With the addition of Winston and the teams pursuit of other starters along the offensive line, this signing marks a stark change in the philosophy of the organization. When Kansas City Chiefs General Manager Scott Pioli first contacted the agent for Eric Winston within hours of his release. The two sides began a six day odyssey that drove the fan base crazy. Eventually they agreed to a long term deal.
In Kansas City, fans are not used to witnessing the organization signing players in the prime of their NFL careers. Well, Chiefs fans better start getting used to that one.
This week alone, the Chiefs added Winston, Tight End Kevin Bass, running back Peyton Hillis and Quarterback Brady Quinn. And if we go back a couple of weeks, they also added cornerback Stanford Routt. All five new members of the Chiefs share something in common - none of them have crossed the thirty-something barrier.
For Winston and the other free agents who signed this week that players want to play for the Chiefs. That's a strong indication that this team has something to offer high quality NFL free agents.
It should also convince the KC fan base that Pioli wasn't just committed to rebuilding their offensive line to flirt with Quarterback Peyton Manning. Instead, he saw what many did in the NFL, the Chiefs needed to revamp their offensive line no matter who was the starting quarterback. And by signing Winston on Saturday, the first piece of Pioli's master plan has been perfectly executed.
WInston will seal the right side of the offensive line. And with the signing official, the Chiefs can move onto a pair of other targets to line up alongside Winston, like Guard Vernon Carey and Left Tackle Marcus McNeill.
If the Chiefs can secure both lineman via free agency, Kansas City with the 11th overall selection can probably secure the draft rights to Stanford Guard, David DeCastro, who might be the best guard to come out of college I've seen since Will Shields. And should all that fall into the Chiefs lap, the team will almost certainly put Rodney Hudson at center.
But we have time to debate that.
For now, the Winston signing is very significant for Pioli, who really had to work hard to get this deal done. Winston is a premier player who demanded a high guarantee to secure his services. To land Winston, Pioli likely had to give in far more than he intended to do at the onset of the negotiations. But the fact he did, tells me, that he realized the importance of adding Winston to the franchise.
It also should tell Chiefs fans that Pioli is going to improve this team through free agency. And that means, he isn't done adding more - in their prime - veterans in Kansas City.
And for that, he deserves significant kudos.
WARPAINT ILLUSTRATED MESSAGE BOARDS:
What does the signing of Eric Winston do for KC's offensive line?
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