Chiefs interested in big names?

The Chiefs have found their way to Indianapolis and will observe over 300 NFL rookie candidates this week, but that's not the entire story. Agents for prospective free agents will garner support and trade what-if scenarios with general managers this week as they lay the groundwork for deals that could conclude early in March. How do the Chiefs fit in?

Rumors surrounding high-profile players such as Chad Johnson and DeAngelo Hall have already circulated, but after a plethora of players got slapped with franchise tags or signed long-term contracts this week, the Chiefs will have to carefully calculate their next moves.

Let's break down what we know and what we can speculate on where certain big-name players are concerned a week before the start of 2008 free agency.

DE Jared Allen - Chiefs Chairman of the Board Clark Hunt informed Warpaint Illustrated last January that one of his top priorities would be re-signing his star defensive end this offseason. Tuesday the team placed the franchise tag on Allen, guaranteeing him a one-year deal worth just shy of $9 million.

Allen's tag is not exclusive, however, meaning the Chiefs can match any offer another team might propose. In the event the Chiefs don't match, they'll receive a pair of first round draft picks – one in 2008, one in 2009.

Allen has made it clear he's not going to sign a long-term contract if he's forced to play a single down as KC's franchise player. That means the Chiefs have until July 15 to hammer out a long-term deal. But there is good news on that front.

Chiefs executive vice president Denny Thum recently made contact with Allen's agent, Ken Harris. It appears president Carl Peterson will likely take a back seat to these negotiations after failing to get a deal done a year ago.

The bad news for Chiefs fans is that three teams are willing to talk to Harris about Allen. Warpaint Illustrated has learned the New England Patriots, San Francisco 49ers and Philadelphia Eagles might be willing to pay the price in dollars and draft picks to acquire the defensive end.

Regardless who signs him, we're told Allen won't likely accept a deal cheaper than the one Colts defensive end Dwight Freeney signed a year ago – a six-year deal worth $72 million, with $30 million guaranteed.

CB DeAngelo Hall - As we reported in early January, the Atlanta Falcons are prepared to spend the offseason in talks to trade away their troubled, but talented young cornerback. The Chiefs were one of a handful of teams that inquired about Hall prior to last October's trade deadline. At the time the price was too steep - Atlanta wanted a first round pick. Now we're hearing that if the price is right, the Chiefs may be willing to talk.

But according to our source, the fact Hall has alienated his teammates in Atlanta, upset management and continues to act like someone who enjoys the game off the field over the one on the field, means he isn't a great fit in Kansas City.

WR Chad Johnson - Cincy's malcontent wide receiver is on the block despite denials from Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis. The Chiefs have a marginal interest in Johnson. Based on the fact Lewis and Herm Edwards come from the Tony Dungy coaching tree, I suspect the two will speak this week in Indianapolis about the receiver.

The Chiefs are not the only team interested in Johnson's services. The Miami Dolphins, Oakland Raiders and the New England Patriots have also expressed a desire. According to our source, the Chiefs have had brief discussions with the Bengals, but no terms have been set by either team.

Warpaint Illustrated was told that the Chiefs are prepared to deal with Johnson's off-the-field issues. They believe based on his age and the fact the center of his frustration is his head coach, he can turn it around in another city.

Wherever Johnson ends up, don't expect any deal to get done before June 1. If Cincinnati trades Johnson before that date they'll take a cap hit of $8.2 million.

G Alan Faneca - Earlier this week we were tipped off that the Chiefs might make a run at Pittsburgh's All-Pro guard. However, he does not fit the profile of player Herm Edwards wants on his team – young and ascending. It's hard to picture Faneca ending up in Kansas City for that reason alone.

Other free agent guards - The Chiefs will look for another guard in free agency, but the pickings are slim. One name that could be on KC's radar is Indy's Jake Scott. It's unlikely the Colts, who signed guard Ryan Lilja, tight end Dallas Clark and Safety Bob Saunders to mega deals, have enough room to sign Scott. At the moment the Colts are $300,000 over the cap.

Another possible candidate for the Chiefs could be Cleveland Browns guard Nat Dorsey. He started for the Browns last year after spending time in Minnesota and playing in college at Georgia Tech under new Chiefs offensive coordinator Chan Gailey.

OT Max Starks - With tackles Jordan Gross (Panthers), Travelle Wharton (Panthers), and Stacey Andrews (Bengals) all off the market, the only viable offensive tackle target for the Chiefs could come from Pittsburgh. Wednesday the Steelers put the transition tag on Starks, but we understand his price won't be steep, especially since he lost his starting job last season.

Tomorrow we'll look at some of the other defensive names that might be on KC's radar.

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