As we get within days, hours, and even minutes from the beginning of free agency it would seem that every player out there has been at one time-linked to every team in the NFL.
Every fan has a player or two in mind that could make the difference in their team taking that next step in their progress. For the Kansas City Chiefs that step means a playoff victory, which has been elusive for the Chiefs in recent memory, and getting to an AFC title game.
There are several players out on the market that could make a difference in Kansas City. The Chiefs are still by all means considered a very young team. And with the retirement of Mike Vrabel, the already-young team got even younger. The Chiefs have filled their team over the last two seasons with very talented players that have proven to make a difference from the day they arrived. Eric Berry, Kendrick Lewis, Javier Arenas, Brandon Carr and Brandon Flowers make up one of the best young secondaries in the NFL.
The Chiefs are looking at Derrick Johnson, who signed a 5-year extension last season with the Chiefs, to be a rock in the middle of the defense alongside Tamba Hali. As Hali should be signing an extension with the Chiefs very soon that would allow the Chiefs to be set at linebacker for the next few years.
There are only a few spots on the Chiefs roster that an upgrade could conceivably happen. These spots are wide receiver, nose tackle, right tackle and inside linebacker. None of these are glaring needs but upgrades could be on the horizon.
We'll start with nose tackle because it's the position that people like to talk about most when talking about a 3/4 defense. There is a contingent of Chiefs fans out there that want to see the team re-sign Ron Edwards and Shaun Smith and work-in the rookie from Ole Miss, Jerrel Powe. There is a lot to be said for the job Edwards did in 2010, especially considering that Smith was supposed to give him some rest as they would rotate along the line. But with Tyson Jackson's injury early in the season, Smith spent most of his time lining up at defensive end, thus not giving Edwards the rest he would need.
But adding a player like Aubrayo Franklin would solidify this defense for the next 3-4 years. A dominant run-stuffer that has proven to be one of the best nose tackles in football over the last few seasons. If you look around the league and look at the elite 3/4 defenses. All of them have fantastic nose tackles, and Franklin is a fantastic nose tackle. He's also the same exact type of player that Jerrel Powe has shown to be from his collegiate days. A two-gap immovable object in the heart of the defense. Having Franklin tutor Powe would be extremely helpful for the young Rebel from Mississippi.
Santana Moss had one of the best years of his career last season as he spent more time playing in the slot than he ever had before. The Chiefs could use the tools and talent that Moss possesses to mesh perfectly with the big bodied-Jon Baldwin and Dwayne Bowe. Moss has a connection with new Chiefs quarterbacks coach Jim Zorn from Zorn's head coaching days in Washington. All accounts were that Moss and Zorn got along well and that Moss was a defender of Zorn's tumultuous time with the Redskins.
LeRon McClain is a player that has just recently been connected with the Chiefs as the running back/full back would provde a skillset that nobody on the Chiefs current roster has. He can line up at fullback and take the handoff in short-yardage situations. He and Thomas Jones could split the workload as 'Robin's' to the Chiefs 'Batman' that is Jamaal Charles.
Franklin, Moss and McClain would all be instant impact players for the Chiefs and could easily put this Kansas City team over the top and ready for contention in the AFC starting this year.
Some other notable free agents that the Chiefs could be after include Matt Light, Steve Breaston, Kelly Gregg, Ryan Harris and Takeo Spikes.