Kansas City Could Be Nearing Free Agent Signings

The quest to improve the defense has been defined all off-season. In fact it was defined two years ago when Mike Maslowski went down for an injury and left a void in the middle of the defense. Since then other position players have had trouble adjusting without KC's most dominating middle linebacker. That could change in what might be a busy day for the Chiefs.

One thing is certain the Chiefs are trying very hard to improve this defense. They strolled in six defensive players in 48 hours and have made overtures to each of them that they want them to become members of the Kansas City football club. But even best intentions don't go as planned that's why you always build contingencies.

On the forefront of every Chiefs fan is the contract status with free agent cornerback Samari Rolle. Our Scout.com NFL Experts have been burning the phone lines and have learned that a deal is close between the Chiefs and Rolle to bring him to Kansas City.

The numbers, signing bonus and length of the contract appear to be in order. The only item yet to be resolved is issues regarding injuries both past and present. The Chiefs want some contingency built into the agreement in case Rolle is not fully recovered from his knee injury. That's very standard in most contracts because the Chiefs want to be able to recoup any signing bonus given out in the event he's unable to perform.

I talked to my source at the Chiefs and that person would not deny or confirm the two sides were close. They indicated that Rolle would be the first free agent signed. If they were able to get a deal done with Rolle today, then the Chiefs would move on to Ed Hartwell.

The former Ravens linebacker left Kansas City yesterday after the Chiefs refused to give him the $11 million signing bonus his agent wanted from Kansas City. The Chiefs countered with $8 million and our NFL Scout/NFL Experts have found out that Kansas City has upped the signing bonus to $9 million. So the two sides are not far apart and both parties are still talking and continue to talk this afternoon.

The Cardinals are players in the deal because of their salary cap situation. But Hartwell has to decide if he wants to be playing with a team that needs lots of help or play for a team that will be a Super Bowl contender with his services and those of Rolle.

My guess is that Hartwell will fall if the Chiefs sign Rolle today as expected. Hartwell wants to be a Chiefs very badly and this is his first choice. When Jeremiah Trotter told Dick Vermeil he really didn't want to play for the Chiefs, Kansas City worked hard to sign Hartwell before he left town. But as usual, he wants more money than the open market is dictating.

The Chiefs are also expected to make an offer to cornerback Dwight Smith who is visiting New Orleans today and wants to decide between the Chiefs and Saints by Sunday. The Chiefs like him as both a corner and possible safety but would like to add him even if they sign Rolle.

Veteran Miami Safety Sammy Knight is coming into town on Monday and he's a veteran the Chiefs like very much and their interest could increase if they can't get a deal done with Smith.

Stay tuned to Warpaint Illustrated for all the straight skinny on the Chiefs free agent shopping.

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