarantees, $30.5 million over the first three years). It’s conceivable that his deal will approach great offensive tackle money ($9.5-$10 million per year, $25-$30 million in guarantees).”
The interesting note is that the NFL Draft is particularly deep for interior linemen this year, so some teams will likely wait and get much cheaper options that way. But for teams with money to burn and significant holes to fill, all it takes is one team willing to meet his price. Nicks has played at an All Pro level thus far in the league, so he’s going to make someone very happy — even as they do the same for him.
As teams get ready to open their wallets for the high-priced likes of Peyton Manning, Mario Williams, Brandon Carr and Vincent Jackson, some will have more than others to utilize. While teams like the Raiders and Steelers are doing their best to squeeze under the cap, Adam Schefter says the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Denver Broncos and Cincinnati Bengals have the most cap room to work with.
On Twitter he lays out the amount for each: “Tampa Bay, Cincinnati and Denver have most cap room. Tampa Bay is about $44 million under cap, Cincinnati $41 million, Denver $38 million.” The Broncos and Bengals turned a major corner last year, so both of those teams can expect to try to fill further holes to face a tougher schedule in 2012.
As for the Bucs, they have taken the opposite path and tanked last season amid high expectations. A new head coach is going to want to bring in several new players, but questions remain as to whether players really want to go to Tampa at this point. If the money is good, however, most players won’t have a problem.
The Chiefs are among the teams with the most cap room as well, sitting around $32 million after signing Stanford Routt at cornerback and retaining Dwayne Bowe.
The NFL free agency period opens at 3pm CT today.
The cornerback market is going to be very interesting to follow because there are several strong starters available via free agency. From Brandon Carr to Cortland Finnegan and several second-tier players, NFL teams are going to have plenty of vets to choose from in their attempts to slow down the pass happy offenses of the NFL.
The New York Giants just kept Terrell Thomas off the open market, but in the process, Evan Silva says that the team will set Aaron Ross free. The five year veteran started 15 games last year and had 4 interceptions. He also brings championship experience to whoever signs him.
The Vikings are on the opposite end, needing a lot of help in the secondary and the team will be tempted to take Morris Claiborne with the No. 3 choice in the NFL Draft. Since they are predicted to likely go offensive line instead, the team is likely to strike in free agency for a starter. Shawn Zobel links them to both the 49ers’ Carlos Rogers and the Titans’ Cortland Finnegan.
Brandon Carr is still linked with the Dallas Cowboys, so it will be interesting to see if the salary cap punishments laid out yesterday will have any bearing on such a top tier signing for Jerry Jones.
For those teams looking to bolster the quarterback depth chart, there are plenty of viable options out there on the NFL free agent market and many veterans are likely to wind up unsigned for some time until after the draft shakes out. Matt Leinart of the Houston Texans and Shaun Hill of the Detroit Lions hope to avoid that fate.
Hill stands a good chance of landing a nice free agent deal due to his performance while backing up Matt Stafford the last few seasons. Hill decided to test the market and he might even find a chance to compete for a starting spot in camp depending on how things shake out and which team he lands on.
As for Leinart, the reputation and hype has always been greater than the on-field results. Some contend he’s never been given a fair shake, but with enough quarterback needy teams around the league, Leinart has had his chances and will continue to get more. If he was starting quality, he would find his way to the surface. Perhaps the USC product still can.
Other free agents on the market beyond the obvious and in the same general category as these guys include Chad Henne of the Dolphins, Chris Redman of the Falcons, Donovan McNabb of the Vikings and the Broncos’ Brady Quinn.
If the Kansas City Chiefs are serious about filling the void at defensive tackle left by the likely departure or even retirement of Kelly Gregg, then they're going to have to make a play for a veteran. While the team might be more likely to go with a late cut or under the radar player, the one who will receive the most attention (and who would generate the most fan buzz) is Paul Soliai of the Miami Dolphins.
