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 Gretz- Filling Roster Spots

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PostSubject: Gretz- Filling Roster Spots   Tue May 24, 2011 10:04 pm

Filling Roster Spots … Morning Cup O’Chiefs
May 24, 2011 - Bob Gretz | Comments (9)

When the NFL returns to business, among the first items on the league’s agenda will be the three forms of free agency – street free agents (SFA), unrestricted/restricted free agents (UFA/RFA) and college free agents (CFA).

Here’s a free agency primer:

SFA – They are known as street free agents because they are “on the street” out of work, with no affiliation after being released by one of the other NFL teams. Within the SFA’s are two categories – players without jobs because they were at the end of their careers and players without jobs because they are at the start of their careers. On last year’s roster Tim Castille, Leonard Pope, Ryan Lilja, Thomas Jones, Brian Waters, Shaun Smith, Wallace Gilberry and Andy Studebaker were just a few of the SFAs.
UFA/RFA – These are players who were employed, but their contracts have expired. The difference between unrestricted and restricted will depend on the rules worked out in the labor agreement. Previous rules had players with four years experience being unrestricted, three years were restricted. Last year without the salary cap, it was six years for unrestricted status. Last season, the Chiefs had four UFAs: WR Terrance Copper, NT Ron Edwards, LB Demorrio Williams and S Jon McGraw.
CFA – These are players coming out of the college ranks who were not selected in April’s NFL Draft. On the roster as CFAs were Mike Cox, Rudy Niswanger, Jovan Belcher, Cory Greenwood and Rick Price.

The Chiefs figure to be active in all three areas of free agency because they have holes to fill on their roster if this group is going to be improved over last year’s team. That is the only way the Chiefs will remain a contender – yearly improvement of the talent level and that must come from every available source.

What will the Chiefs look for among the various FAs? Here’s this man’s opinion of the holes on the roster that need to be filled to increase the competitive level on each side of the line of scrimmage. They are listed in order of importance to the team’s success in the coming season:

Offensive tackle

On the roster – Branden Albert, Bobby Greenwood.
Free Agents – Ryan O’Callaghan, Barry Richardson.

No matter how you slice or dice it, the Chiefs need tackles. Even if they signed back both O’Callaghan and Richardson, they would still need another body in the mix to help provide depth and competition at this spot. Blockers to come in and challenge starters Albert and Richardson will only make them better. Both had average to good performances last year, but given the fact both are going into their fourth seasons there should be a lot of room for growth. Even if the Chiefs should resign both O’Callaghan and Richardson, they need to add OT help. ACTION – the Chiefs should sign one tackle from all three groups, SFA, UFA and CFA.

Wide receiver

On the roster – Jonathan Baldwin, Dwayne Bowe, Chris Chambers, Quinten Lawrence, Verran Tucker, Jerheme Urban, Chandler Williams.
Free agents – Terrance Copper, Kevin Curtis.

It’s hard to see either Chambers or Lawrence sticking with this team for the 2011 season. Chambers inactive status for the game in the playoffs was evidence enough that his time with the team is over. Lawrence has never gotten anything going and has not had an effect on the offense or special teams in two seasons; it’s time for him to move on. Copper’s value has been as a special teams player, and that gives him an edge over everyone else in the picture save possibly Tucker. Bowe and Baldwin figure to be in the starters, with Urban and Tucker pushing for playing time. That leaves at least one spot open for a player from free agency. ACTION – the Chiefs should sign a UFA/RFA in the middle of the pack, a veteran with some experience catching the ball that can contribute on special teams. If they can’t make that happen, then they should re-sign Copper.

Defensive end

On the roster – Allen Bailey, Glenn Dorsey, Dion Gales, Tyson Jackson.
Free agents – Wallace Gilberry.

The Chiefs continue to wait for Jackson to reach his potential. They’ve waited two years and there has been minimal improvement and impact from the first-round pick. Gillberry has shown improvement in each of the last two years and it would seem a no-brainer for the Chiefs to re-sign him. ACTION – the Chiefs should go after a veteran defensive end type, a SFA or UFA who has played in the league before and has a track record. They got lucky last year when Shaun Smith had the best season of his career. Maybe they can get lucky again.

