Chiefs Free Agency: The Top Five

Now that the CBA is finally done, time to turn our focus to free agency. The Kansas City Chiefs can focus on their needs and develop a strategy that might afford them some more options when free agency begins on Saturday.

The problem with the free agent class this year it doesn't feature players at positions that can impact the Chiefs roster in 2006. However, there are some guys with some mileage that could help this team.

According to the NFL the salary cap for 2006 will be $102 million that's up $17 million from 2005. That means if the team was under the projected cap of $94.5 million last week, the team has roughly $7.5 million to play with this season. Last year the Chiefs only had $4.2 million in cap space.

Of course, Chiefs president Carl Peterson told the media earlier that he didn't expect for the Chiefs to be active in free agency, which doesn't mean anything, especially now when you factor in the extra riches they have at their disposal. It could mean that the Chiefs aren't going to do anything, which is possible, but not likely. The Denver Broncos, the Chiefs strongest current division rival, are looking to be big players in free agency, even though they won the division in convincing fashion, they don't plan on standing pat with a lineup that made it to the AFC Championship game.

What that means is the Chiefs need to get busy fast and they have to reverse their course. They need at least another starter along the defensive line and as solid cover cornerback who can also rush the passer. Two guys they have in camp Alphonso Hodge who has talent but the Chiefs can't afford to wait on is development and Julian Battle, who was injured all of last season.

The Chiefs spent a lot of money last year on names like Kendrell Bell, Sammy Knight and of course Patrick Surtain. The Hunt's may not be willing to shell out big dollars two years in a row but with a stadium vote on the horizon and the possibility of playing a Super Bowl in Kansas City, they might have to be more active to raise the passion for the Chiefs in the community before the big vote in April.

On the field, Knight turned out to be a huge part of the Chiefs defensive improvement last season, Bell was somewhat of a disappointment. It has to be frustrating for the Chiefs brass to possibly have to break big bread for the second consecutive year. But in the NFL change is constant and was successful in one season might not work in the next.

Still, the Chiefs know that their dynamic offense won't stay that way forever. They must either continue to improve the defense, or find a way to put even more points on the board. There are five no-brainer guys the Chiefs need to take a look at.

Trevor Pryce - Right now, Pryce is on his way to Cleveland, and with the money they have to spend (reportedly some $30 million), it would be surprising if Pryce doesn't sign with the Browns. Pryce has won two Super Bowls in Denver, and his legacy is intact. Some additional financial security provided by a big contract would likely be welcome. Still, if Pryce does get away without a contract, the Chiefs need to make sure his next stop is in Kansas City. While he has lost some explosiveness, he's still an above average defensive lineman who could flourish in the Chiefs' defensive system.

Pryce can play either defensive end or tackle. The Chiefs could use that sort of versatility along the defensive line. He could do for the Chiefs what Neil Smith did for the Broncos after he left Kansas City. For those that don't remember, he was the stabilizing force on the defensive line that helped the Broncos win back to back Super Bowls in the 90's.

Charles Woodson - Sure, he's a head case. But he's still one of the most talented cornerbacks in the NFL. Woodson excels in man to man and zone, and can be force providing perimeter run support. With safety Sammy Knight behind him as a security blanket, there's no limit to what he can do. You have to think he wants to stick it to the Raiders and playing for Kansas City would be the ultimate in revenge.

Ty Law - Law is older, but still an excellent cornerback, at least as talented as Woodson, if not better. He likely will be too expensive for the Chiefs taste, but if he can be had for less that a double digit signing bonus, the Chiefs could pounce on him. Kansas City could have an inside track with the hiring of Herm Edwards, whom Law played for last season. It appears the Chiefs and Jacksonville Jaguars have shown the most interest to date.

Sam Madison - Madison is another older cornerback, which suits the Chiefs needs considering they have second year man Hodge waiting in the wings. He's definitely lost a step, but can succeed with the Chiefs playing more and more cover ‘2', where he can use his fantastic instincts in pass coverage. Reportedly, the Chiefs are Madison's number one choice, but he will explore his options. The New York Giants are prepared to offer him a big time contract but the desire to play with Surtain and Kinght again might afford the Chiefs an opportunity to get him in town for a visit.

Terrell Owens - As much as the Chiefs need defense, adding Owens puts another seven points on the scoreboard. Attitude aside, he's as talented a player as the NFL has ever seen. After sitting out most of last season, Owens will be motivated to prove that he's still one of the finest receivers in the game. He'll likely be cheap, and the Chiefs could probably sign him for an incentive laden one year deal. With Larry Johnson, Tony Gonzalez and Trent Green, the Chiefs offense would be unstoppable. Sometimes, the best defense is a powerful offense.

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