Doug Farrar of Yahoo! Sports says that Soliai is the best player available and would be a great addition to any team. He writes:
With Sione Pouha's re-signing with the Jets, Miami's Paul Soliai is the best pure 3-4 nose tackle on the open market. At 6-fot-4 and 355 pounds, he can play in different spots inside, but Soliai's primary value is in soaking up blockers so that others can make plays. The Dolphins thought enough of Soliai to franchise him last year -- with their move to a predominant four-man front, some other team will benefit greatly from his abilities, even and especially when that team switches to nickel defenses and required their nose tackle to move around.
The only players right now available for that middle position of the 3-4 defense would be Jerrell Powe or Anthony Toribio, although Amon Gordon was recently re-signed and he can slide over. Still the Chiefs are going to need someone who can plug in there and become a part of the rotation and a player like Soliai would instantly impact the center of the defense.
There's no doubting Vincent Jackson's big play ability. He's a great red zone target at 6-5, 240 lbs, but he's the great vertical receiver that can run the deep routes and stretch a defense. His 17.5 career yards per catch average is enough to cement that notion. Those are the reasons the Washington Redskins are reportedly ready to make him the highest paid receiver in the game.
Shawn Zobel writes via Twitter, "I've been told that the Washington Redskins intend to make Vincent Jackson the richest receiver in the NFL tomorrow". That falls in line with what others have been reporting as to their free agency plans, but it also is interesting considering the team just got slapped with $36 million subtracted in cap room for their role in front-loading deals during the uncapped NFL season in 2010.
If the team drafts Robert Griffin III as expected, then having a top flight target to throw to in his prime is going to make a major difference. Santana Moss and Jabar Gaffney can play certain roles at this point, but neither are the breakout star that Jackson is.
The Kansas City Chiefs are among the many teams with holes in the middle of the defensive interior. Kelly Gregg is likely to retire or move on after staying in Kansas City for one season. There are only inexperienced, developmental players after that on the roster. Allen Bailey and Amon Gordon can silde over, but there’s no dominant player the Chiefs can build their 3-4 defense around. Thus, the team was expected to kick the tires on a few options in the NFL free agency period. Count one name off of the list.
Adam Schefter is reporting that Sione Pouha reached a three year agreement to stay with the New York Jets. That takes another top DT target off of the available list and makes Paul Soliai one of the only real options out there for a team wanting to significantly upgrade its roster. There are other options, of course, but none that stand out like Soliai. And now that Pouha is off the table, his price just likely went even higher.
The Dolphins franchised Soliai last season for over $12 million and the cost became cap prohibitive at this point. Thus Soliai is now a free man and can head to any team searching for their own version of Haloti Ngata. Perhaps the Chiefs will wait until the draft to take a player like Dontari Poe. Even then, the rookie is no guarantee.
Sometime this week, the Chiefs are likely to show their hand on their defensive intentions at the position. Here’s hoping they can still grab their man before it’s too late.
Quiet as kept, the New England Patriots have developed BenJarvus Green-Ellis into one of the better backs in the NFL. The "Law Firm" has scored 24 touchdowns in his last two seasons and his ball security has been flawless since joining the league four years ago. Now that Green-Ellis is a free agent, there is one team that could look to acquire his services, the Kansas City Chiefs.
With Jammal Charles looking to return to his Pro Bowl form of 2010, Thomas Jones will likely not return and Jackie Battle looking to test the free agent waters himself, the Chiefs will need to add some depth to their backfield. Green-Ellis provides reliability and a nose for the end-zone, and it'll be up to the Chiefs to decide if he's the right fit.
In case you missed the memo, the Indianapolis Colts seemed to release half of their team today. Among the cuts were safety Melvin Bullitt, linebacker Gary Brackett, running back Joseph Addai and, of course, quarterback Peyton Manning. Many of those players helped form the core of the Super Bowl winning team as well as the success in general of the Colts for the last decade-plus. But one name might stand out the most for the Kansas City Chiefs: Dallas Clark.
The tight end was among the many cuts by the Colts today and the Chiefs are in the perfect spot to swoop in. Clark fits the Chiefs’ needs in a number of different ways and there are plenty of connections to make it a great fit on both sides.
More than anything, Clark would give the Chiefs offense an added dimension that they lost last season with Tony Moeaki out for the year. Moeaki is on track to be ready for the 2012 season, but his injury history was already spotty coming out of college. The Chiefs need a great receiver at tight end to have the offense work.
