It's almost laughable just how much tampering goes on in the NFL. It's even more ridiculous that the league wants to call out some teams for doing it every now and then -- like a parent yelling at a child to stop doing something every fifth violation. When the bell rang on the NFL's free agency period at 4pm Eastern Time on Tuesday, the frenzy began and players and agents began signing commitments from teams for tens of millions of dollars.
Something was apparently, ahem, already in place.
The contracts have been substantial this off-season. Vincent Jackson breaks the bank and then Calvin Johnson's extension breaks that. Mario Williams is likely going to be paid enough to play in Buffalo of all places. Carl Nicks grabbed the contract he wanted. The Redskins overhauled their wide receiving corps faster than my little brother can do the same on Madden '12. And for the most part, the contracts have been ridiculous.
All the while, the Chiefs have remained largely silent. It's frustrating to watch your favorite team appear to do nothing while everyone else is grabbing the goods. It feels akin to a buying panic when a bird flu is announced and customers run to clear store shelves of batteries and bottled water. Not every contract is bad, mind you, but plenty of them remain questionable at first glance.
Consider the Chiefs first move of the offseason, before free agency ever started. The Chiefs were the winners of the Stanford Routt tour (which was slightly less covered than the Peyton Manning tour) and signed the former Raiders corner for three years and $18 million. Fast forward to the free agency frenzy where Cortland Finnegan, the other top corner on the market next to Brandon Carr, earns a five-year deal worth $50 million across the state with the St. Louis Rams.
That's quite a difference. Is Carr worth that much more than Routt? Was that some foresight on the part of the Chiefs front office? Depends on who is telling the story at this point.
Fast forward to the Chiefs first visit: John Carlson. At first glance, it's a great opening to the official free agency period because the tight end is a major position on the Chiefs offensive unit and the team was clearly limited when Tony Moeaki was out for the year. Carlson was likely a buy-low option rebounding from not playing a single down in 2011 for the Seattle Seahawks. Then he left without a contract -- a bad sign for any team hoping to strike a deal.
This afternoon brought news of Carlson's new home. After leaving KC, Carlson went to visit Minnesota and found a home with the Vikings. The deal? A five-year, $25 million contract worth a guaranteed $11 million. What did you say? "He didn't play last year, did he?" You are correct to bring that up. The deal was instantly slammed on Twitter from sportswriters all over.
They say the best things come to those who wait. Or at least that's what the ketchup commercial slogan said when I was growing up. If it's true, then Chiefs fans will just have to believe that some of the frenzy needs to die down in order to make the smartest purchases. If the team passes on a player they bring in, it's likely they do not like what they see. If they continue with perceived holes in the roster, just know that the regular season doesn't even start for another five months.
The Chiefs have a better roster at this point than they did a year ago and the same was true of the year before. The process is still a process, even if it seems to be a hurried one for other teams.