If you haven't been around long, then you probably don't know... I try to do one of these "offseason plans" at the end of each season. I usually do a mock free agency along with a mock draft based on the assumption that I get the guys I want in free agency.
A little about my philosophy: In free agency, I want younger talent. I'm looking for guys who are coming off their rookie contract or looking for their 3rd contract at the most... anyone older than 28 has to be a special talent with proven longevity, a good locker room presence, and willing to be a mentor.
In the draft, I use the first 2-4 rounds as an extension of free agency. Any holes I haven't plugged in free agency, I try to address in the first 3 rounds of the draft. After the 3rd round, I'm usually looking for the best player on the board... someone with raw ability who can be groomed to be a starter in the future.
So, let's get started.
The Chiefs have hired offense-minded Andy Reid as their new head coach. John Dorsey is their new General Manager and they've tagged Bob Sutton as their next DC. What we know from this group is that Reid likes an offense built around the pass and enjoys having mobile QBs. We know the Chiefs have a desperate need at the QB position and the #1 pick in the draft.
The scary hire was Bob Sutton. The Chiefs have spent a TON of resources building on the defensive side of the ball. Now, they've hired an offensive HC and a DC who didn't do too well as the DC for the Jets under Mangini. His schemes are bland, no blitzes, poorly designed, and never ranked higher than 16th overall. The Chiefs defense is a unit without a direction and being that Sutton has experience in the Tampa 2 4-3, the 2 gap 3-4, and now the 1 gap 3-4, he seems to be a Defensive Coordinator without a direction as well. This all leads me to believe there won't be too much attention given to the defensive side of the ball.
I COULD be wrong however because Andy Reid has a history of taking CBs and pass-rushing DEs in free agency and the draft. This could be a good thing considering Tyson Jackson is scheduled to make $14m in 2013 and is a prime target to be cut. The Chiefs also have a need at CB depth as well as at Safety. The Chiefs will also need at least one ILB and may also need to bring in another OLB depending on which defensive scheme they settle on. Glenn Dorsey is also scheduled to be an unrestricted free agent.
On the flip side, outside of the QB position, the Chiefs will also be looking at WRs with a decision needing to be made on Dwayne Bowe who's scheduled to be an UFA, evaluations needed on Breaston, Baldwin, McCluster, and the rest of the corp in order to effectively address the situation. There's also a decision that needs to be made in regards to Branden Albert who is scheduled to be an UFA as well. The offensive line has substantial depth, but letting Albert walk may require replacing him with a free agent or with the #1 overall pick. The loss of Ryan Lilja shouldn't do much to hurt the O-line, but the next man up needs to be backed up. The offensive line has always been a priority for Andy Reid and this year should be no different.
So, let's dive into the free agent pool. Top priority: QB
Not too many options here. With the Chiefs perhaps bringing in Sporano as the O-line coach, one has to wonder if Matt Moore gets a chance to come in and compete. Assuming Flacco doesn't hit the free agent market after taking his team to the AFC Championship (so far), the FA talent pool is MUCH shallower than the extremely shallow QB draft class.
Offensive Line: The Sporano connection rears its head again. The Chiefs have concerns about Branden Albert's back and what they can expect from him on a long-term deal. Ryan Clady will be the biggest name scheduled to be an UFA, but there's no way Manning allows one of the best pass protectors in the game to walk. The next big name on the list of UFAs is none other than former top pick by the Dolphins, Jake Long. Long also has injury concerns but may be enticed to come play in KC. Andy Levitre is the top OG scheduled to hit the free agent market. Contract talks have gone nowhere in the past between he and the Bills and may get the chance to hit the open market.
WRs: Greg Jennings, Dwayne Bowe, and Mike Wallace headline the WR crop this season. With the new offense being pass-heavy, I just don't see Reid allowing Bowe to walk. Bowe will be extended and Dorsey will reel in Greg Jennings. With Baldwin and Breaston filling out #3 and #4, the Chiefs will boast one of the best WR corps in the league and will provide the new QB plenty of weapons with which to destroy his opponent.
TEs: Jared Cook is one of, if not THE most athletic TEs in the league. He has almost ZERO interest in returning to Tennessee and with the new offense centered around the pass in KC, Cook could see this team as a very big opportunity for him to finally break out.
DL: The Chiefs DL will take a hit this year. Jackson will probably not be here. There's a good chance Dorsey won't have much interest in returning. The defensive side of the ball is going to be the hardest for us to fill out considering that I don't think the Chiefs staff has any idea what defense they want to run yet. I'm going to go out on a limb (where I'm sure I'll be all by myself) and say the Chiefs are going to run a 1-gap 3-4. I realize this is a defense Reid has never run. However, I think this is the defense that the Chiefs are currently best-suited for with Sutton seeing the success Ryan had with it in NY. If the Chiefs run this defense, they have Hali and Houston at DE and Poe inside with DJ at LB. That means they need 3 LBs to fill out the defense. So, there isn't too much need along the DL except for random depth which could be filled by the guys currently on the roster, with late picks in the draft, or free agents after the draft. This defense is the same ran in New York with the Giants AND Jets. Osi Umenyiora is a top pass rushing DE that may hit the FA market. He is 6'3 255 and runs a 4.7 40. Hali is 6'3 270 with a 4.7 40 and Houston is 6'3 258 with a 4.6 40. These guys can handle the position.