The Chiefs also have plenty of cap room and the ability to pay Clark well, even though he was out for some of the year as well. Since Clark hasn’t played a full season since 2009, he’s likely to come with a lower price tag, but suffice to say the Chiefs could match or beat most teams for his services.
Scott Pioli is also quite familiar and close with the Iowa football program that Clark is from and he would likely already be in tune with several Chiefs players to that end, including Moeaki. If the team goes with a pick like Riley Reiff in the first round of the 2012 NFL Draft, that’s yet another link for Clark.
Clark is likely to join his former teammate Peyton Manning if the new team will have him, but if not, then Kansas City will make a good choice. Perhaps KC is the destination for both players, which would make this an even better marriage. But with or without Manning, Clark would be a great pick-up in free agency for Pioli and the Chiefs.
The Kansas City Chiefs have already said they’re planning on bringing in competition at a number of positions this offseason including quarterback, but the primary issues for the team remains along both lines. The offensive and defensive tackle positions are the biggest holes on the Chiefs roster, and a player like the Miami Dolphins Paul Soliai would be a prime addition despite his high price tag. Lucky for the Chiefs and other potential suitors is that he’s likely to avoid the franchise tag today.
Omar Kelly has the story for the Florida Sun-Sentinel and says that the move is cost-prohibitive for a team that also has to address a new starter at quarterback like Matt Flynn or Peyton Manning. Kelly writes:
Teams like Seattle, Denver, Indianapolis, Kansas City, St. Louis and San Diego are all searching for anchors like Soliai, who was named to the Pro Bowl in 2011. Miami could tag Soliai and attempt to trade him. But if Soliai signs the tender and doesn’t get moved the Dolphins would lose their cap space, diminishing their odds of landing a quarterback
“I was told that the team will make a push to keep Paul. I remain confident that that will be the case. If not, they know there will be significant interest in the marketplace for Paul,” said David Canter, Soliai’s agent, who sat down with General Manager Jeff Ireland at the NFL combine last week. “Soliai has said time and time again that he’d love to remain a Dolphin, but that isn’t up to us.”
The Chiefs only have Anthony Toribio and Jerrell Powe in the middle, so something is bound to happen there. Whether it’s a major move like the acquisition of Soliai or a smaller move by comparison, the Chiefs will undoubtedly do something. Here’s hoping it means landing a major signing like the Dolphins anchor.
Jason La Canfora has the latest word on one of the better offensive tackles in the upcoming NFL free agent market that Levi Brown of the Arizona Cardinals is likely to come free. For a team like the Chiefs, this is big news considering that there are so few options for a position of need along the right side of the offensive front.
La Canfora writes, “It continues to look increasingly likely that Cardinals LT Levi Brown will become a free agent and hit the open market, according to a league source. Brown has one year left on his deal but will count for $17 million against the Cardinals’ salary cap. Efforts to re-negotiate his contract haven’t proved fruitful, and the team would release Brown without a new deal. Brown likely will be highly rated by other teams if he and the Cardinals don’t reach an agreement on a new deal and he becomes a free agent March 13.”
If the Chiefs are able to reach a deal with a veteran like Brown, that will free them up from being locked into a must-take situation in the first or second round of the NFL Draft. Being able to take the first player available is always the best situation, but position and value and need in the upcoming draft points to the Chiefs nearly having to take a player like Riley Reiff or Jonathan Martin if available. Brown could solve being cornered in such a way.
The news dropped via his agent this morning that James Farrior is going to be released from the Pittsburgh Steelers. The inside linebacker has been among one of the better defenders in all of football in recent years, yet he’s obviously at the tail end of his career. If he has one or more seasons left in him, however, he could make a great veteran addition for a team needing help on the inside from a player who would bring championship experience.
Farrior is 37, so anyone signing Farrior will have some detractors pointing to the obvious. But he still had 78 tackles last season to go with 2 sacks in 14 games started. Just last season, he had 109 tackles and 6 sacks and a forced fumble. It’s clear that he can still make plays on the football.
