With the 2006 season almost halfway over, it's clear that some of the changes the team made in acquiring free agents and adding productive players through the draft worked out well. Either route is a crapshoot but thus far it's worked out pretty good for the Chiefs.
Some of the players who are accountable for making the Chiefs a legitimate playoff team could find themselves on another roster next season, although the Chiefs have been one of the teams that have been able, for the most part, to keep the players they wanted to retain.
1. TE Tony Gonzalez (UFA) – After Sunday's big win over Seattle, Gonzalez indicated his frustration over the lack of an agreement with the Chiefs. Sound familiar? This is nothing new for these two parties, so forget everything else you read because Gonzalez wants to retire in a Chiefs uniform, and Carl Peterson wants the same thing.
Prediction - Gonzalez will retire as a Chief.
2. LB Kawika Mitchell (UFA) - No other defensive player made a jump like Mitchell did from 2004 to 2005. As the starter at middle linebacker, Mitchell has been steady, but how steady? Good enough to earn a new contract from the Chiefs? That question remains unanswered, but the team doesn't have a solid backup. Boomer Grigsby currently has that job, but that might be due to the fact Rich Scanlon has been hurt.
Prediction - Mitchell will get a new deal from the Chiefs.
3. DE Jared Allen (RFA) - This one will get interesting. The Chiefs know that Allen will likely be facing a four-game suspension to start 2007 for violating his diversion agreement after getting his second DUI in the last four months. But there is no denying that Allen is worth the risk. He's the best pure pass rusher this team has and has put up numbers similar to those of Derrick Thomas over the first three years of his career.
Prediction - Allen will get a long-term deal, but it will be back loaded.
4. DT James Reed (UFA) - This was one of those pickups late in the free agency period that went unnoticed. Looking for a team before the start of training camp, Edwards called on his former New York Jets player and offered him an opportunity in Kansas City. He's made the best of it and has solidified the middle of the defensive line. If he comes back next season, it might spell the end of the Ryan Sims era in Kansas City.
Prediction - Will get an offer to stay in Kansas City.
5. DT Ron Edwards (UFA) - Another no-nonsense pickup at the end of free agency. The former Buffalo Bills mainstay has found a new home in Kansas City. It's clear the Chiefs are going to look at adding a big time defensive tackle via free agency, but Edwards is a great guy to have on your team.
Prediction Like Reed, Chiefs will try to keep Edwards.
6. WR Samie Parker (UFA) - This might be one of the most difficult decisions the Chiefs have to make in the offseason. Clearly, Parker has talent, but he's not the most disciplined player on the team. He's been above average this season, but still drops easy passes. He needs to play like a veteran and avoid rookie mistakes.
Prediction Won't get a long-term offer from the Chiefs.
7. K Lawrence Tynes (RFA) - Tynes might be the toughest kicker in the NFL. He's hard as nails, has nerves of steel and might be in the same category as Jan Stenerud and Nick Lowery. He's a keeper, and the Chiefs should sign him to a long-term deal as fast as possible.
Prediction Tynes will sign a long-term deal with the Chiefs.
8. LT Jordan Black (UFA) - Black has done an admirable job trying to play in the shadow of Willie Roaf so far. He's been chastised by the local media and been called out by his head coach to step up. To his credit, he's been a man about it and given everything he has on the field. Is it enough? That remains to be seen, especially if the Chiefs feel Will Svitek can make another step forward.
Prediction Chiefs might offer him a one-year tender.
9. CB Benny Sapp (RFA) - We really can't look at Sapp's true value because he's been injured for most of the season. He's clearly KC's best blitzing cornerback, but his coverage skills need work. The Chiefs are going to look at adding some depth at cornerback in the offseason and his roster spot could be in jeopardy if the Chiefs try to retain Lenny Walls.
10. DE Jimmy Wilkerson (UFA) - He might be the most underrated defensive player on this team. He does everything well and is finally playing the position he should have been playing all along. In my opinion, Eric Hicks won't be back in 2007. If Allen is suspended the first four games next year, Wilkerson has to return.
Prediction Wilkerson will get a new deal from the Chiefs.
11. CB Lenny Walls (UFA) - He only signed a one-year deal in the spring of 2006, and though he's been burned some playing on the outside, corners are a valuable commodity. He needs to improve his bump and run skills. With Ty Law and Patrick Surtain aging by the year, Walls might be a risk worth taking.
Prediction Walls will get an offer from KC.
12. RT Kevin Sampson (RFA) - He has the size and footwork to be a productive starter at offensive tackle in this league. Like Black, he's been average to this point in the season, but the Chiefs have a lot of time invested in Sampson and the jury is out on his potential.
Prediction Chiefs sign him to a one-year deal.
13. QB Damon Huard (UFA) - Before the season began this was a no-brainer, but Huard has shown his value to this team is immeasurable. He's guided the Chiefs back into contention for the AFC West crown and given them a legitimate shot at the playoffs. Because of that success, teams will be lining up for Huard, but he's a great fit in Kansas City and there seems to be a mutual interest to keep the marriage intact.
Prediction Look for the Chiefs to offer him a three-year deal.
KC's Baker's Dozen
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