Nose tackle

On the roster – Jerrell Powe, Anthony Toribio.
Free agents – Ron Edwards, Shaun Smith.

Even if all four of those tackles return, the Chiefs could sure use help inside. Until the Chiefs get dominant play from the nose tackle position they will not have one of the league’s better 3-4 defenses. Edwards and Smith are average players at best. Powe is a bit of mystery given the fact he played just three years in the past six. Toribio didn’t get a chance to show much of his abilities last year. ACTION – if there’s one position where the Chiefs should seriously consider a UFA it’s on the nose.

Inside linebacker

On the roster – Jovan Belcher, Justin Cole, Cory Greenwood, Derrick Johnson, Micah Johnson, Demorrio Williams.
Free agents – Corey Mays.

There are a lot of inside backers on the lockout roster, including Cory Greenwood who was a free agent but re-signed with the Chiefs before the doors were locked by the league. Belcher has put together a remarkable story, undrafted out of Maine as a defensive end and moving into the starting lineup at linebacker in two years. The question must be asked is how high is his ceiling? Can Belcher improve? The level of performance – especially against the run – must get better to push the defense to a higher level. ACTION – The competitors to push the production level next to Derrick Johnson may come from bodies already on the roster, topped by Greenwood and including Micah Johnson and Justin Cole. The Chiefs should keep their eye on the SFA and CFA markets for outside influence on the position.

Cornerback

On the roster – Javier Arenas, Jackie Bates, Jalil Brown, Brandon Flowers.
Free agents – Brandon Carr, Travis Daniels, Maurice Leggett.

If it turns out to be a foursome of Carr, Flowers, Arenas and the rookie Brown, then the Chiefs will have a talented and young secondary in need of one more cornerback. Arenas served as the nickel back last season, but he’s much better sneaking up to the line of scrimmage on a blitz than he was in coverage on the slot man. A much bigger and physical Brown may take some of those snaps on the corner as well. A fifth corner is needed, one that would be an improvement on Daniels, Bates, or the injury-plagued Leggett. ACTION – UFA cornerbacks cost too much money, so the Chiefs should work the SFAs and CFAs groups to find a body to help.

Quarterback

On the roster – Matt Cassel, Tyler Palko, Ricky Stanzi.
Free agent – Brodie Croyle.

Where the Chiefs go at this position will be interesting to watch. There’s always the chance that Croyle will return, but that will likely be only if the team pursues him. What Haley sees in Palko is something that’s hard to figure, but the head coach really likes his potential. As a draft choice, Stanzi obviously will be on the roster. The question is whether the Chiefs go after a veteran backup, somebody who has actually started a game in the NFL. I doubt that person will be Croyle. ACTION – the Chiefs should sign a SFA or UFA that has some history as a starting NFL quarterback.

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PostSubject: Re: Gretz- Filling Roster Spots   Tue May 24, 2011 10:51 pm

I've been critical of Carr in the past, but the more I think about it, resigning him seems ritical to the Chiefs right now. His experience will be huge with a short offseason. I don't know why safety doesn't make the list here. Lewis should have more competition for a starting spot. Belcher some of that at inside linebacker as well.
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PostSubject: Re: Gretz- Filling Roster Spots   Tue May 24, 2011 11:02 pm

I'm real interested in Micah Johnson at ILB with DJ. May not happen this year.. but hes one of those guys I was real high on picking up late in the draft as a steal type player.. I was pretty surprised when we picked him up after another team cut him when he got hurt.

Another low key player I've always been interested in seeing is OG Harris. But we don't need him as much now with the younger interior guys we've picked up... he should still be a solid backup if we can keep him around. I wouldn't be surprised if we lose him just like we did with Lilja back in the day and its that same type of story.

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PostSubject: Re: Gretz- Filling Roster Spots   Wed May 25, 2011 2:12 am

Chiefs Find Free Agent Success In Released Players

By Josh Looney
Posted May 20, 2011

Chiefs have found recent free agent success by signing recently released players, not those coming off expiring contracts

Each NFL off-season has its fair share of free agency pipe dreams and outlandish trade ideas posted on message boards, phoned into radio shows and written about in blogs – that’s all still there, to some degree, muddled between labor updates.

