Wistrom A Match Made in Heavan for Chiefs

With the free agency doors blown wide open while most of us were sleeping last night, the Kansas City Chiefs might have a few holes to fill since they failed to sign some of their own players before last nights deadline.

Defensive end Eric Hicks, tight end Jason Dunn and cornerback William Bartee failed to reach an agreement with the Chiefs last night and all appear to be looking for new teams to play with in 2004.

The Chicago Bears are interested in Hicks and Bartee plans on visiting the New York Giants. As for Dunn, his agent believes his value is slightly less than Tony Gonzalez and is looking for a rich deal from another team.

The Chiefs did re-sign some role players before Tuesday's deadline. Among them long snapper Kendall Gammon and back-up tight end Billy Baber. Both agreed to one-year contracts.

Kansas City also tendered contracts to their five restricted free agents. punter Jason Baker, running back Derrick Blaylock, defensive lineman Eric Downing and linebackers Quinton Caver and Monty Beisel. The Chiefs also signed defensive end R-Kal Truluck and safety Shaunard Harts to minimum contract offers. That means the Chiefs retain their rights and they must accept the Chiefs offer until they become restricted free agents.

Of the restricted free agents the Chiefs could be compensated with draft picks if they fail to match any offer made by another team for any of their five restricted free agents. If they lose Baker, they would receive draft-pick compensation to be determined by the NFL. For Caver it would be a second round, Downing would net the Chiefs a third-round draft pick and Beisel and Blaylock would give the Chiefs a fourth and fifth round pick respectively.

The Chiefs already have put the transitional tag on right tackle John Tait but reports out of Chicago claim the Bears are going to make Tait a significant offer. If that happens and he accepts the offer, the Chiefs will have seven days to match the deal or lose Tait without compensation. Though the Bears have $16 million in cap room, their history shows they won't be a big player in free agency.

Yesterday the St. Louis Post Dispatch reported that Rams defensive end Grant Wistrom was leaning toward signing with the Chiefs because he wants to be reunited with his former Head Coach Dick Vermeil. He would be a very logical signing for the Chiefs and would be an upgrade to Hicks at defensive end. Wistrom recently rejected a long term contract extension from the Rams but

Another player on the Chiefs radar screen is cornerback Troy Vincent formerly of the Philadelphia Eagles. He failed to reach an agreement with the Eagles late Tuesday night and the Eagles are already talking about bringing in former Seattle Seahawk cornerback Shawn Springs for a visit. Another cornerback off the Eagles that could be of interest to the Chiefs is Bobby Taylor. Now Taylor fired his agent on Tuesday, Jason Medlock and intends to represent himself in negotiations to prospective teams. I'd like to see the Chiefs make a play for Springs over Vincent and Taylor but his price might be too high for the Chiefs to pay.

One thing is certain the Chiefs appear to be lying low at the start of free agency but that could change if the rumors about signing Wistrom are accurate. The Philadelphia Eagles had shown interest in Wistrom but they were turned away in attempts to reach his agent because they were told that Wistrom was leaning toward signing a deal with the Chiefs.

The Chiefs despite their need to upgrade the cornerbacks and defensive end would like to sign a free agent wide receiver. But the market on wide receivers has dropped because both Terrell Owens and Dennis Northcutt, a Chiefs target, failed to exercise their options to void the final three years of their existing contracts.

Owens was a reach for the Chiefs but Northcutt was a player the Chiefs wanted very badly and unless they are willing to make a trade with the Browns, Northcutt appears to be staying put for now.

Though it hasn't been talked about in a month, rumors are still circulating in NFL circles that the Steelers are shopping disgruntled wide receiver Plaxico Burress. The Steelers would like to ship him off to another team since he only has one year remaining on his contract and he'd be eligible to become a unrestricted free agent after the 2004 season. But the Chiefs have given no indication they'd be willing to trade for Burress.


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