Chiefs Brass Willing to Stand Pat
By Nick Athan
I’ve been vehemently criticized by those that say I’m negative about the Kansas City Chiefs off-season and their chances to succeed in 2017 with a roster largely the same as last year’s 12-4 team. My case in point continues to be the off-season standard set by the New England Patriots, but I’m done talking about it, because too many people are drinking the red Kool-Aid in denial. So, what’s ahead for Kansas City as free agency winds down?
With two free agent signings this week, Defensive Tackle Bennie Logan and Safety, Marqueston Huff. Both add value to a Chiefs defense that is in still need of some upgrades but these moves make sense.
Bennie Logan – He basically replaces free agent defector, Dontari Poe, who signed a one-year offer from the Super Bowl runner ups, the Atlanta Falcons. Logan is a high-energy defender that fits perfectly with KC’s 3-4 defensive set up. In losing Poe, the Chiefs signed Logan to a one-year (let’s wait on big money and see if you fit long term) contract with Kansas City. It’s a move I certainly applaud. Though it’s risky offering a one year deal but Kansas City has depth at the defensive line position, so I can see the aversion to offering more than a $6 million deal plus incentives.
Marqueston Huff – He’s not done a whole lot in his NFL career making one start between his stints with Baltimore Ravens and Tennessee Titans. In signing Huff, the Chiefs have virtually no financial risk investing in Huff. He’s a solid back-up that can probably contribute on special teams. Huff will provide needed depth behind the Safety trio of Eric Berry, Daniel Sorensen and Ron Parker. KC was deficient in some of their nickel packages when opposing offenses ran sets with four and five receivers. Huff’s experience could be important in dealing with the AFC West pass happy teams, the Oakland Raiders and San Diego Chargers.
Additional Free Agent Moves – I can’t see Kansas City doing much in that regard. Sure, there are some solid names, especially on defense, that could help this franchise in 2017. However, after signing Logan and Huff, as well as restructuring the contracts of Linebacker, Derrick Johnson and Fullback, Anthony Sherman, the Chiefs have roughly $4.8 million in cap space. Of those available funds, Kansas needs $3 million plus to sign their allotment of draft picks in April.
Again, there are high end players such as CB, Malcolm Butler (RFA), CB Terrance Newman, CB Brandon Flowers, LB Zach Brown, and WR Taylor Gabriel, I just can’t see the Chiefs signing anyone else. Now if they restructure more contracts, or cut a few overpaid veterans, then perhaps they could make a splash or two. However, I think their focus is on the NFL Draft for Kansas City.
Draft Thoughts – If rumblings are correct, Kansas City Chiefs Head Coach, Andy Reid has dedicated a lot of time in studying the NFL readiness of Clemson Quarterback, Deshaun Watson. Though, I think it’s a smoke screen, he’s probably the best college quarterback/NFL head coach match of any of the signal callers available in April’s draft.
For the record, I’m all in for moving up to get Watson. Further, I’d go as far to state, that starting him in 2017 makes sense as well. Yes, the NFL experts state, the Chiefs are close? Not sure to what they might be closer to at this stage, but if they are not, Watson could use a year of NFL experience under his belt, before expectations reach critical mass for his talents under center in 2018 and beyond.
The Chiefs organization has never committed to a young quarterback from the start. They have attempted to draft them, but have failed, when using them as practice fodder or waiting years for them to develop waiting on the veteran in front of them to fail.
To me, Watson is special. Sure, his mechanics need to be ironed out, especially his footwork. Yes, he throws into double/triple coverage at times but he’s a pure winner. What he accomplished a year ago was nothing short of legendary for the Clemson football program.
A year ago, the Chiefs thought they had Memphis Quarterback, Paxton Lynch in their sites, until the Denver Broncos moved ahead of Kansas City to select him. The Chiefs won’t be able to wait for Watson to fall to #27 in round one. Reid, if he truly wants Watson to be his quarterback, he must insure General Manager, John Dorsey pulls the trigger to move in the teens to get Watson. Otherwise, Kansas City will likely use their first pick on a stud running back or inside linebacker.
There’s still more than a month before the NFL draft, and I’m sure rumors will suggest, Kansas City could take about anyone, or trade out of the first round like they did a year ago. Either way, in my view, it’s now or never in the Chiefs quest to take a young dynamic quarterback they can raise from a Baby to Super Bowl winning Champion.