Warpaint Roundtable – Offseason Edition III

This week our crew discusses the new coach, Brodie Croyle, Matt Stafford and free-agent pass rushers.

Gut feeling, who do you think the coach for 2009 and beyond will be?

Nick Athan: My gut tells me Bill Cowher but everyone else in America says Todd Haley. It just makes too much sense for Cowher to end up as the new head coach. I don't see Scott Pioli hiring a rookie head coach - he and Clark Hunt both favor a veteran head coach. Both have been consulting with Marty Schottenheimer, who has been speaking with Cowher about going back to Kansas City. All of that indicates to me a strong possibility that Cowher could be facing the media Tuesday or Wednesday afternoon.

Sunday night, KSHB TV 41 will have an exclusive interview with Hunt. He'll tell Jack Harry that the key ingredient for Pioli in choosing a head coach is a strong personal relationship and that there has never been a time when so many veteran coaches were available. All signs point to Kansas City hiring one.

Michael Ash: I don't have a gut feeling. I have no idea what Scott Pioli has up his sleeve. If I had to guess – and a guess is all it is – I'd say Bill Cowher. But I wouldn't completely write off Mike Shanahan, if only because there was too much smoke around that story for there not to be a fire somewhere.

Honestly, though, it may be someone who we've never even thought of. Nobody was talking up Tony Sparano before Bill Parcells hired him in Miami. Thomas Dimitroff, one of Pioli's protégés in New England, went to Atlanta and hired the nearly-anonymous Mike Smith from Jacksonville. Neither were "big name" coaching hires, but they certainly got the job done.

C.E. Wendler: At one time it seemed almost impossible to me that Mike Shanahan would not be Kansas City's next coach. When ESPN's Chris Mortensen broke the news that the Chiefs were targeting Shanahan last week, it seemed like verification of all the news we had been hearing at WPI for weeks. But all of that has cooled off, with no signs of resuscitation.

From a logical standpoint, given the above and the fact that the news around Haley is weak at best, you'd have to agree with Nick on Cowher. Here's my little conspiracy theory on that – next to nothing has leaked about the Chiefs being interested in Cowher. That sounds like classic Scott Pioli. However, based on their NFL careers, I don't see their paths crossing. Where did a relationship form?

Will Brodie Croyle be a Chief next season? Will he ever work again in the NFL?

Nick Athan: Not likely. He lost his biggest supporter in quarterbacks coach Dick Curl, who took the same position with the St. Louis Rams earlier this week, and that suggests that Croyle will be let go sometime in June. He's injury prone and does not have the body to be a starting quarterback.

Will Brodie Croyle return in 2009?
Al Bello - Getty

Now if you give him a rock solid offensive line and he gains about 10 to 15 pounds of muscle, maybe he can come back. But at this point he is more in line to serve as a backup the remainder of his NFL career. The only way he comes back to the Chiefs is if they don't land a rookie quarterback in the draft or trade for Matt Cassel.

Michael Ash: It probably depends on what the Chiefs do with the quarterback spot in the offseason. I could see Damon Huard staying around – he's a serviceable backup and spent a few years in New England, so Pioli's familiar with him. If another quarterback is drafted or signed, Croyle might be the odd man out.

C.E. Wendler: There's no reason for the Chiefs to keep Croyle around in any capacity. He's terribly injury prone. What good is a backup quarterback who runs the risk of shortly leaving any game he enters? It might be best for both parties to just cut ties as soon as possible. However, based on his talent alone, some other NFL team might take a look at Croyle.

If Stafford is there at #3, do we pass on him? If he's gone, should Crabtree be the pick?

Nick Athan: Crabtree makes sense because you need two strong starting wide receivers to score points in the NFL. Dwayne Bowe's double-digit drops can't be ignored, and he has a long ways to go before he's a complete wide receiver. The Chiefs would be wise to hedge their bets and draft Crabtree with the third overall pick.

With Stafford, the issue boils down to the price it'll cost to draft and sign him. Last year Matt Ryan received a contract worth $72 million from Atlanta as the third overall pick. Assuming Stafford is available with the third pick, Kansas City would have to give him a contract worth roughly $77 million. That's far too steep a price. I'd rather see the Chiefs trade out of the three hole, grab a couple of extra picks in rounds two and three, and then parlay one of those picks into a late-first rounder, which would then be spent on Ball State quarterback Nate Davis.

Michael Ash: I doubt the Chiefs would pass on Stafford, but it all depends on how the new front office rates him. As for Crabtree, a pick that like might depend on who the new head coach is. If it was Todd Haley, for example, maybe he'd see the opportunity to have two top receivers in Crabtree and Bowe like he had in Arizona with Fitzgerald and Boldin. But if it's a defensive coach, maybe he leans towards someone like Aaron Curry, the linebacker from Wake Forest.

C.E. Wendler: How can the Chiefs pass on any quarterback with franchise potential at this point? Such a move would leave a lot of fans and media, and probably people around the NFL, scratching their heads. And spending money on a rookie quarterback should be a non-issue.

As for Crabtree, no. If you ask me the Chiefs have plenty of possession targets in their offense already (Tony Gonzalez, Dwayne Bowe). They severely need a deep threat at wide receiver.

With the Chiefs $30 million under the cap, don't Julius Peppers and Terrell Suggs have to be at the top of their wish list?

Nick: Julius Peppers has tarnished his NFL reputation because he takes plays off, and in my opinion just doesn't show the passion to be a dominating defensive player. The Chiefs should steer clear of Peppers.

But I feel exactly the opposite in regards to Terrell Suggs. He could be the best pass rusher to hit free agency in a long time, and the Ravens are going to be hard pressed to keep him along with fellow linebackers Bart Scott and Ray Lewis. Suggs was given the franchise tag a year ago and there are reports that his agent was told the Ravens would not do it again. However, Suggs' former defensive coordinator Rex Ryan left to become the head coach of the New York Jets, so you'd have to think they'd be the favorite to land him.

Will the Chiefs go after Suggs?
Matt Stroshane - Getty

Michael Ash: Ideally, but there are extenuating circumstances with each player. With Suggs, it's looking rather unlikely that he'll leave Baltimore. He's made it clear he doesn't want to go anywhere else, and he's even endorsed the idea of giving the Ravens a "hometown discount" so they can afford to keep him, Ray Lewis, and Bart Scott. Anytime you hear a player say he's willing to take less money to stay where he is, the chances of him going anywhere are remote.

Peppers would be a tremendous upgrade at defensive end, but wants to play for a team running a 3-4 defense. If the Chiefs did switch to that scheme, it probably won't happen right away, meaning Peppers would be north of 30 by the time the Chiefs made the switch. Knowing that, he may not be interested in coming here to wait around. Considering the money he's likely to command, there's an obvious risk in paying him to change positions, especially considering he's much larger than 3-4 outside linebackers typically are.

C.E. Wendler: There are no elite pass rushers coming out in the draft. There are no elite pass rushers waiting to blossom on the Chiefs' roster. Considering how terrible KC's pass rush was a year ago, can they really ignore free agency? It would be an absolute travesty if the Chiefs were last in the league in sacks two years in a row.

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