Kansas City Chiefs General Manager, Scott Pioli, deserves major props for adding the likes of Cornerback Stanford Routt, Right Tackle Eric Winston, Tight End, Kevin Boss, Running Back Peyton Hillis and Quarterback Brady Quinn. But it’s not enough. He needs to do more.
Call me greedy. But if the Kansas City Chiefs, who I maintain still has more overall talent than the Denver Broncos, don’t keep adding quality players to their roster - the AFC West race could be in doubt before it begins.
Hey it’s NOT all doom and gloom at Arrowhead. But by adding Peyton Manning, the Denver Broncos are going to be the talk of the division and the rest of the league. Sure the Chiefs should be in the mix, and I have no doubt the two teams will battle it for the AFC West crown, but now is not the time to take a punch and go back to your corner.
Instead the Chiefs need to come out punching this week and level the field of public opinion and media bias. That means Pioli can’t rest on the wonderful work he’s done to date in free agency. He has to set aside his work on the upcoming NFL draft for at least another week and find a few more bodies that can either step in as starters, or become solid back-ups right now.
Don’t get me wrong. If you want to reach Super Bowls, you do so by building the foundation of your team through the NFL Draft. But until that point arrives, free agency is the only path to bridge that gap. Thus far in 2012, Pioli has done just that.
But as the Manning news heats up and the Tim Tebow banter (thankfully) dies down, the Broncos have thrown the ball in the Chiefs court. This was a huge risk for John Elway and company; one that will either make him the 2012 NFL executive of the year or ride him out of town without bus fair back home.
If Pioli and the Chiefs fan base wants to see the latter, then he needs to add some quality defensive players to combat the Manning effect within the division. And when you consider the division also boasts the Chargers, Phillip Rivers, this is no time to stand pat.
So what can Pioli do?
As of this writing, our sources indicate the Chiefs have various levels of interest in Defensive Ends, Luis Castillo and Kamerion Wembley, plus nose tackle Aubrayo Franklin and had some in Safety LaRon Landry, before the All-Pro reportedly signed with the New York Jets on Monday.
If Pioli could land two of the remaining three, he’d go from Hero to Saint within the fan base. And that’s not a bad transition from a week ago, when fans were imploding calling for his scalp and laying claim - he wouldn't sign a single free agent.
But that’s not his motivation now. What’s at stake is much bigger. He was successful in New England because he had a strong working relationship with Bill Belichick. He has that now in Kansas City with Head Coach Romeo Crennel and Offensive Coordiantor, Brian Daboll.
That’s because he hand selected both men to run the players on the field. And now he needs to keep adding the parts they need, to not only win the division, but to make a run for greener pastures in January and February.
Let’s be honest. Everyone will be picking the Broncos, at a minimum, to win the West. And many will tout them, the overriding favorite to be AFC Champions. The Chiefs can’t allow that to happen with or without Manning.
By adding Castillo, