Where Will They Go?

With free agency on the minds of every Chiefs fan this morning, talk is centered around the possible roster additions in the coming weeks. But what about those that will leave Kansas City? Some familiar names could be looking for new stadiums to play in next season.

Generally the Chiefs don't rush into free agency. Instead, they choose to lurk in the woods and try and pick off some less expensive talent. Last season they waited until the end of free agency to sign Ty Law.

When Herm Edwards took over a year ago his goal was to add fresh, young talent. It was also his goal to purge the locker room, sending unproductive players to the scrap heap or another NFL roster.

Last year he added over 20 new faces, and this season that trend will continue.

But who will go? Let's take a look.

DE Eric Hicks - Probably one of the classiest guys in the locker room, and one of the most respected. A team leader. A self-made football player from Maryland, Hicks came out of nowhere as an undrafted free agent and turned himself into a solid player. He started his career working alongside the late Derrick Thomas, who taught him a few tricks along the way.

Over the last two years, as it is with any player in his 30's, the game caught up with Hicks. Last year he was replaced as the starter by rookie defensive end Tamba Hali. The Chiefs had hoped Hicks could play at a high level as a backup, but his pass rush skills have waned and his playing time was limited in 2006. He'll be cut either now or sometime in June.

If there was a reward for class, Hicks would win out amongst all others on KC's roster. Next to Trent Green, there isn't anyone more in-tune with his teammates.

However, that doesn't mean he's a good fit in Kansas City. He'll likely stay if he restructures his contract, but not if another team makes a run at him. He'd be a great backup for a contender like Indianapolis or a younger team looking for veteran leadership like the Houston Texans.

LB Kawika Mitchell - At the onset of free agency the Chiefs were unable to come up with an agreement to retain Mitchell. He's made great strides since Gunther Cunningham returned as defensive coordinator, but he's not a prototypical middle linebacker in KC's 4-3, Cover 2 defense. He's more suited for a 3-4 because his cover skills aren't up to par and he's not very effective in blitzing situations, but he's good against the run.

For the Chiefs the real issue is money, and at this moment Mitchell's agent probably believes his client is worth big bucks. But if you look at virtually every single free agent ranking you probably won't find Mitchell in the Top 30.

Mitchell has tried to become a leader on this football team, but not everyone has bought into his leadership. As the defensive signal caller you must have respect from all of your teammates and you have to lead by example. Too often, Mitchell's defensive skills didn't match up.

Now he faces the potential of free agency and likely will visit the Detroit Lions and the Miami Dolphins in the early stages of his open market odyssey. It's probably safe to say at this point he won't be playing at Arrowhead next season.

KR Dante Hall - The ‘Human Joystick' hasn't seen the lights since his breakout season back in 2003. Since then, Hall has been living off potential, and that won't cut it anymore. His return skills have diminished to the point where teams have been able to force him into positions on the field where he can be neutralized.

But the other issue is the fact he's never really adjusted to the loss of key special teams performers. Gone are players like Gary Stills, Derrick Blaylock and Monty Beisel. The current crop of teammates who plow the road for Hall aren't as talented. But that's not the only reason he's failed in recent years.

He's become very predictable, and as a return man that means you've become human. He once was great, but before his career is over he'll find the end zone once again.

S Greg Wesley - Herm Edwards once told me he thought Greg Wesley could be an All-Pro safety someday, but time is running out. Wesley needs motivation, but I don't understand why. If I'm earning several million dollars a year to play in the NFL and my teammates are expecting my best every game, I give it.

Wesley suffers from the same disease that's plagued many an NFL player. He makes more excuses than plays on the field. Wesley is talented, but he's not the player he thinks he is and that's unfortunate.

If he stays on the roster, which is doubtful, he'll likely be pushed by young safeties Bernard Pollard and Jarrad Page. Page has secured a starting spot already based on his performance a year ago.

Wesley probably needs a change of scenery and I would think with the shortage of true secondary talent in free agency, he could end up with a team like the Giants.

DE Jimmy Wilkerson - Wilkerson is one of the unsung heroes of this defense, and really wants to stay in Kansas City. He's a perfect fit for KC's defense because he can play both inside and outside along the defensive line. He's not flashy, but when he's healthy he's a valuable body.

With a lackluster free agent class at the position, Wilkerson is one of those ‘B' guys who could earn a pretty decent paycheck in March. The Chiefs would be wise to sign him and continue to develop his skills. He reminds me of Vonnie Holliday, who had a stellar career in Green Bay and continued that path in Miami. In Kansas City he was a bust. Wilkerson is the type of player the Chiefs can't afford to let slip through the cracks, especially with Jared Allen's four-game suspension looming for the start of 2007. I predict he'll remain in Kansas City.

QB Trent Green - This topic has been beat to death over the last three days since the Chiefs re-signed Damon Huard to a three-year deal. Green's options are limited. Not many teams want an aging quarterback, and only two appear to be interested – both have ties to Green.

One of them is the Miami Dolphins, who have a new head coach in Cam Cameron and a new quarterbacks coach in Terry Shea. The latter was Green's coaching guru in Kansas City and the two are very close.

The other option for Green is in Washington, under former offensive coordinator Al Saunders. The Redskins are always in a state of flux, but they have real quarterback issues in front of them as Mark Brunell isn't the answer.


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