The Kansas City Chiefs are one of the “richest” teams in terms of available cap space. This means that with every free agent acquisition they are able to direct their draft targets to other areas. Every team must be careful in free agency and one only has to look to the Chiefs 2012 offseason to see a stark contrast between good and bad signings.
Eric Winston was signed to a four year $22 million deal and had a solid to great year. He should be regarded as an excellent acquisition. The Chiefs also signed Stanford Routt to a three-year, $19.6 million deal. He was cut halfway through the season and the team paid $5.8 million for his services while in Kansas City. Two signings with very different results highlight the volatility of free agent shopping. It can be great. It can be horrible. Sometimes, it can – as the Chiefs proved, be both in the same year.
With those dangers in mind, the Chiefs have the ability to wade into free agency this year to address some key areas. They currently have Jeff Allen, Jon Asamoah, Rich Ranglin and Donald Stephenson on the interior line. They also have Branden Albert, Steven Baker and Winston as tackles. They’re a solid group with some upside but you can never have too many quality offensive linemen and the Chiefs could use an upgrade.
The most important move the Chiefs need to make on the offensive line is to resign Branden Albert, but in addition to that, who should the Chiefs go after?
The most intriguing option may be Sebastian Vollmer. Some claim that he is one of the best in the league when healthy, but he has been injured for much of 2011 and 2012. That injury history suggests that his value may be low, but if he can stay healthy, could provide a significant return on the investment. Signing him as a backup would be an excellent and fairly inexpensive choice.
If the Chiefs want to make a splash in free agency, the Dolphins’ Jake Long or Broncos’ Ryan Clady, would be excellent choices. Of course, both would be very expensive options and likely too much for the team to swallow.
Some are calling for the Chiefs to take a tackle in the draft and many believe that Texas A&M OT Luke Joeckel, is the best available player on the board. Andy Reid and John Dorseyboth believe in taking the best available player, but what if that player is not an area of need? Assuming the Chiefs can resign Albert, Joeckel is not needed and I think it would be a mistake to take a tackle first overall. Instead of using a high draft pick, I’d opt for Vollmer or another free agent tackle to provide depth and insurance to our already solid offensive line.