With Jeremiah Trotter, Ed Hartwell and Samari Rolle in town, the Chiefs wined, dined and entertained three of the top free agents in the 2005 class. After spending nearly 24 hours in town, the Chiefs put on the hard sell to all three veterans. Both Hartwell and Trotter were scheduled to leave town at 3:00 this afternoon but that changed when agents started getting involved.
Trotter was on the phone with his agent Jimmy Sexton. Hartwell was conferring with his agent Harold Lewis and the action was hot and heavy. Both were secluded in parts of Arrowhead. Sometime between that time and 6:00 Trotter left without a contract offer to his liking. According to what we've been able to piece together, Trotter was looking for a double digit signing bonus.
Antonio Pierce who left Washington for the New York Giants signed a six-year $26 million contract that included a $6.5 million signing bonus. The Chiefs were believed to be offering roughly the same deal. Sexton was looking for a signing bonus closer to $10-11 million for Trotter.
He left Arrowhead without a contract and told reporters that he intended to make a couple more visits. Those visits could include Seattle and Atlanta. But some insist that if the knees are sound that the Eagles might get back into the race and retain their top linebacker.
An hour before Trotter left, Samari Rolle and his wife left Kansas City and headed to the airport. They were driven by Chiefs Head Coach Dick Vermeil. Rolle talked with reporters before he left and indicated that he was not planning on making any other visits and planned to go home tomorrow to celebrate his daughters birthday. He was also very clear that he had not visited the Washington Redskins who were rumored to be one of the front runners to sign the former Tennessee Titans cornerback. However, those plans could have changed if contract talks get serious before his plane departs this evening. They could be talking contract at another location to throw off the press.
He made it clear that he wants to make up his mind by Friday as to where he'll play next season. So with no visits scheduled, that could lead some to conclude that Rolle is hopeful that a deal can get done with Kansas City.
Ed Hartwell has not left Kansas City and he's planning on staying over one more night in hopes of getting a contract done in the morning. He did not speak to reporters after the two hour meeting with the Chiefs this afternoon that moved into the early evening. His agent who considers Vermeil one of the NFL's greatest head coaches was trying to secure a deal that would make Hartwell a Chief tonight but that could be delayed until tomorrow.
The Chiefs made offers to all three free agents but they were hardly resting on their laurels. In the midst of contract talks with all three players, Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker Kendrell Bell was making his way toward Arrowhead for his interview with Gunther Cunningham and Dick Vermeil.
Bell was the star of the Pittsburgh Steelers four man linebacking crew but injuries have plagued him the last two seasons. But he along with Hartwell would solidify the Chiefs linebacker corps and would bridge the gap until Shawn Barber returns midway through the 2005 season.
Warpaint Illustrated did learn this afternoon that they are expecting Safety Sammy Knight in for a visit as early as Monday. But first the Chiefs will entertain safety Dwight Smith from Tampa Bay who is in town tonight and is expected to meet with the defensive coaches in the morning.
The Chiefs would like to add a veteran safety in free agency and they'd like to find someone who can compete with incumbent starter Jerome Woods. The Chiefs were not pleased with Woods last season and they've already indicated that they want to upgrade the position or add depth.
And when we thought we had it all figured out, veteran cornerback Ty Law came into town this evening and is expected to talk to Chiefs officials. It's doubtful he's ready for a physical but with the Chiefs focusing on Rolle, he wanted to come and visit.
With all that said, things at Arrowhead are quiet. But that could change in a heartbeat. I won't lean either way but I'd say the Chiefs could have two new additions to their defense in the next 24 hours.
Stay tuned to Warpaint Illustrated for the latest Chiefs free agent news.