The Chiefs are a team looking for help alongside Derrick Johnson in the middle after starting Jovan Belcher the last two years. The team signed Brandon Siler as a free agent last summer and then lost him for the season before he could even try to earn the starting spot. The team has brought him back again, but there’s no guarantees there. Adding another veteran like Farrior would intensify the competition and he would certainly become a favorite for a veteran defensive coach like Romeo Crennel.
The Steelers could still bring back Farrior on a smaller contract or perhaps they’re ready to move on overall. The Chiefs saw last season what it’s like to move on from a franchise star like Brian Waters only to watch them find new life on a different team. Perhaps this could be the same for Farrior and a new team like Kansas City.
The Oakland Raiders are making major moves today with the announcement that they’ve franchised Tyvon Branch and possibly cut ties with Michael Bush. Now even more news has come out that they’ve issued an ultimatum to Kamerion Wimbley, one of the team’s best pass rushers, that they need him to take a cut. Otherwise, he might be free.
ESPN’s Bill Williamson writes, “NFL.com is reporting that a team source said linebacker Kamerion Wimbley will be cut if he doesn’t take a pay cut. That ultimatum to Wimbley isn’t unexpected, but I’m not sure the tactic will work. Wimbley’s agent, Joe Linta, is not the type to blink. If he thinks the proposed pay cut is too steep and he thinks he can get his client a better contract on the open market, he will stand his ground and call the Raiders’ bluff.”
While the Chiefs are set with two pass rushers on the edge, defenses are constantly rotating in new guys and changing looks as the scenarios change. The team could use another pass rusher given the fact that Wallace Gilberry is a free agent (and didn’t perform as expected last season). It’s possible that the team could shift Houston and Wimbley around on the outside and provide Romeo Crennel with some strong looks on passing downs.
Outside linebacker is not the Chiefs highest priority at all. Inside linebacker is a stronger possibility for a free agent signing, not to mention needs on both lines. But Pioli has surprised before and will jump on a good bargain or option if they are there for the taking, leaving no stone unturned. Wimbley could be a nice surprise signing for the Chiefs and one that could reap dividends by making the Chiefs pass rush more dynamic than ever.
With the news coming out that the Oakland Raiders have tagged Tyvon Branch, that leaves the other primary possibility to receive the franchise tag open for business. The good news for many teams around the NFL in need of some assistance in the ground game that Michael Bush could now be available.
For the last few years, Bush has been a part of a dynamic backfield for the Raiders along with Darren McFadden. The only issue is that McFadden cannot seem to stay healthy and was out for a half season last year. Bush always filled in admirably and created a great tandem between the two. But now, the back-up can make his money and get a better chance for more carries.
The Chiefs might be among the teams interested in his services given that the team has only Jamaal Charles coming back from offseason surgery and rehab for a torn ACL on the roster. Jackie Battle, Thomas Jones and Le’Ron McClain are all free agents, which means there’s no way of knowing what the Chiefs might do.
They’ve been connected to several mid-round running backs through the draft — from David Wilson and Lamar Miller around the second round to Isaiah Pead a bit later on — but Bush would definitely be a stronger, more experience option at this point. The Chiefs definitely have money to spend and bolstering the offensive backfield would be a good use of funds.
Last year, Bush had 256 carries for 977 rushing yards and 7 touchdowns.
The New Orleans Saints are in a bit of a fix. They have several high profile free agents, perhaps more than any team this offseason, and yet they only have one franchise tag. What to do? Popular opinion was that they would reach a long-term agreement with franchise icon Drew Brees and then have to make the difficult decision to tag Carl Nicks or Marques Colston. Given Adam Schefter’s latest news, that might not happen at all.
Schefter is reporting that the two sides are still far apart in a Brees deal and that the team might be forced to franchise him and then work out the contract. Perhaps this is posturing by one side to force the team to capitulatee to Brees’ demands, but if not, this is major news for teams in the NFL waiting to pounce on Carl Nicks especially.
Colston has been rumored to be on the outs for a while now, but the Saints would seriously miss having a guard like Carl Nicks in the line-up. Nicks has went from a fifth round choice back in 2008 to an All Pro the last two seasons and has won a Super Bowl as well. He’s still young. He’s at the top of his game. He’s among the best in the business and he comes with championship experience. In other words, he’s going to make some team very happy if he comes free.
