As the Kansas City Chiefs enter the 2015 off-season, they enter as a yardstick for the average to slightly above average. With the right timely moves Chief’s general manager John Dorsey could push this team beyond their previous underachieving ways and watch as a championship mentality begins to build upon itself to grow. With a bad contract or two plus a free agent miss/draft bust in the upper few rounds and the rails could come off, as mediocrity once more becomes the norm.
That being said, I have started the process of detailing the possibilities for the 2015 offseason and what moves I see as probable in KC’s future. This series will be broke into segments, which will all have links at the beginning to the other articles in the series. I’ll be covering, in this order, re-signings, potential cap casualties and other cuts, possible trades to look into, unrestricted free agents the Chiefs should consider, and it’ll all wrap up with a few prospects from the upcoming draft that could be wearing red and gold in 2015.
Kansas City’s Offseason Blueprint series:
Trades to look into
Free agency preview
Draft prospects to know
Cuts to ponder:
The day that I was editing this segment of the series it was released early that WR’s Donnie Avery and A.J. Jenkins were let go in Kansas City, the beginning of a much-needed overhaul at the position. It isn’t surprising to see either player sent walking after less than productive stays in the City of Fountains, especially at the reported $4.73 million cap figure opened up by the moves. If Justin Houston is, as expected, slapped with the franchise tag then John Dorsey will need every dollar to fit the $13.17 million figure Houston’s tag would command if tagged as a linebacker. The winds of change are a-blowin’ at One Arrowhead Drive, with every Chiefs fan longing for those winds to bring along a number one wideout.
QB Chase Daniel:
As much as it pains me to admit, Chase Daniel’s value does not lie with the Kansas City Chiefs in 2015 at his scheduled $4.8 million dollar cap hit. Daniel has twice stepped in on two separate Week 17 matchups against the San Diego Chargers to cap off the year. In those outings he has gone 1-1, tossing for 405 yards and a touchdown and interception each. Solid but unspectacular was Chase Daniel’s game, performing respectably but not well enough to convince me that Coach Andy Reid couldn’t plug and play someone like Aaron Murray with similar production. Kansas City should shop Daniel to Cleveland, Houston, Tennessee, St. Louis, or Buffalo-although teams would more likely wait K.C. out until he became a cap casualty.
DE Mike DeVito-
GM John Dorsey and DC Bob Sutton will have to really sit down this off-season and assess their feelings towards Mike DeVito, an above average two-down run stuffer. An Achilles heel injury ended DeVito’s 2014 season before it really began, putting his future in Kansas City up in the air. Dorsey has publicly supported both Mike DeVito and linebacker Derrick Johnson, both rehabilitating Achilles injuries in their 30’s, but that is standard regardless of their plans involving DeVito. His lack of versatility in the pass-rushing department might not allow the luxury of his return at his $5.4 million cap number in 2015. It would free around $4 million if this was the path K.C. decided to follow.
OLB Tamba Hali-
You all were just waiting for the big fish, right? The looming off-season topics regarding current player personnel are fueled by fan-debates over the futures of Tamba Hali and WR Dwayne Bowe. Hali has gone on record stating his desire to remain a Chief, something impossible without a contract restructure. With Alex Smith getting $paid$ last offseason and Justin Houston set to cash in, it will be interesting to watch Dorsey’s maneuvering here. 2014 first-round pick OLB Dee Ford wasn’t drafted to sit the bench, and at what time is his development being hindered by lack of snaps? In an ideal world Tamba Hali would return for another season at a discounted rate (and role, keep the veteran fresh for 3rd downs while Ford gets his ear’s wet) and his leadership isn’t lost. In a bottom line business like the NFL though, it is best to prepare for the worst and cross your fingers for that hometown discount. In a non-ideal world Hali is cut and Kansas City saves $9 million in ’15 with $3 million in dead money, as we all watch Tamba Hali in a different uniform.
Hali has even posted things indicating his willingness to do what is best for the team, such as the photo below taken from his Instagram account where he states “THE ONLY WAY TO FLY…..@kcchiefs FOR LIFE”
WR Dwayne Bowe-
Dwayne Bowe proved to be one of my biggest disappointments in both of his seasons in Andy Reid’s offense. In 2013 Bowe posted 57 receptions for 673 yards and 5 touchdowns in his first season in the new system, only to repeat his lackluster production in 2014 with 60 receptions for 754 yards and of course no touchdowns. ‘Cap-ologists’ have claimed that Bowe could possibly be jettisoned with no salary cap repercussions after he missed the season opener against Tennessee in ’14 due to a one-game suspension issued for a misdemeanor marijuana charge. If this is the case, Kansas City has all the leverage to ask Bowe to take a pay-cut to equal out the pay-production ratio. The $5-$7 million dollar range would be more appropriate for a wideout that is clearly not a number-one option. He is well-liked by Andy Reid and the Kansas City coaching staff, a good locker-room presence, and a great blocking WR as well, but if Dwayne Bowe won’t accept a restructure John Dorsey should wave goodbye with no lost sleep on his end. Between Free Agency and the upcoming loaded class of WRs in the ’15 Draft, Kansas City should have their pick of replacements. If Bowe’s rumored contract clauses dealing with his marijuana incident aren’t true it would free $11 million to cut Bowe if designated as a post-June 1 cut (Creating $6 million in dead money in 2016).