Chiefs Rumblings: Berry in, Charles out, What’s Next for KC?
By Nick Athan
For those that ridicule me on Twitter, I did scoop this morning, the Kansas City Chiefs were close to getting a deal done with All Pro Safety, Eric Berry, that includes a whopping $40 million in guarantees. The signing allows Kansas City to begin the process of subtracting more cap dollars as they attempt to be a player in free agency. To do that, they made the choice to cut All World Running Back, Jamaal Charles who departs KC after nine successful seasons. So what’s next in the Chiefs Kingdom?
Eric Berry – Once Chairman, Clark Hunt emerged forcefully in the contract stalemate with All Pro Safety, Eric Berry, this deal came together rather quickly. Berry who has made roughly $80 million plus to date in a Chiefs uniform, received a six-year $40 million deal on Tuesday that includes a $20 million signing bonus.
By structuring the deal as they did, Kansas City has lowered the expected 2017 cap hit for Berry from a Franchise tag perspective of $11-12 million plus. We don’t know Berry’s contract numbers for 2017 or 2018, but it’s safe to assume, it’s very cap friendly.
As to the merits of the signing, I’m mixed on giving the man some $120 million, who is not a franchise quarterback. However, what Berry means to this organization, certainly has a price. If you counter the dollars spent over leadership, inspiration and heart of a champion, you can’t argue with Clark Hunt’s decision to insure he retires a Chief.
Laurent Duvernay-Tardiff – On Tuesday morning, the team announced the future Canadian medical doctor, won’t be practicing medicine for quite some time. In signing, LDT to a Pro Bowl type contract, Kansas City made a big gamble on an average offensive lineman.
Sure, he’s started the last two years for the Chiefs, but LDT is a good player. However, he’s not an elite offensive lineman. Still, General Manager, John Dorsey gave him a five-year extension worth $41.5 million, that includes $21 million in guarantees.
We can discuss the merits of this signing all day long, but the proof of its value, will play out over the next couple of seasons. Personally, I think money should have been spent elsewhere.
Jamaal Charles – With the signing of Berry and LDT, the Chiefs needed to cut costs for the 2017 season. Even though both players will be cap friendly the next year or two, Charles became expendable today saving the Chiefs $6.5 in cap space come March.
I’m torn on the move because I felt that Charles deserved a better fate in Kansas City. Berry earned the opportunity to end his career in a Chiefs uniform. I’m told, there is a remote chance the two sides can get a one-year deal done in the future, but I’d have re-worked his contract after the season.
I firmly believe had Charles played against the Pittsburgh Steelers and New England Patriots, this team would not have been one and done in the post season.
Alex Smith – Despite the beating I took on Twitter, and Clark Hunt’s backing of incumbent Quarterback, Alex Smith, Kansas City has shopped him to the New York Jets, Jacksonville Jaguars and San Francisco 49ers. Personally, I think the Jets are the best fit for Smith, and that includes the Chiefs. From rumblings I’ve heard since Monday, the Jets might be willing to pony up a second-round pick (#39) for Smith. However, Kansas City wants a pair of second round picks; one now and the sequel in 2018.
Complicating matters to swing this unlikely deal, Smith’s camp wants a new contract, which makes sense. I firmly believe that only Head Coach, Andy Reid and Hunt, believe Smith can lead the Chiefs to a Super Bowl. Thus, I hate to break the bad news to a pair of men I respect, but it’s as likely as yours truly playing the lottery, and grabbing the winning ticket.
So, will this deal get done? It depends on the availability of Quarterback, Tony Romo (who will be released by the Dallas Cowboys per the Dallas Morning News), or maybe Drew Brees, could become available if the Saints make a push for Romo. The Chiefs already have back-up, Nick Foles under contract at $10.5 million for 2017, a number that will either disappear off the roster or get re-done by Dorsey, to become the starter this season.
I’m not high on Foles, but he can throw the rock down the field as well as any deep ball thrower in the game. Smith no longer fits the offensive personnel around him for the coming season in Kansas City. With speedster, Tyreek Hill and Tight End, Travis Kelce’s abilities to stretch the field, Smith is far too weak a passer to open KC’s aerial attack to scare off opponents.
Dontari Poe – At press time, the Chiefs were hoping to lock down Poe to a five-year deal that would include $28 million in guarantees. Still, re-signing Poe is still a big risk for the Chiefs. Though his back appeared to be a non-factor in 2017, he had one of his better seasons in Kansas City. Yet, I do believe the emergence of Defensive End, Chris Jones, was the primary reason, Poe was a solid contributor for the Chiefs this past year.
Forget he can run, pass or catch near the goal line, Poe is a valuable defender for KC’s defense. If Kansas City does not break the cap to sign him, he’s worth the risk. Should that deal not get done, he could receive the franchise tag for $13.5 million. In my view from the bleachers, that makes little sense. I’d rather have a 2018 third round pick as compensation, than giving Poe a one-year bag of riches.