The Chiefs have been linked to Nicks if he’s available because they have the cap space, have not splurged along the offensive line like other teams and could use the upgrade from Ryan Lilja to partner with Jon Asamoah and new center Rodney Hudson in the middle. The Chiefs would then still need a right tackle via the draft or free agency.
Nicks will have several other suitors as well, so expect a bidding war if he comes free. Apparently Schefter reports we will know something by Monday, the day that teams must franchise their players.
The Kansas City Chiefs could be placing the franchise tag on veteran wide receiver Dwayne Bowe if the two sides can not reach an agreement on a new contract, this is according to a league source. Bowe did have a career-high with 81 receptions and had his third season over 1,000 yards receiving.
Bowe was able to achieve those numbers even though the quarterback situation was not stable for the Chiefs in 2011. In Bowe's five-year career he has had 1,000 yards in three of those seasons and has 36 career touchdowns.
If Bowe is to receive the franchise tag his 2012 salary would be guaranteed at $9.5 million. The franchise tag amount is actually less than what it was in years past because of the new collective bargaining agreement, so there could be a rash of teams looking to use this since it could be less than signing the player to a multi-year contract.
For more on the Chiefs go visit Arrowhead Pride.
Even though free agency hasn’t started, you cannot tell if you’re watching the transaction wire of the Kansas City Chiefs who have already signed three defensive backs this offseason as they look to add bodies for camp, possible special teams players and round out a position marred by injuries last season.
Jacques Reeves is an NFL veteran who has seen significant action on the field for the Houston Texans and Dallas Cowboys and now will hope to do the same for the Chiefs. From the press release:
Reeves (5-11, 188) has seen action in 88 games (35 starts) with 164 tackles (146 solo), six interceptions returned for 145 yards, 45 passes defensed, two forced fumbles and three fumble recoveries. He has 25 career special teams tackles and has returned 13 kickoffs for 199 yards (15.3 avg.).
Reeves played in 28 games (21 starts) during his two seasons with Houston, totaling 77 tackles (69 solo) with five interceptions returned for 127 yards, including one TD, 26 passes defensed, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery. In 2008, he started all 16 games and recorded 49 tackles (46 solo) with a career-best four interceptions returned for 108 yards, including a 44-yard touchdown, 19 passes defensed, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery.’
Reeves has been out of football for the last two seasons.
The Kansas City Chiefs are expected to address the offensive tackle position this spring in some format or another, but it’s impossible to tell at this point what Scott Pioli and company are thinking. Dwayne Bowe is the first order of business as well as Brandon Carr, so it will be a bit until the team shows its interest in a tackle in free agency or even the NFL Draft. For now we’re left to guess what might unfold.
The team appears set at left tackle with Branden Albert, but then again his name is always brought up as a possibility to move inside or to the right side. Barry Richardson was the team’s other starter and it’s clear that was the weakest link along the line. He’s now a free agent. David Mims is a developmental tackle still on the roster, but he’s obviously raw. Given the change of Steve Maneri to tight end, the Chiefs lack any real back-up at all or starter on the right side.
That makes it possible that the Chiefs will address the situation in both free agency and the draft. If they take a new starter in the draft, then a back-up will still be needed. The Green Bay Packers are reportedly going to release their longtime starter Chad Clifton which adds another veteran option to a list that will grow as the offseason goes on. Matt Light has already been mentioned as a possibility there, and Marcus McNeill of the Chargers has as well.
In short, if the Chiefs want some experience at tackle, they won’t have a problem finding it. With Clifton, they’re getting some older, damaged goods if they sign him. Michael David Smith writes:
Clifton, who has been with the Packers since 2000, started the first five games of last season, then missed 10 before returning to the starting lineup for Week 17 and the playoff loss to the Giants. At age 35, Clifton isn’t quite the stalwart offensive tackle he once was.
The championship experience that Clifton would bring would definitely help, however, and any bodies that provide depth along the line would also be a welcome addition above what the Chiefs have now.
Everyone has made it clear that the Kansas City Chiefs will change things up at the quarterback position this offseason. At this point, the only person not advocating for some competition for Matt Cassel is the Chiefs starting quarterback himself, and the Chiefs brass has already announced that someone will be signed to provide an adversary in training camp for Cassel to contend with.
