Tomorrow is one of the most newsworthy days in the NFL off-season; the opening of NFL free agency. Every year a new crop of players become free agents and find new homes among the 32 NFL teams around the league and every year, fans want their favorite team to spend money on a notable name that is available. But buyer beware, as these signings do not always pan out. The Kansas City Chiefs and General Manager John Dorsey generally take a conservative approach to free agency, so Chiefs fans, do not get your hopes up for a marquee signing when the Chiefs free agency period begins.
Expect a Conservative Kansas City Chiefs Free Agency
It seems that this year there is a litany of players that are available for Kansas City to sign. Tony Romo, Adrian Peterson, DeSean Jackson, Alshon Jeffery, Martellus Bennett, Brandon Williams and A.J. Bouye. All of these players are attractive names that will draw plenty of attention on the open market, but at the end of the day will not be a viable option for Kansas City. Of course there are fans who feel that Romo would be an upgrade at quarterback for the Chiefs, but it appears unlikely as an option at this point. Dorsey, head coach Andy Reid and owner Clark Hunt have all come out and said that Alex Smith will be the starting quarterback for the 2017 season.
According to overthecap.com, the Chiefs current cap space sits at around $2.1 million. In the world we live in, this would be equivalent to having enough money to buy a couple of things from the dollar menu at a fast food restaurant. In other words, the Chiefs cannot afford to pay any marquee names with the current money available to the club.
Kansas City can always make a couple of roster moves to free up some more space. The Chiefs are expected to release Nick Foles by the open of the league year tomorrow, which will free up $6.75 million, bringing the Chiefs to $8.3 million in cap space. Add a couple of potential contract restructures and Kansas City could easily find themselves with over $10 million in spending money. While this would give the Chiefs a few more options, this still limits their ability to make a splash in free agency.
Every year, John Dorsey focuses on a major need for the Chiefs. In 2015, Kansas City was short on talent at the wide receiver position and went out and grabbed Jeremy Maclin, one of the best players available on the open market. In the 2016 NFL season, everyone knew that one of the teams’ biggest weaknesses was the right tackle position. To remedy that, Dorsey signed one of the best right tackles in the game in Mitchell Schwartz. So, where does Kansas City need help this year that would match to potential free agents? Our Jarrett Middleton recently identified inside linebacker, guard, and wide receiver as three of the biggest needs for the Chiefs as they focus on the 2017 season. And it is possible that Kansas City can find the help they need in free agency.
At inside linebacker, Zach Brown is coming off a Pro Bowl year for the Buffalo Bills. Brown is just 27 years old and just finished his best season as a pro. Keep Brown’s name in mind tomorrow, as this is exactly the type of signing the Chiefs go for every year. At guard, the Chiefs appear set with starters Laurent Duvernay-Tardif and Parker Ehinger, but depth is needed here. The Chiefs could find a veteran presence to keep on the roster in the event of another injury, as Ehinger’s injury last year rocked the offensive line, particularly in the ground game. While Jeremy Maclin, Tyreek Hill and Chris Conley are the clear cut top wide receiver options on the roster, there is still a need for a reliable possession receiver on the outside. Players like Robert Woods, Anquan Boldin, and Vincent Jackson could potentially fill this role for the Chiefs on a low risk, potential high reward contract.