The Kansas City Chiefs made their best move of the free agency period—indeed, one of the best moves made by any team, when they locked up former Houston Texans offensive tackle Eric Winston to a four-year contract for a total of $22 million. Kansas City went on to add former Denver Broncos quarterback Brady Quinn. With these two signings, the free agency period moves from the negative to the positive side of the ledger for Chiefs’ general manager Scott Pioli.
I had previously expressed skepticism over Kansas City’s initial moves to sign running back Peyton Hillis and tight end Kevin Boss. While acknowledging that future moves could change the landscape, it seemed to me Pioli wasn’t fixing his team’s primary problems. With regard to Hillis, my view remains completely the same—this was a bad signing, and it had nothing to do with whatever came next. Improving the offensive line, as the team has now done with Winston, was the way to improve the play of the #2 running back and there was no reason to spend extra money at this spot. The acquisition of Boss is a case where the larger picture makes it look much better.
Kansas City has now addressed perhaps its biggest need in fixing the offensive tackle spot, they’ve made a modest upgrade at tight end, and while I’m not sure what to think of Quinn at this point, he’s certainly worth taking a flyer on as the backup to Matt Cassel. The Chiefs still need a center, but they’re now in a position where any remaining needs can be worked on in the NFL draft.
All the media attention in the NFL world—for that matter, the free world—is on Kansas City’s AFC West rival in Denver. But with key players coming back from injury—Eric Berry, Tony Moeaki, and Jamaal Charles, and now the addition of Winston, is any team in the West more improved than Kansas City? Las Vegas says the Broncos are 3-1 to win the AFC, while the Chiefs are only 15-1. Kansas City’s worth a lot more respect than that.