As the Kansas City Chiefs enter the 2015 offseason, 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
Kansas City’s Impending Free Agents:
Justin Houston, Outside Linebacker:
Whatever it takes to resign Justin Houston to a long-term deal this offseason MUST be done to keep any semblance of Kansas City’s identity alive. If Houston plays 2015 out under the franchise tag I consider this offseason a bust. The former 2011 3rd round pick has worked to evolve every facet of his game, season-in and season-out, culminating with his 2014 campaign that saw #50 take down opposing QB’s 22 times. Those 22 sacks were good for most in the league, while also breaking Kansas City Chiefs’ late & great Derrick Thomas’ franchise season sack record of 20. Not only does Justin Houston find the QB often, he’s also one of the most formidable edge defenders in the running game. Houston has only seen roughly $2.8 million in salary in his career from Kansas City, majorly outplaying his standard 3rd round contract. Already going on record as setting his eyes on the league season sack record in the upcoming year, Houston will be chasing dreams and QB’s with much heavier pockets in 2015.
Rodney Hudson, Center:
Last season was a year that saw starting offensive linemen such as left-tackle Branden Albert, right-guard Jon Asamoah, and guard/right-tackle Geoff Schwartz depart from Kansas City (-also with starting left-guard Jeff Allen’s season ending in the preseason due to injury and starting-at-the-time right-tackle Donald Stephenson being suspended the first 4 games of the season due to PED’s). In a year filled with all of the listed-above chaos riddling the Chief’s offensive line, center Rodney Hudson was an absolute anchor up front for Kansas City. Hudson has come a very long way since his youth, a lifetime since he was a young man working nightff shifts at his local KFC in Mobile, Alabama to support his mother, all the while attending B.C. Rain High School and starting for the football team. Beyond his tenacious work ethic, Rodney Hudson also displayed his reliability, versatility, and athleticism in 2014 for the Chiefs. He made all of the offensive line calls, executed many pulls and traps very well, and effectively made key blocks in space and downfield consistently. Watch Kansas City’s game tape against Seattle and you will see precisely why Rodney Hudson is a valuable building-block for the future and very deserving of a long-term deal.
Jason Avant, Wide-receiver:
Jason Avant was a late pickup by Kansas City with 5 games remaining to play to replace A.J. Jenkins, whose season ended on IR. Avant had previously played 7 seasons under Andy Reid in Philadelphia, allowing a much shorter period of time for transition and learning the playbook. Avant only caught 13 receptions for 153 yards in his 5 games with the Chiefs in 2014, but showed off a veteran savvy presence that was much needed. Avant was also an above average blocker in those games, throwing a couple of key blocks. Despite being a free agent at age 31, I believe keeping Avant around for another season or two could pay major dividends for Kansas City at a skill position that will most likely see an offseason influx of inexperienced/unproven young talent. He would represent stability and would be able to help teach the new playbook to the newcomers, while remaining a sure-handed and reliable role player at a very manageable price.
Those are the three priorities for Chiefs GM John Dorsey to stay busy with over the coming months, with the Houston and Hudson deals holding the most importance.
Kansas City’s full list of player’s with expired contracts below:
Jason Avant, WR
Kurt Coleman, S
Thomas Gafford, LS
Richard Gordon, TE
Ryan Harris, OT
Justin Houston, LB
Rodney Hudson, C
Jeffrey Linkenbach, OL
Josh Mauga, LB
Mike McGlynn, OL
Joe McKnight, RB
Chris Owens, CB
Ron Parker, DB
Kevin Vickerson, DL