Predicting The Kansas City Chiefs’ 5 Biggest Free Agency Moves
Predicting The 5 Biggest Free Agency Moves
In 2013, the Kansas City Chiefs went from the No. 1 pick to an 11-5 record. Led by new coach Andy Reid and new quarterback Alex Smith, the Chiefs went from laughing stock to one of the best single-season turnarounds in NFL history. Despite this turnaround, the team still has a long way to go before getting in the Super Bowl discussion.
Kansas City was well on their way to the AFC Divisional Round until an epic collapse ended a remarkable season. Leading the Indianapolis Colts 38-10 in the third quarter, the Chiefs would lose 45-44. The team finished with eight pro bowlers, with Jamaal Charles and Eric Berry having tremendous seasons.
The Kansas City Chiefs have plenty of work to do this offseason to beat the Denver Broncos in the AFC West. The team will have to upgrade both their passing game and their pass defense to prove that last year's team wasn't a one-year wonder, and 12 Chiefs are up for free agency.
The Chiefs have already cut Dunta Robinson, who was a major disappointment as a free agent. Undrafted rookie cornerback Marcus Cooper struggled all year, most notably being picked apart by Peyton Manning in their second loss to the Broncos. Kansas City's passing game was also a weak spot, as Dwayne Bowe was the only true threat on the outside, and even then he is not one of the top receivers in the game.
The Chiefs have slightly $2.5 million remaining under the cap, giving the team some tough decisions in the free agency period. Veterans like Bowe, Berry, Tamba Hali and Brandon Flowers would have high cap hits with each more than $10 million, but since all of these players are vital to the Chiefs' success, none of these players will be released. The Chiefs have nearly $20 million in dead money due to poor personnel decisions by the previous regime.
Former players like the overpaid Matt Cassel, former draft busts Glenn Dorsey and Jon Baldwin, as well as free agent disappointments Steve Breaston and Eric Winston account for nearly $12 million of the $20 million in dead money.
In order to sustain their success in 2013, the Chiefs will have to have another solid offseason in 2014 and if these moves occur, the Chiefs are that much closer to the Denver Broncos and can hold off the San Diego Chargers in one of the toughest divisions in the AFC West.
5. Tyson Jackson
One of the Chiefs' former draft busts, Tyson Jackson turned in a solid year for the Chiefs in 2013. Jackson and defensive tackle Dontari Poe helped the Chiefs become one of the better defensive fronts in football.
Even if the Chiefs sign Jackson to a short-term deal, Jackson and Kansas City would both benefit from Jackson returning in 2014.
4. Dexter McCluster
Wide receiver and Pro Bowl returner Dexter McCluster is one of the few offensive weapons that teams have to account for. The Chiefs need to re-sign McCluster to give the team a consistent slot receiver and to maintain their great special teams unit.
3. Sam Shields
As mentioned earlier, Robinson and Cooper struggled playing in the slot last year. Flowers was mostly a slot defender when the Chiefs played the Broncos and that led to a bad result. GM John Dorsey was around the Green Bay Packers when cornerback Sam Shields went from undrafted free agent to starting cornerback.
With Dorsey's familiarity with Shields, the Chiefs would be smart to snatch this Green Bay Packer and bolster a secondary that faces Manning twice a season.
2. Riley Cooper
The Kansas City Chiefs have not had a consistent No. 2 receiver in quite some time. Their passing game was anemic at times, with only Dwayne Bowe as a real threat to defenses.
In Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Riley Cooper, Andy Reid is reunited with one of his former Eagles and addresses a long standing need.
1. Branden Albert
Although most reports hint at Branden Albert not returning to the team, the Chiefs have to sign him. Quality offensive linemen are not found everywhere, so when you have a good one on your team, you have to do all you can to keep them on your team.