Chiefs On The Move In The Offseason
Matching the Jacksonville Jaguars for the NFL’s worst record and “earning” the top pick in this year’s draft will bring about a lot of overturn for a team. The Kansas City Chiefs started the offseason by hiring the most experienced and successful coach available in Andy Reid. John Dorsey was brought in from Green Bay as the new general manager, and both men bring their visions for success to the Chiefs.
It's hard to argue with changing just about anything about a 2-14 team. This, however, was not any 2-14 club. The Chiefs sent six players to the Pro Bowl in 2012. There is a lot of talent on this roster, so let’s look at some of the possible payoffs and possible setbacks to the roster since the new regime was brought in.
Signing Dwayne Bowe
The Chiefs signed Dwayne Bowe to a five-year, $56 million contract, with $26 million guaranteed. He'll be paid like a top five wide receiver, even though many will point out he hasn't performed like a top five talent. Bowe has struggled on a Chiefs offense that had been plagued by Matt Cassel's inefficiency for years. The contract may be hefty, but Bowe is a clear-cut No. 1 receiver who would have gotten a similar contract on the open market. The Chiefs finally used their ample cap space to keep a star player at a thin position.
Signing cornerback Sean Smith
The loss of Brandon Carr via free agency to the Dallas Cowboys caused a revolving door opposite of left cornerback Brandon Flowers in 2012. Sean Smith, who signed a three-year deal with the Chiefs ($18 million, $11 million guaranteed) is a talented cornerback, who has had his ups and downs, but he has flashed the ability to be mentioned with the best corners in the league. At 6-3 and 218 pounds, Smith brings much-needed size to Kansas City.
Signing Mike DeVito
The Chiefs were abominable on the defensive line last year, especially after Glenn Dorsey and Tyson Jackson started playing excellent run defense and were recognized for it, and then took massive steps backward. In DeVito, a former New York Jet, the Chiefs may have overpaid a two-down player at $12.6 million over three years. But Kansas City knows what it’s getting in DeVito, a pure run stopper, and it's a small price to pay for one of the Chiefs’ biggest needs.
The Question Marks
Signing Anthony Fasano
At face value, I have no problem with the Chiefs signing Fasano. He's been a solid pass catcher and inline blocker for the Miami Dolphins for years. Solid production generally doesn't garner four years and $16 million for a tight end, especially with Tony Moeaki already on Kansas City’s roster and Travis Kelce getting drafted. Fasano brings reliability to the position, which Moeaki and Kelce cannot provide, but the acquisition of the former Dallas Cowboy could be viewed as a overpaying for a veteran with seemingly little upside. If Fasano is a solid starter, his contract will be fine, but if Moeaki returns to his rookie form, and Kelce makes the most of his ability, then Fasano will likely represent dead cap space in a year.
Signing Dustin Colquitt
Colquitt has been one of the best punters in the league for years now. He may have been the Chiefs’ best player last year. But paying your punter $18.75 million ($8.9 million guaranteed) over five years is something that is unheard of. It's the largest contract, in average dollars per year, for a punter in NFL history. For Colquitt to prove he is worth this contract, he is going to have to be something closer to Ray Guy instead of simply being one of best punters in the league.
Chiefs trade Javier Arenas for a fullback
Which fullback you ask? Does it even matter? Javier Arenas played 724 snaps as the slot cornerback for the Chiefs in 2012, but was traded away this offseason for Anthony Sherman, someone the Arizona Cardinals drafted in the fifth round two years ago. Before Nate Eachus and last year’s starter Patrick DiMarco were cut, the Chiefs had five fullbacks on their roster (not including one on their practice squad). Javier was never the fantastic return man and slot corner the Chiefs envisioned he would be, but at the very least, he was solid, earning a slightly above average overall grade from profootballfocus.com. Surely the Chiefs could have called the Detroit Lions and gotten at least a fifth-round draft pick. There are plenty of cornerback-needy teams in the NFL, but giving up an average cornerback for a fullback who will likely not make the roster seems egregious.
Signing Donnie Avery
The Chiefs signed Avery to a three-year $8.55 million contract. It’s not a large sum, but Avery has done little to show he can consistently be a No. 2 or even No. 3 receiver. Avery was ranked 100th out of 105 wide receivers in profootballfocus.com’s rankings. According to rotoworld.com, Avery had 12 drops last year, and managed to catch only 53.6% of his targets, another mark that ranks near the bottom of the league. Avery has sub 4.4 wheels, yet managed just 13.0 yards per reception, which is near the average for all NFL wide receivers. He has also battled numerous injuries in his career, and missed all of OTAs with a high ankle sprain.
Most of the Chiefs' offseason moves solidified problem areas for the past several years. Bringing in a reliable starting quarterback in Alex Smith is the exact kind of solid addition that epitomizes the Chiefs’ offseason. Since their disastrous 2012 season, the Chiefs have shelled out more than $50 million in guaranteed money, something that could turn into a cap nightmare if even one or two of their free agent acquisitions come up short. On the whole though, the Chiefs did what they needed to do to move in a positive direction.