Separating Fact and Fiction in Chiefs Free Agency

It's been a long day for everyone involved. But the Kansas City Chiefs quest to get involved in the Free Agency market took an unexpected turn on Wednesday. Rumors were running rampant about a deal for Patrick Surtain, Samari Rolle, Ed Hartwell and the latest centering on Jeremiah Trotter. Warpaint Illustrated breaks all the facts, truth and shapes the rumors so it all makes sense.

The Kansas City Chiefs were very active on the first day of free agency. After talking to people within the organization, we have been able to piece together the aforementioned players who have caught the Chiefs early attention. It's a safe bet that the Chiefs could offer contracts up for these players and likely will attempt to do so before they leave Kansas City.

The Miami Dolphins have been attempting to trade their starting cornerback and it appears the Chiefs are intent on making this deal depending on how things work with their other free agent acquisitions.

The deal on the table is the following. The Dolphins will sign Surtain to a contract that the Chiefs will agree to absorb as long as the numbers fit. In exchange, the Chiefs will send the Dolphins their second round draft pick for Surtain. Now I'm not big on Surtain but the Chiefs like his size and speed. Kansas City has been at the center of this deal since the NFL Combines last week.

If the Chiefs are willing to part with their second round pick understanding that they don't have a third round pick because of the trade for John Welbourn on draft day in 2004; this deal will happen.

That leads us to Samari Rolle who is having dinner this evening with his wife and the Vermeil family. The thought is that Vermeil will likely close the deal for Rolle and sell him on Kansas City. If Rolle signs then a deal for Surtain could still happen. It simply comes down to the value against the salary cap of his contract vs. the Chiefs 2005 second round pick.

Rolle is the premier cornerback on the market and its very doubtful that he'd make Kansas City his first choice to visit if he did not want to play for the Chiefs. Defensive coordinator Gunther Cunningham coached him for three seasons in Tennessee and he's been standing up and down to sign Rolle if he was available.

If the meeting goes well with Vermeil this evening, then this deal could get done very fast. Its doubtful he'll leave town without a significant contract offer from the Chiefs.

Linebacker Ed Hartwell came in town this morning and he's another player who wants to play in Kansas City. He was a starter and understudy to Ray Lewis. The Baltimore Ravens did not want to keep him for whatever reason. The Chiefs aren't complaining and Hartwell has indicated prior to the start of free agency through his agent that he'd like to play for the Chiefs. That's a good sign. He would solve one of the Chiefs outside linebacker positions. If they can sign Hartwell, they'll turn their attention to Jeremiah Trotter.

Reports from ESPN indicate a deal is close but Warpaint Illustrated talked to a Chiefs official late this afternoon and he indicated that a deal was not imminent despite the report by the cable network. Most likely their source was an agent who represents Trotter. However, he is scheduled to be in town later this evening or tomorrow. Parameters for a deal probably have been worked out and Trotter has made it clear after he broke off talks with the Eagles yesterday that he wants to play for the Chiefs.

So what does all this mean? It's very simple. The Chiefs are adamant about signing some of the top free agents to shore up their ailing defense. This team without at least two or three starters can't compete on defense next season.

But signing these players is just half the battle, they must sign guys who will make plays on defense and bring an attitude and leadership to the locker room on the defensive side of the ball.

At the end of last season, I spoke with a Chiefs official and he told me that this team just needs a couple of defensive leaders. It appears that's the plan this off-season as Kansas City intends too move quickly in trying to shore up the defensive holes so they can concentrate on the draft.

If the Chiefs can shore up those needs, then they can choose the best available athlete in Round one or two if they don't give it to the Dolphins for Surtain. The Chiefs must find another Safety, another cornerback even if they acquire Surtain and sign Rolle plus a pass rushing defensive end in the draft.

So what happens in the next two days, could shape their plans on draft day. If you're a Chiefs fan you have to be pumped up that Kansas City has been so aggressive in regards to getting players in town as fast as they have. They aren't willing to wait for the second tier of players like they've done in years past. That's a good approach and a fresh attitude.

Stay tuned to Warpaint Illustrated for more details on the Chiefs free agency.


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