With so many players in town, the Chiefs have lots of options and it seems if they are going to make a splash in free agency, they could reel in a few veteran players in the next 24 hours to shore up their defense.
First on that list is linebacker Ed Hartwell as the man the Chiefs have defined as their potential starter in the middle of the defense in 2005. The issue is very simple. Money! The two sides are not far apart on a deal but Hartwell is on his way to Arizona to meet with the Cardinals. The problem is the signing bonus demands are causing the Chiefs concern. They have to have enough dollars to sign a multiple number of defensive veterans.
The problem with the Chiefs and at least they realize this is the fact they can't just make one or even two additions to this defense, they need at least four or five bodies to make an impact. That's not an easy choice but that's why they have brought these players into town in groups.
Trotter, Hartwell and Samari Rolle came in together. The Chiefs told each of them that they wanted to sign them as a group. Rolle left town but had dinner with Dick Vermeil for the second night in a row before he left to fly back home to attend his daughters birthday. Rolle who indicated he'd like to get a deal done by the end of today; has not scheduled a visit with anyone else. Reports that he has agreed to a contract with Washington are unfounded and false. Rolle made that clear before he left town.
Hartwell was scheduled to leave town last night but he's stayed over trying to get a deal done. He has narrowed his list of teams from 13 to the Chiefs, Bengals, Redskins, Seattle and the Cardinals from what we've been told. His agent has said all the right things and if this deal gets done it better happen before talks get heated up with Arizona who have lots of cash to spend. But Hartwell is in the prime of his career and if he wants to play in Arizona, he might not make a significant start on a Super Bowl team before his career ends.
Last night Kendrell Bell, Sammy Knight and Ty Law were entering Arrowhead. Now we hear the Chiefs have also been in contact with the agent for Fred Smoot. Out of those four, I'd say the Chiefs would be most interested in Bell and Knight as they remain in Kansas City to try and work something out with the Chiefs. Law is months away from getting to the point where he can do serious rehab and the Chiefs as well as other NFL teams are not going to sign him until they see he's 100%.
Knight played with the Dolphins but even at 30 years old he can still make plays on the field. He could be signed to back-up Jerome Woods or give him competition in training camp. Woods also could be a June 1 cap casualty so Knight would be insurance in the event that is the case that's the direction the Chiefs decide to go with him.
Bell has received no offers from any NFL teams and the Chiefs would only sign him if they can also sign Hartwell. Granted he's an upgrade but he won't be as effective playing outside linebacker without a solid middle linebacker by his side.
Rumors starting circulating that Fred Smoot might make his way to Kansas City but we've not been able to confirm that at this hour.
Chiefs President Carl Peterson will be back in town this evening and if any contracts are to get done; they likely will be finalized this evening. However, Chiefs should know that Assistant GM Denny Thum handles most of the contract negotiations for the team.
It's quiet at Arrowhead but that could change later this afternoon. Stay tuned to Warpaint Illustrated for the latest.