The Kansas City Chiefs are faced with a very tough cap situation this off-season. Without much spending money, the Chiefs lost five starters and two Pro-Bowlers to other teams on the first day of NFL free agency.
The Chiefs lost offensive linemen Geoff Schwartz, Jon Asamoah and Branden Albert, along with punt returner Dexter McCluster. Defensive end Tyson Jackson also took his talents to another team.
This was something that was bound to happen. The Chiefs have very little cap room. They could not afford the players that they lost because other teams needed those players more, therefore they could pay more.
General Manager John Dorsey and former General Manager Scott Pioli put a lot of money into key players on the Chiefs. When players like Geoff Schwartz outplay their contract, there is no money left to give. But these losses aren’t the end of the world for Kansas City.
There is a lot of time in free agency left, and the Chiefs have a lot of holes to fill. Obviously, they need another lineman. Schwartz and Asamoah both started for the team at the end of last season. Asamoah was the starter from day one. Jeff Allen’s poor play led to Schwartz taking over at the guard position.
If the Chiefs don’t find quality replacements for Asamoah and Schwartz, quarterback Alex Smith will be under pressure all season. But finding guards is where Andy Reid has historically excelled. If Reid continues his pattern of finding good linemen, the effects of losing three players could be minimal.
The loss of Jackson also leaves a gap in the defense. But the Chiefs can improve if they get the right player in place of Jackson. He is a run-stopping specialist, but only totaled four sacks in 2013. If the Chiefs find a defensive end that can rush the passer, that makes their defensive line much harder to matchup with – even if that player isn’t great against the run.
The loss of McCluster is one that many Chiefs fans are up in arms about. But McCluster is one-dimensional. He is not a good threat on offense, only in the return game. The Chiefs could replace him with a player that can do many more things, running back Darren Sproles.
Sproles has been the target of many rumors over the past few days, and most reports say that the New Orleans Saints will trade him. The former K-State Wildcat set the single-season NFL record for all-purpose yards in 2011. His effectiveness in the short passing game would be a great complement to running back Jamaal Charles.
The Chiefs endured a lot of losses on day one of free agency, but that doesn’t mean they will be a bad team in 2014. Dorsey and Reid have a lot of work ahead of them to find players that can produce for their team without breaking the bank. These players don’t have to be superstars; if they are the right guys, the Chiefs can remain competitive in the AFC West.