The Kansas City Chiefs are doing their physical due diligence today on their prized first tier free agent recruiting class. After speaking with a Chiefs official this morning, Kansas City is going to be very thorough. The Eagles apparently passed on resigning Jeremiah Trotter because of his knee. They were concerned that it would not hold up for the length of the contract. The Chiefs official who I spoke with said the same thing. That's why its not likely that Trotter will sign a contract with the Chiefs before he leaves town.
Trotter rumors have been running rampant but the bottom line is the Chiefs are not going to sign any of these guys unless they are 110% sure they'll be able to physically honor their contracts. Once the Chiefs give out a signing bonus they're cooked and obligated to spread that out over the years of the agreement. Granted the salary cap is going to increase in 2006 and a cap free year of 2007; they could afford to take a risk. But that's not likely.
As far as Samari Rolle, he only played ten games for the Titans last season because of knee surgery. The surgery could impact his speed and that also concerns the Chiefs. Though he's regarded as the premier cornerback in the NFL on the free agent market, the doctors would have to be convinced that the recent knee surgery would allow him to start training camp on time before the Chiefs gave him a $15 million signing bonus.
Rolle is clearly the target for the Chiefs as they have stalled talks with the Miami Dolphins for Patrick Surtain. If Rolle leaves town today after his physical without a contract offer, then the Chiefs will attempt to bring in Fred Smoot or Ken Lucas. Plus rumblings still say that Rolle will end up in Washington to play for the hard luck Redskins. They might be willing to overpay for his services and overlook his knee. The Chiefs won't and shouldn't do that unless they are convinced the investment will pay dividends this season.
Ed Hartwell is the only healthy player out of the bunch and with as many as 15 NFL teams clamoring for his services, the Chiefs will likely have to make a deal with him before he leaves town today.
Hartwell has the talent to play middle linebacker and some believe he could be just as good as Trotter in the middle of the Chiefs defense. One thing is certain; he'll be an upgrade on the current personnel. His agent gave the Chiefs first crack at signing the former Baltimore Raven and Kansas City could probably sign him if they chose.
As far as Ty Law, he is not coming to Kansas City as has been reported by ESPN. At this moment Law is reeling. Some if not all of the top free agent cornerbacks will be signed by early next week. His agent is spreading rumors that he's coming to Kansas City because of the shrinking market. Law can't pass a physical now and might not be able to do that until June. If that happens, he'll receive about half the signing bonus he was expecting.
Don't get me wrong the Chiefs will be a player in the Ty Law sweepstakes when the time comes to bid for his services even if they sign Rolle. The Chiefs have to bring in at least two cornerbacks this off-season who can play alongside Eric Warfield. Benny Sapp will likely be the fourth cornerback but Dexter McCleon and William Bartee won't likely make the roster unless the Chiefs can't upgrade their cornerback position via free agency.
As of Thursday morning, no deal was imminent with any of the Chiefs visitors. As the Chiefs official told me, this could stretch into the weekend or next week before a decision is made on any of the three free agents who are at Arrowhead today. However he did not rule out something happening faster if everything fell into place with one or more of the free agent visitors.
Stay tuned to Warpaint Illustrated for the latest information on the Chiefs free agency front.