Chiefs Need To Spend This Offseason

With free agency around the corner, the Kansas City Chiefs are in solid position to spend money. After this year, they'll only have a few long term contracts on the books, and some of those players may not even be on the roster this season.

The Chiefs are a hot commodity in the rumor mill these days. There are reports that some players are being targeted by other teams. For more on that, check out last week's article.

But as of this writing, the Chiefs only have six players tied to long-term contracts. Guard Brian Waters, the 2009 NFL Man of the Year, is signed on until 2011. He's owed $2.9 million this year and $3.9 million next season. There are already rumblings he could be traded before April's draft. He wanted to be traded a year ago and is coming off one of his worst seasons in his career.

Demorrio Williams is under contract through the 2012 season with salaries of $1 million this season and $1.5 million in each of the next two years. Though he led the Chiefs in tackles a year ago, he's not a lock to play out his contract with the Chiefs.

Last year's top pick, defensive end Tyson Jackson, is set to make just $1.075 million this year. The bulk of his money owed is due from 2011 through 2014. In the final year of his deal he'll earn roughly $3.9 million.

Defensive end Glenn Dorsey, who has the eye of the Detroit Lions this offseason, is about to hit the big bucks. He has four years left on a contract that will pay him over $14 million, including $3.233 million this season.

Punter Dustin Colquitt will earn $3.5 million over the next three seasons including $1.8 million in 2012. Considering he's been the offensive MVP the last two years, the Chiefs are getting their money's worth for his services.

Tackle Branden Albert is signed on through the 2012 season, but most of his money came via his signing bonus. For a starting offensive lineman, he's set to earn the relatively small sum of $2.5 million.

Quarterback Matt Cassel has the largest contract on the books and is set to earn a whopping $11.75 million this year. The Chiefs signed him to a long-term contract last summer that will keep him in Kansas City through the 2012 season. After this year, if he remains on the roster, he'll earn a whopping $26.5 million.

The rest of KC's roster consists of contracts that expire this year or deliver the NFL minimum, based on rookie contracts or free agent signings in 2011 and beyond. That means the Chiefs have plenty of cash to spend.

With an uncapped year the Chiefs can completely clean their books by dumping any of the above contracts and spending their money wisely going forward. With just a few impact free agents set to hit the open market - like Carolina Panthers defensive end Julius Peppers and Arizona Cardinals linebacker Karlos Dansby - the Chiefs have no excuses not to spend money.

The talk in NFL circles is that Chiefs Chairman of the Board Clark Hunt does not want to spend. He had it in his power to make sure the Chiefs re-signed defensive end Jared Allen a few years ago, but he didn't flex his muscles. He could have made a bigger play for defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth last year, although the Chiefs did put a $100 million contract offer on the table.

But this offseason, Hunt has opened up the pocket book. He's made offensive coordinator Charlie Weis and defensive coordinator Romeo Crennel, two of the highest paid, if not thehighest paid, assistant coaches in the NFL. So he's willing to add the cream of the crop to his football team. Remember, he also made general manager Scott Pioli the highest paid executive in the NFL.

So he's not opposed to spending money. But right now the Chiefs are in prime position to bolster their roster, so they must focus on signing the right free agents. This year's free-agent class is thin at areas of need for the Chiefs because the prime candidates who would have been set free under the old collective bargaining agreement will mostly remain with their current teams.

If the Chiefs don't find what they want in free agency, teams will be looking to move players in trade, such as the Arizona Cardinals with wide receiver Anquan Boldin and the Denver Broncos with receiver Brandon Marshall. Both players have already been named in trade rumors linked to Kansas City.

There's also some money to be spent on players already in Kansas City. Between Jamaal Charles, Derrick Johnson, Tamba Hali, Brandon Flowers, Dwayne Bowe, Chris Chambers and Jarrad Page, at least two or three long-term deals could be in the works. So over the next two weeks the Chiefs will have plenty of decisions to make.

While things are quiet in Kansas City right now, the financial flexibility the franchise has at the moment means this could be one of the most important offseasons in team history. With season ticket sales eroding below 45,000, the fan base is waiting to be impressed. To make that happen, the Chiefs are going to have spend some money.

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