Most of the names tossed around include Kyle Orton, who impressed in a late season three game stint, as well as Jason Campbell, who will likely leave the Oakland Raiders after the team mortgaged the future for Carson Palmer. But Chad Henne is about to hit the market given the reported lack of interest from the Miami Dolphins and he's a player that new Chiefs offensive coordinator Brian Daboll is very familiar with.
Daboll did his best work with the Dolphins with Matt Moore under center, but Henne might make a fine back-up quarterback option for the Chiefs, who will need someone to come in. The Dolphins spoke highly of him even as they prep to let him walk.
"Chad has done what we’ve asked him to do. I like Chad personally very well. He’s very smart. Very intelligent. Very tough. A football guy. He loves being around the game and is a very good teammate," Dolphins GM Jeff Ireland said."But this football team didn’t win enough games when he was quarterback here. But that doesn’t mean he did everything wrong, or right. If he goes somewhere else, Chad’s a good football player. He can play in this league."
Henne is likely a lot lower on the list than what the fans or front office of the Chiefs would like. However, he's there as another option in case the pickings are slimmer than anybody hopes.
Anytime the New England Patriots let a player go, an automatic filter is in place in NFL circles that has the Kansas City Chiefs considering that player. While it can be a stretch at times, it’s proven to be true quite often — from the team’s starting quarterback (Matt Cassel) to its back-up tackle/tight end hybrid (Steve Maneri). One player who might break free from a long prolific career for the Patriots makes a lot of sense for the Chiefs if Matt Light is going to become a free agent after all.
The report from Ian Rapoport today has the Boston Globe writer guessing that the team’s longtime left tackle is likely to be let go this offseason with rumors that Nate Solder will take over (with Sebastian Vollmer on the other side). The Pats usually have no problem moving on from its veteran players, which means Light could be a free agent.
While many Chiefs fans would cry foul at the idea of taking more leftovers from the Patriots roster, it’s important to keep in mind just how fragile and thin the Chiefs were last year at the tackle position. Despite how poorly he played, Barry Richardson help up on the right side and Branden Albert did the same on the left. When the team released Jared Gaither, Maneri was suddenly the only option in case of injury. That’s a worst case scenario the team cannot afford to repeat.
Even if Light is only around for depth and emergency, he could be the sort of player who could provide experience and talent along the line as KC figures out what it wants to do. It’s possible he could even start if the Chiefs don’t want to make a major draft investment in the position the way the Patriots have in recent seasons.
Albert is versatile and can potentially move to guard. Rodney Hudson is versatile along the interior. There are options for the Chiefs as they add to the line, so it will be interesting to see how things shake out.
At the very least, Light’s name will be mentioned simply because of Pioli’s connection with the Patriots and it’s something to consider when you see how perilously thin the Chiefs depth chart is across the line. Is it likely to happen? There’s absolutely no way of knowing at this point. But as we look forward to the free agency period, it’s interesting to look at the possibilities ahead.
When it comes to free agency analysis and predictions, the Kansas City Chiefs are usually predicted to land some sort of running back amid the veterans available. BenJarvus Green-Ellis has been discussed here already since former Patriots seem to wash up on the shores of Kansas City (figuratively speaking) every year since Scott Pioli was brought in. Now Peyton Hillis is being mentioned because of his ties with new Chiefs offensive coordinator Brian Daboll.
Of course, none of this makes sense unless the Chiefs need a running back, but they definitely will address the position in some way this offseason. Jamaal Charles will return from a torn ACL next season. Rehab is reportedly going well, but such an injury is going to be a risky comeback. Thomas Jones is getting older and the team will need more of a bruiser type, especially in the red zone. Enter a guy like Hillis.
Daniel Wolf writes, "It seems Hillis is destined to test the free agent waters and he may not have to look far since his former offensive coordinator could be looking to add another rusher into the mix with his new team. In 2010, Hillis broke out under Brian Daboll's offense and Daboll is now the offensive coordinator for the Kansas City Chiefs.
