If you’re an NFL purist like me, all you care about is winning. The Nuts and bolts of the money it takes to build a successful franchise, combined with the X’s and O’s on the field, mean very little if your team keeps coming up short at seasons end.
Over the last week, I’ve read countless obituaries about the Chiefs woeful salary cap situation. With a busy off-season, that included adding powerhouse free agent, Wide Receiver Jeremy Maclin, the team has pushed their max dollars to the tip of the salary scale.
At the moment, the Chiefs have a little over $538 thousand dollars to work with in adding players to fulfill the organizations expectations of winning the AFC West title in 2015.
There are some quick fixes like converting Alex Smith’s contract into a signing bonus, or restructuring the final year of Eric Berry’s deal, or the big one, getting Justin Houston off the franchise tag and into a long term deal.
In my view, each of those big ticket items ca get done at some point between now and training camp. The Smith one is a no-brainer. The Berry contract requires the Chiefs to extend his deal another season, even if he never plays a snap this year for the Chiefs.
The Houston deal is complex, but I’m told both sides have renewed interest in getting a deal done before the hard NFL deadline for franchise players to sign extension on or before July 15th.
The reason General Manager, John Dorsey, has worked so diligently the last week while others in the organization are fixated on their vacations, rests solely on the fact, he knows this team needs more players.
One of them, free agent Guard Evan Mathis, has indicated a preference to re-join his former head coach, Andy Reid, in Kansas City. Granted other teams are still in the mix, but his roster addition appears to be as inevitable as the one that brought Maclin to Kansas City.
However, that might be just one of the deals Dorsey would like to engineer for the Chiefs. Rumors have suggested since the NFL draft, Kansas City wants to acquire Philadelphia Eagles Inside Linebacker, Mychal Kendricks.
Those talks stalled when Head Coach, Chip Kelly pushed the Chiefs for a third round pick in 2016. I’m told Kansas City wouldn’t part with a pick that high for the unhappy veteran linebacker – especially when you consider he could be cut at some point between now and the season opener. Still, to ensure they get their man, that doesn’t mean the door is closed on getting this deal done.
When Reid and Dorsey arrived in Kansas City all I heard from inside the walls at One Arrowhead Drive was the fact, everyone felt it would take two years to flush out the roster, before this team was a legitimate division contender.
With a roster full of veteran performers, dynamic playmakers and a handful of young ascending players aimed at making their mark in the NFL, the Chiefs are as close to becoming a perennial winner since the Dick Vermeil era in Kansas City.
However, they can’t rest on the laurels that have guided them from a 2-14 team to one that has engineered back-to-back winning seasons. The next push though is by far the most critical to the organization.
The biggest problem with the Chiefs remains their parking lot neighbors the Kansas City Royals. With a World Series run in their back pocket, they spent every waking moment leading to the home opener with a singular coat at making their roster better.
The Chiefs have to adopt the same approach.
Even though Kansas City has the divisional brass ring in their reach, the additions of Mathis and/or Kendricks might be enough to shape their fortunes in 2015. If that’s the case, now is the time to execute those talks into reality.
Fans don’t care about such trivial items as money these days. They just want a winner. Baseball fever is at a high pitch in KC, and if the Chiefs want to carry that passion into the dog days of November and December, spending more money now might be the only high-ticket item left to check of their off-season master plan.
If they don’t, and choose to stand pat with their roster, I’m still confident this team can win the division. Yet I want to get greedy, and add the veterans necessary to insure it happens, rather than simply leaving that singular item it up to the NFL gods, is the safest bet for believing this team can deliver another Super Bowl championship to it’s loyal fan base.
Photos Courtesy of Denny Medley USA Today Sports Images