Just last week, an ESPN story circulated about potential suitors for potential free agent-to-be T Matt Light. The Chiefs have thin numbers at offensive tackle and Light’s a Pro Bowler from the Patriots – a natural candidate to float as a free agent possibility for the Chiefs. The story is one of many.

Do a Google search for “Kansas City Chiefs 2011 Free Agent Targets” and you’ll get page after page of predictions, wish lists and the simple throwing of names to see what sticks.
When there isn’t much football news to report, potential landing spots for potential free agents will only continue; even if we don’t have a clue who will or will not become a free agent.

NFL.com’s Jason La Canfora speculates that 2011 could offer the worst crop of free agents in the modern-era system.

That prediction may very well be spot-on based off the “Unofficial List of Potential 2011 Free Agents” posted on NFL.com (Potential list #1 with 2010 rules in effect; Potential list #2 with four-year players open for bidding).

Notice the key word involving all things free agency? “Potential.”

Off-season speculating remains at all-time highs. It’s just coming in a different form during a very different off-season. The truth is, nobody knows exactly how this year’s list of free agents will be compiled – and even if 2010 rules are implemented tomorrow, we still won’t have an accurate list yet.

An accurate pool of free agents won’t be determined until teams are free to begin releasing players. For the Chiefs, it’s the route that the club’s top free agent acquisitions have come by over the past two off-seasons.

The Chiefs have been somewhat active participants in free agency under GM Scott Pioli, but most of the club’s key additions haven’t come to Kansas City on an expiring contract.
Excluding restricted free agent tenders, contract extensions and rookie free agent signings, Kansas City inked 16 free agents between March and July of 2009. Last year’s total saw nine free agent signings over that same time span.

Of those 25 players, the most productive of the bunch weren’t part of pre-free agency lists until teams began releasing players in the days and weeks before the start of free agency.

The Chiefs treasures have come from another team’s trash. Look no further than key contributors signed last off-season.

The Chiefs 2010 free agency class was topped by the signings of 16-game starter Casey Wiegmann , 15-game starter Ryan Lilja and 10-game starter Thomas Jones . Each was cut by their former team. None were heading into free agency off expiring contracts.
In fact, only one external signee made significant on-field contribution last season after joining the Chiefs from an expiring contract. That was Shaun Smith .

Jerheme Urban , of the Arizona Cardinals, was lost to injury before the season began, while Terrance Copper and Chris Chambers were both in Kansas City the previous year. Take a look at last year’s veteran free agent class.

Chiefs 2010 Free Agent Signings (March – July)
*UFA period began 3/6/10
RFA tenders, undrafted free agents and contract extensions excluded
MARCH 3RD – TYLER PALKO (signed before UFA period began; cut by Steelers 12/9/09)
MARCH 6TH – TERRANCE COPPER (expiring contract – re-signed by Chiefs)
MARCH 8TH – CHRIS CHAMBERS (expiring contract – re-signed by Chiefs)
MARCH 9TH – THOMAS JONES (cut by Jets 3/5/10)
MARCH 10TH – SHAUN SMITH (expiring contract – Bengals)
MARCH 11TH – JERHEME URBAN (expiring contract – Cardinals)
MARCH 12TH – CASEY WIEGMANN (cut by Broncos 2/23/10)
MARCH 16TH – RYAN LILJA (cut by Colts 3/8/10)
MAY 4TH – DAVID GRIMES (signed after tryout)

*Mike Vrabel signed a contract extension prior to the start of the UFA signing period
Go back to 2009, when the Chiefs brought in nearly double the amount of free agents, and the top on-field contributor was Mike Brown. Brown started all 16 games at strong safety and finished third on the team with 99 tackles and second on the team with three INTs.

Brown was cut by the Bears prior to the start of free agency.

Notable acquisitions that came to the Chiefs via expiring contracts that season were Corey Mays (CIN), Terrance Copper (BAL), Travis Daniels (CLE), Monty Beisel (ARZ), Bobby Engram (SEA), Mike Goff (SD), Sean Ryan (SF) and Zach Thomas (DAL).

A much larger list than 2010, but Mays was the only regular starter from start to finish.
At some point free agency is going to open and, whenever that time comes, the Chiefs will be ready to make additions. Thing is, the Chiefs top free agent producer probably isn’t even on the radar yet. He’s likely still under contract and waiting for walking papers.

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