Move #7 – A Big Sapp

Clearly I'm now flirting with disaster in my offseason predictions. Yesterday I made the case for the Chiefs to bring back 34-year-old linebacker Donnie Edwards and today I'm going to continue that trend by adding another aging star – defensive tackle Warren Sapp.

I know Herm Edwards has said the Chiefs need to continue to get younger. That purge will likely continue in the next couple of months. But you can never have enough great football players on your team.

At 34, many people thought Sapp was done, but this past season he contributed to Oakland's defense with 10 sacks and 47 tackles. He was one of the main cogs in the middle of the Raiders defensive line.

Now the question remains if he'll come to play for Kansas City next year. He's not a free agent. In 2004 he signed a seven-year, $36 million contract. But with the Raiders already pushing the cap limit going into the offseason, he's a likely candidate to get cut.

Back in December, during the Chiefs-Raiders Saturday night contest, Sapp was giddy chatting with Edwards on the sidelines. The two men have a lot of respect for each other. Edwards was on Tony Dungy's coaching staff in Tampa Bay and witnessed Sapp in his prime.

Now at the twilight of his career, Sapp has earned the right to end it on his terms. With a player like Jimmy Wilkerson on the rise, Sapp could be the perfect mentor for an up-and-coming defensive line.

Right now the Chiefs have a middle rotation of Ron Edwards, James Reed and the aforementioned Wilkerson. They'll probably look at the draft in either the first or second round to grab one of the top interior defensive lineman but they can hedge their bet with the addition of Sapp.

The problem for the Chiefs is both Edwards and Reed are unrestricted free agents. Both were added late in free agency and they did a solid job in 2006, but neither are very good at getting to the quarterback.

Sapp has the ability to both shut down the run and get into the backfield. That's something this defense must do better in 2007 if they want to take the next step.

We can talk all we want about the offense, but the defense has to be the focal point in free agency. The Chiefs can look to the draft to shore up the offense, with an abundance of talent at left tackle and wide receiver this year.

The Chiefs are getting younger on defense. Page and second-year man Bernard Pollard will both be starters next year at safety. The Chiefs probably need to add a linebacker as they push Kendrell Bell out the door. The corners are set with Patrick Surtain and Ty Law.

That leaves a defensive line that will likely have to overcome a four-game suspension of Jared Allen. That's where Sapp fits in. He's still playing at a high level and the Chiefs retain Reed and Edwards, Wilkerson can slide outside.

Herm Edwards will no doubt be pinning back the ear of Carl Peterson if the Raiders set Sapp free. The free agency market is limited in defensive tackles and the draft isn't very deep, either. The top rookies will be gone when the Chiefs pick.

Sapp is better than anyone the Chiefs currently have at the position, and the best part is that Sapp knows the defensive schemes. The Chiefs won't have to spend any time getting him acclimated to a new system, and that's huge when you factor in his age.

Tomorrow - Let's Get a Kick Top Stories