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Fool's Gold: Free Agency, Scott Pioli And The State Of The Kansas City Chiefs

Chiefs fans need patience and trust throughout a crazy circus like this NFL off-season.

I'll be the first to admit it. I've gotten completely caught up in the free agent frenzy. Completely.

The last two years, I've been a Scott Pioli apologist. I've written more articles than I can remember on the need for patience and trust as Pioli works with his scouts and staff to find the right players. I've depended upon his experience as lead architect for the Patriots franchise through a few championships as I've wanted things to happen in certain ways. And time and time again, I've been proven correct as certain acquisitions or draft picks fell apart for others teams -- guys I'd wanted to see in a Chiefs uniform. It's hard to argue with last year's 10 win season and playoff appearance when no one expected it before 2010 began.

But this year, I've completely fallen for it. I didn't just want Steve Breaston. I also wanted Sidney Rice. Where's Aubrayo Franklin? Where's Paul Posluszny? Pay the price for Osi Umenyiora. I've changed the tone in my articles to wonder where these guys are at. I've traded messages with Chiefs fans on Twitter who are asking me what Scott Pioli is thinking. If we have the money, why aren't we spending it? I don't know, I say. I don't know.

I'm not sure when I drunk the Kool-Aid, but I did somewhere along the way. That's why it was so shocking to me to read a recent quote in the most recent edition in Dan Pompeii's wonderful column "The Sunday Blitz" over at the National Football Post. In it, he offers this simple statement amidst the others about the true nature of free agency:

Free agency is filled with fool’s gold. Teams don’t win championships by loading up on other teams’ mistakes. So I don’t get as excited about veteran pickups as a lot of people.


Fool's gold. Now that could be an overstatement. Obviously the ability to acquire Jonathan Joseph or Nnamdi Asomugha is going to significantly help any secondary in the NFL. Landing Braylon Edwards is a great feat for any team. Free agency is not a fruitless exercise. But that's not what Pompeii is saying. Instead, he's pointing to a flawed belief that free agency will take a team from non-competitive to competitive in one off-season.

The free agents that the Chiefs are signing will certainly help. Steve Breaston rounds out the receiving corps in a way that the Chiefs dearly needed last season. Kelly Gregg fills a giant void in the middle of the defensive line, literally and figuratively. Brandon Siler offers versatility and depth the Chiefs needed among its linebacking corps. But those aren't moves that will make the Chiefs Super Bowl contenders. They are moves that must come alongside the development of a greater core of players, the kind of development that Scott Pioli has been making all along.

Depending on free agency is a fool's gold, but using them to enhance what's already there is to adorn the real thing. And that's what Chiefs fans have to trust that Pioli and Haley have been doing all along.