LBs: Anthony Spencer, Phillip Wheeler, Shaun Phillips, and Manny Lawson are the top names on the LB FA market. The Cowboys franchised Spencer last season and Phillips is 31. If they can get one of these guys, I think they'll be in good shape.
CBs: Chris Houston, Aqib Talib, Leodis McKelvin, Sean Smith, and Dominique Rogers-Cromartie are the top names of the CB FA class. Chris Houston would be my first choice. Talib will probably go back to NE after they win the Super Bowl. I could see this staff going after Rogers-Cromartie from Philly or maybe Sam Shields from Green Bay even though he'll be a RFA.
S: The Chiefs need a safety who's reliable to put next to Berry in the defensive backfield. Top names on the market are Jairus Byrd, Dashon Goldson, Kenny Phillips, William Moore, Pat Chung, and Loius Delmas. Reid isn't known for spending assets on safeties, so I wouldn't expect much from him at this position. Byrd would be a nice addition, but he'll cost a pretty penny.
So, here's what I'd do:
Release Tyson Jackson
Let Dorsey Walk
Let Albert Walk
Free Agent Signings:
QB- Matt Moore
WR- Gregg Jennings
TE- Jared Cook
OG- Andy Levitre
LB- Phillip Wheeler
CB- Dominique Rogers-Cromartie
Swap 4th rounders with Seattle for QB Matt Flynn
Seattle's 4th rounder to Baltimore for QB Tyrod Taylor
LT Luke Joekel Texas A&M
The Chiefs replace Branden Albert with a less expensive upgrade in Luke Joekel. They get better value with this pick than if they had decided to take a QB #1 overall. Joekel fits into a line that boasts Jon Asamoah, Rodney Hudson, Andy Levitre, and Eric Winston with depth provided by in Stephenson and Allen.
ILB Alec Ogletree Georgia
Ogletree would look GREAT next to DJ inside. Ogletree is a DJ clone. Great sideline to sideline defender with elite speed. He may not be available here, but if he gets passed the Bengals, I think he'll slide. This pick helps with the LB overhaul done by the organization because of their shift from the 2-gap to a 1-gap 3-4.
3a. OLB Alex Okafor Texas
The Chiefs need one more LB for their overhaul and the OLB out of Texas was the lone bright spot on an underwhelming defense. If Okafor is still available in the 3rd, he could be a a steal for the Chiefs.
3b. (compensation for Carr) WR/QB Denard Robinson Michigan
There are worse things to draft late in the 3rd than a play-making athlete who has played the QB position. No one thought Russell Wilson could win the job at QB either.
4th Round *Traded
DB Tyrann Mathieu
Off the field issues should not scare anyone away from top 5 talent in the 5th round. We need another play-maker in the secondary and you couldn't ask for a better one than the "Honey Badger" in the 5th round. (**may be worth a higher pick as we get closer to the draft)
QB Logan Thomas Virginia Tech
I know... off the radar, right? Check this out: 6'6 240lb. Bigger than Big Ben, Joe Flacco, and Cam Newton. Newton runs a 4.58, Thomas a 4.67, and Ben a 4.78. Make no mistake, he's definitely a project. Ranked 108 in comp% and 8th in turnovers with a longer than you'd like throwing motion. He'll probably sit for a year or two to refine his craft before he truly competes to be the starter, but if he puts the pieces together, his talent could make him a star. There are worse ways to spend a 6th round pick.
A.J. Klein ILB Iowa State
More LB depth for the Chiefs' switch in defensive scheme.
The QB situation heading into OTAs:
(in alphabetical order)
Denard Robinson (Probably WR)
Logan Thomas (Probably project)
Matt Cassel (Probably cut)
Jennings, Bowe, Baldwin, Breaston, McCluster, Hemingway, Newsome, Wylie, *Robinson
RBs: Charles, Draughn, Gray, McCluster
O-Line: Joekel, Asamoah, Hudson, Levitre, Winston, Cook, Moeaki
D-Line: Hali, Poe, Houston, Powe, Pitoitua, Bailey
LBs: Johnson, Ogletree, Wheeler, Okafor
CBs: Flowers, Rogers-Cromartie, Arenas
S: Berry, Matheiu
I know it's probably not "big splash" approach to the QB position all of us want, but there's just no clear-cut answer for the Chiefs at #1 overall. There are injury questions about Albert and a VERY good LT option worth the #1 overall pick. Allowing Albert to walk clears up more space to sign some key free agents. If the Chiefs are able to turn a 4th round pick into two QBs who can come compete for the position, I think that's great value for that pick. Tyrod Taylor is a younger Mike Vick. If a mobile QB is what Reid wants, I think the better option is to go get a Tyrod Taylor or Pat White with a later round draft pick trade than wasting the first pick on Geno Smith. I think there's at LEAST an average, short-term solution in that group of QBs that could afford the Chiefs a different opportunity to fill the position long-term in the future.
Think about this for a second: Mike Vick, Tyrod Taylor, Geno Smith, Pat White, Josh Freeman, Jason Campbell, Logan Thomas, E.J. Manual, and Donovan McNabb could all be available to the Chiefs by way of draft, trade, or free agent signing this winter. All of them possess similar attributes. Think about what each of those QBs may cost compared to what they'd bring to the Chiefs and honestly assess which QB presents the greatest value. I'm sorry, but I look at that group of QBs and I just don't see one name that separates himself from the rest of the pack. So why would Geno Smith be worth the #1 overall pick when you could have any of the other guys for MUCH less.
So, there it is... rip it to shreds like y'all do every year.