"The Chiefs do not need a starting running back since they have Jamaal Charles, but what they do need is an insurance policy in case Charles is not fully recovered from the ACL injury he suffered in September ... Hillis would probably have to take less to play more of a backup role, but he also might need a change of scenery since it seems the Browns are more or less fed up with him."
Hillis is coming off of a dramatic year where it seemed that both he and the Browns were at odds with each other, and Hillis ended up a frustrated player with only 3 touchdowns on the season. He rushed only 161 times for 587 yards, a far cry from the season that landed him on the cover of Madden 2012. Yet that could be the perfect grab for a team like the Chiefs who will find a good bargain in Hillis and a player motivated to turn the corner in a new town.
The Kansas City Chiefs lack an anchor in the defensive interior, the great hinge player that the 3-4 defense largely depends upon to free everyone else up. Sione Pouha has played that role for the New York Jets recently, but Gregg Rosenthal reports that the Jets aren’t likely to apply the franchise tag, making him a free agent. Given enough money, the Chiefs could pull him away from the AFC East.
“He’s one of the keys to Rex Ryan’s defense and run stuffers like him don’t become available often,” writes Rosenthal. " We still wonder if the Jets would risk losing Pouha on the open market, but perhaps they are confident they can get a long-term deal done before free agency starts March 13."
If Pouha does come free, the Chiefs are likely to take a closer look. They had Kelly Gregg in the middle last season, but he’s a free agent again and is older than Pouha, who is 33. Currently the Chiefs only have Jerrelle Powe and Anthony Toribio on the roster and neither player should be counted upon for significant playing time next season — at least until a developmental player like Powe can show his stuff in OTAs.
Pouha would make an ideal veteran at the position as KC tries to bolster that position overall. Expect the Chiefs to make at least two moves at defensive tackle this offseason. Pouha would be a great start.
The Kansas City Chiefs are continually linked to an offensive tackle when it comes to mocks for the upcoming 2012 NFL Draft for one primary reason: Barry Richardson. Some have called him the worst tackle in the NFL last season and most have at least noted his subpar performance in both the running and passing game. For a team that’s been so good historically at running the ball, it’s amazing that Richardson has garnered so much playing time.
Even if Richardson’s poor performance is played up in the media, it’s still a position to upgrade for the team. But Chris Burke notes that Richardson also let himself down. As a young tackle, he could have enjoyed a major pay raise in the free agency market. Instead, he’ll fight for a roster spot. Burke writes:
NFL teams are constantly searching for young talent at the offensive tackle position, something that should have worked in the favor of the 25-year-old Richardson, whose rookie contract is up.
Unfortunately for him, there’s not a huge market for overmatched young tackles, and that’s what Richardson has shown himself to be. He did start all 16 games for Kansas City for the second straight season, but that says more about K.C.’s lack of line depth than Richardson’s ability. Over the 2011 season, Richardson was flagged for nine penalties, gave up eight sacks and allowed an astronomical 36 quarterback pressures. Any team relying on him to be more than a backup going forward is asking for trouble.
The Chiefs are likely to move on from Richardson in the draft specifically. The Chiefs have been linked to Riley Reiff or Jonathan Martin or even Mike Adams multiple times and they are also likely to strike a deal with someone via free agency. The team is woefully thin at tackle, so something has to be done. Yet if Richardson were brought back, even in a back-up role, there’s likely to be some level of PR backlash.
As Scott Pioli is looking forward and constructing the Kansas City Chiefs roster for 2012, the team is going to have to address the offensive line at more than one point. Barry Richardson is a free agent and is widely regarded as a subpar option for the Chiefs moving forward. Steve Maneri, the only back-up tackle has switched to tight end. Rodney Hudson provided the only interior back-up spot on the roster last season and starting center Casey Wiegmann might retire. In short, there are more uncertainties than certainties.
That makes this free agency period and draft class especially important on the offensive front. Hudson played in 16 games, but only started 1 in a season where the Chiefs might be making some quarterback shifts (or at least keeping them on a short leash). Going through a full season with only Hudson as the center option on the roster also does not make sense. He’s been groomed through his college days at Florida State as a guard and center, so his flexibility is a positive. However, is he ready to provide playoff-caliber protection and game calling in the middle? That much is unknown.
