Drum Beats: Chiefs Restricted Free Agents

Before discussing who the Chiefs will be looking to bring in this year, it's prudent to take a look who they are going to keep and let go. The Chiefs have six restricted free agents and nine unrestricted free agents that decisions need to be made on. We'll be taking a look at both groups over the next couple of days, starting with the RFAs first.

The restricted free agency point in a player's career is the first evaluation of the draft class he entered with. So far the high man of the Class of 2004 has been Jared Allen, clearly head and shoulders above the rest of the guys, despite having been drafted in the fourth round.

Two players from that class are already gone – defensive tackle Junior Siavii and wide receiver Jeris McIntyre. Linebacker Keyaron Fox and tight end Kris Wilson signed long-term deals, so they'll avoid the RFA process.

That leaves Samie Parker and Kevin Sampson as the drafted guys and Benny Sapp, Rich Scanlon and Lawrence Tynes as the undrafted free agents from 2004. Who stays?

DE Jared Allen

We all know where this one is going. Chiefs president Carl Peterson has already stated Allen is one of his top priorities this offseason. He'll be tendering Allen at the highest level, meaning if another team did manage to sign Allen away from the Chiefs, they'd be shelling out a first and third-round pick in compensation.

Even with the high level tender, another team could decide that Allen's worth it, but with a likely four-game suspension next season there would be a delay in reaping the rewards of the investment. When it's all said and done, Allen will still be a Chief next season, although he's probably cost himself some money with that suspension.

Prognosis: Allen will return, but the Chiefs have to find a way to make up for his production during a possible suspension. Chances of return – 95 percent.

WR Samie Parker

The Chiefs are entering year four of the Samie Parker experiment, and there are questions surrounding whether or not he'll return. Parker definitely has the speed and athleticism to be successful in the NFL, and runs routes fairly well, but there are questions surrounding his hands, which for a receiver, naturally, isn't a good thing.

Parker should be a deep threat in this offense, but hasn't matured into the player the Chiefs envisioned when they drafted him. It's not all his fault - the Chiefs didn't pass protect very well this year. But 41 catches for 541 yards and a single touchdown may not be enough for the Chiefs from the number two receiver.

There are two other receivers waiting in the wings - Jeff Webb and Chris Hannon - and the Chiefs will likely bring another receiver in, so things will be tight for Parker. If he's going to stay around, he better show the Chiefs something.

Prognosis: Parker probably won't be tendered, but may be brought back in to compete for a roster spot. Chances of return – 45 percent

OT Kevin Sampson

Believe it or not, Sampson is an ascending player, albeit slowly. He entered the year as a starter at tackle, but never seemed to really hit a stride before his season was cut short by a back injury. If he returns in 2007, he can add some quality depth on the Chiefs' offensive line, but his starting prospects for next year are slim.

The Chiefs have Chris Terry, who they'd like to give a shot at realizing his potential after a rocky career, and brought in a promising project, Ramiro Pruneda. Sampson would probably be best suited as a candidate for offensive guard, but he could be decent reserve at tackle.

Prognosis: Sampson has an uphill battle ahead of him, but because of his ability to serve as a quality reserve, he'll probably be back, tendered at a low round level. Chances of return – 60 percent.

DB Benny Sapp

I absolutely love Benny Sapp. He took on a leadership role last year in the offseason, and has a brash, confident style that makes for a good defensive back. Having said that, there are some issues.

He's served as KC's nickel back for the past couple of years, and still is the Chiefs best blitzer in the secondary, but his lack of size has the Chiefs wary of putting him on the outside. Contrast that with the Chiefs' reluctance to put cornerback Lenny Walls on the inside, and you have two reserve defensive backs that are incomplete players.

Prognosis: Sapp will likely be back, maybe tendered at a low second-day level. Chances of return – 70 percent.

LB Rich Scanlon

Scanlon is a promising player that the Chiefs haven't been able to get a full account of yet. He tore up NFL Europe last year, but like many NFLE participants, wore down as the season dragged on.

Scanlon has been solid for the Chiefs on special teams and can serve as an above average reserve with the proper balance of work and rest this offseason. The Chiefs like him, he's got a fantastic attitude and can play several linebacker positions, but he'd probably be best in the middle.

Prognosis: It depends on what the Chiefs decide to do with their linebackers. There are rumors circulating they are interested in a couple of potential free agent linebackers, and Scanlon could end up on the outs. Chances of return – 50 percent.

K Lawrence Tynes

At times, Tynes looks like the Chiefs' answer at kicker. At other times, he looks ready to be run out of Kansas City on a rail. Tynes has a strong leg and can be accurate, but seems to break down at usually the worst possible moments. This year will be his last shot at the job.

Prognosis: The Chiefs will bring Tynes back, but there will likely be another guy right next to him competing for his job. Chances of return – 80 percent.

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