With most of the 32 NFL teams making free agency splashes, Chiefs fans are forced to sit on the sidelines as their team appears to be doing very little to improve their chances to defend last years stunning AFC West crown.
For the record, I like Pioli. I think he has the Chiefs moving in the right direction. I just wish he'd move them along a bit faster. The problem is that I'm not confident he understands the free agent process. He can talk about the signing the right guys and spending money wisely. But that doesn't apply this time around - not with so many quality players on the market who aren't asking for the moon in regards to dollars and years.
If we listen to our sources, they claim Piol has some Carl Peterson in him, a little Bill Belichick and his own persona that has clashed with a few agents in the last week. Per one of our league sources, says that Pioli is more interesting in learning where players might be going, instead of trying to sign them for the Chiefs.
But honestly the job of any NFL agent is to get the best for the players they represent so they just could be trying to cause more of a stir than anything else. But to his credit, when dealing with the agents for Defensive End Aubrayo Franklin, Pioli didnt play the ‘what are you offering' game that drives up the price for other NFL teams on one player or another. In most cases, he's stuck to his guns on price and in certain cases that was probably a wise move.
Still the additions of Wide Receiver Steve Breaston, Defensive Tackle Kelly Gregg and Inside Linebacker Brandon Siler are good moves. But are they flashy for the hungry fan base? Not in the least but all three players fit a need for the Chiefs.
However, from all accounts over the last week the Chiefs were in on some of the top free agent targets of the offseason. But nothing developed from those discussions. Either Pioli didn't like the price, or didn't offer enough to the agent to sway a player from signing elsewhere, or some of it could have been for show.
Whatever the reasons, the Kansas City Chiefs roster has some gaping holes that still need to be filled before the start of the regular season.
Both outside linebackers Tamba Hali and 2011 third round draft pick Justin Houston, remain unsigned. Hali is the teams franchise player and he wants a contract just north of $70 million. Houston, appears unfazed by the rookie wage scale and his agent is asking for an above slot deal. So far, Pioli has made little progress on either contract.
On Thursday, all the players the Piol signed since free agency began, including their own players, will report to training camp for the first time. So between now and then, Pioli has a small window to improve his image and his football team.
In order to do that he might have to start thinking outside of the box. He may have to give a few more dollars to land back-up running Le'Ron McClain, who may be content to wait until the start of the regular season to get the contract he wants. Or Pioli, might have to pull the trigger and land New York Giants Defensive End Osi Umenyiora, which would cost him cash and a second round draft pick.
In the short term, those pair of moves with the signings of Hali and Houston, would shore up some of the problems that Head Coach Todd Haley is going to face this season.
If not, Pioli is taking a huge gamble that this years drafted and un-drafted free agents, can make a similar impact as they did a year ago.
It just isn't going to work. Not saying it won't. But those players have lost too much development time thanks to the absence of OTA, Mini-Camps and class time with the coaching staff. So it's unrealistic to expect anything from the diaper dandies in 2011.
For Pioli, time is running out. The market is thinning of quality NFL players and even though another round of veteran cuts is likely over the next two or three weeks, its imperative that Pioli doesn't wait on them.
Because all that will do is put those players even farther behind the learning curve than the players that are already on the Chiefs roster at the moment.
And that could lead to a slow start for Pioli's football team this season. Should that happen, then that's going to open a whole new can of worms within the fan base, and that won't be good for anyone.
WARPAINT ILLUSTRATED MESSAGE BOARDS:
Do you think Pioli is going to add any more impact players?
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