If Pioli decides that it’s not okay to have an unknown in that position, then some back-up should be expected. The Chiefs could easily leave the door open for Wiegmann to return whenever he decides. That would be a solid move since Wiegmann has been a consummate pro who is not likely to enter the Hall of Fame, but who has enjoyed an incredible career nonetheless.
Dan Koppen is another option from the New England Patriots who could possibly move on from their longtime starter at center. After being placed on injured reserve for most of the season, questions surrounded the future of Koppen with the team. The 14-year veteran wants to stay, but he also realizes the doors are open to play elsewhere.
“Do I want to stay here and play?” Koppen told the Boston Herald recently. “Yeah, absolutely, I’d love to come back here and play. But I’m not shut off to the idea of going other places or seeing the opportunities that may present itself when the free agency period comes. It’s an uneasy time, but it’s an exciting time.”
The ties to Kansas City are obvious given Pioli’s background with New England. If Wiegmann retires, Koppen could easily find a one or two year deal to provide that starter bridge to Hudson or insurance in case Hudson isn’t working out. Then again, Hudson could easily shift to guard if he’s deemed better than Ryan Lilja, for example.
Bringing in a veteran center makes more sense than anything. Whether it’s a familiar face or a new one doesn’t matter. What is clear is that the Chiefs have multiple holes to fill in this particular section of the roster, and signing an experienced veteran would help in numerous ways in terms of talent, flexibility and locker room presence.
The 2012 off-season is going to feature several new faces arriving in Kansas City, and one of those should be in the offensive backfield. The Chiefs are likely to look for some running back help at some point, although most of that talk has come through mock drafts. Miami's Lamar Miller or Temple's Bernard Pierce are a couple of names appearing in the later rounds linked to the Chiefs. However, free agency offers a few possibilities, and the strongest is likely Patriots free agent BenJarvus Green-Ellis.
Evan Silva believes the Chiefs are a good fit for Green-Ellis:
#Chiefs have tons of cap room, will likely sign at least one RB. BenJarvus Green-Ellis logical fit. History with Pioli. Battle & Jones FAs.— Evan Silva (@evansilva) February 14, 2012
Certainly Jamaal Charles is going to be the feature back for the Chiefs if all goes well with the rehab to his injured ACL, and the All-Pro insists he's feeling great and ahead of schedule. That said, the Chiefs could still use a hard runner between the tackles with a nose for the goal line. Green-Ellis is just that with 11 touchdowns this season and 10 in 2010.
Thomas Jones and Jackie Battle are free agents and both are likely to leave Kansas City. Todd Haley seemed to really like both players and what they brought to the locker room, and perhaps Crennel feels the same. Hard working players are nice to have around, so if one or both can offer something further on the field, then they might remain. Still it's hard to ignore Green-Ellis as an option if the price is right.
The San Diego Chargers are going to have to make some significant moves with their veteran free agents if they are going to get under the cap enough to repair the current holes on the roster. That means that some familiar names like Takeo Spikes and Luis Castillo might be set free to sign with other teams. One such name that Kevin Acee from the San Diego Union-Tribune brings up is Marcus McNeill as a likely candidate to be released.
Acee writes, "For one, they will likely clear the books of $10 million by waiving left tackle Marcus McNeill. McNeill has to be cleared by a team doctor by the third day of the new league year, which begins March 13, or his 2012 salary is not guaranteed. McNeill is not expected to get a clean bill of health from the Chargers.
The Chiefs are definitely going to make some sort of moves along their offensive line. They tried to add a veteran tackle last off-season with Jared Gaither, but ended up releasing him later in the season before he caught on with the Chargers, coincidentally, and Gaither ended up working out rather well. McNeill, meanwhile, has struggled with health concerns and should be let go. Yet he could play the same kind of role this off-season that Gaither was intended to last year.
McNeill is still only 28 and he's a two time Pro Bowler. The Chiefs are struggling at the tackle position as Steve Maneri was the only back-up late in 2011. That's a dangerous road for any team to follow and signing at least one veteran makes a lot of sense. If Pioli is looking to buy low, perhaps McNeill could be that player.
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