Free Agency Reality Check

So far this offseason, there's been a couple of things established about the Kansas City Chiefs that everyone needs to understand. They're being very cautious in free agency, and they're not going to break the bank for just anyone. The misconception is that the Chiefs aren't willing to spend any money, and that just isn't the case.

Bottom line, the Chiefs are only giving out money to players that they're sure fit into their overall plans, and then only for the right price. Already, you can see new head coach Herm Edwards' plans for this team. Chiefs' president Carl Peterson said before the start of free agency that the Chiefs won't be major players in the market. Guess what? It wasn't just hype.

The Chiefs have four objectives: continuity, get younger, stay competitive, and be fiscally responsible. Peterson has already announced that he will be leaving at the end of his current contract. As much as he'd like to win the Super Bowl, he's not willing to mortgage the franchise for the sake of his own legacy. What that means is, there won't be a whole lot of money thrown around.

Coach Edwards wants this team to get younger. The Chiefs are one of the oldest teams of the league. If that trend continues, there will be a mass turnover later, leading to the Chiefs suffering at the bottom of the league while waiting for young guys to develop and free agents to gel. By making the tough decisions now, the Chiefs can give talented young players a chance to develop alongside key veterans. Players like cornerback Alphonso Hodge, fullback Ronnie Cruz and wide receiver Craphonso Thorpe have the talent to be more than productive starters, eventually, maybe even Pro Bowl players. Without the opportunity to develop, these guys would end up as fringe players, and the Chiefs aren't afraid to let those guys play next season in key roles.

Now that's not saying that the Chiefs won't bring some guys in at some point in April or May. The Chiefs made a hard push for free agent defensive tackle Rocky Bernard, but ultimately, he used the Chiefs interest as leverage in negotiating his new deal with the Seattle Seahawks. There are several players still available that can help the Chiefs. Cornerbacks Charles Woodson and Ty Law are still out there, and they're finding out that they may have overpriced themselves in the market. The Chiefs will be perfectly content to watch how much one of those guys comes down, then, if there's mutual interest, making a play.

There's been talk that the Chiefs missed the boat by not adding free agent wide receiver Terrell Owens. On the surface, Owens would seem to have been a great addition to the Chiefs, and honestly he probably could have stayed in line for a while here. Adding Owens was surely tempting; if he's not the best receiver in the game, he's definitely top three. His talents would have made the Chiefs' offense unstoppable. Owens was interested in the Chiefs and the Chiefs were definitely interested in him. Unfortunately, Owens wanted more money than the Chiefs were willing to gamble on him. The Cowboys ended up giving a multi-year deal with 10 million dollars guaranteed up front. Peterson could not give him that sort of contract given the huge risks that the petulant receiver poses.

There are others out there that possibly could help the Chiefs. Cornerback Ahmed Plummer's still around, but he's been injury prone, and there are questions about whether or not he can go a full season. Defensive tackles Sam Adams and Brentson Buckner are still available, but age is a factor. This year's free agency class has been fraught with questions at just about every position of need for the Chiefs. The Chiefs are being wise not to throw big money around at just anyone.

All I can say is, "Be patient, Chiefs fans." The Chiefs will make some moves to improve this but it likely will be some value guys or one or more of the above guys at a value price. Even so, probably the best hope for the Chiefs is to improve from within.

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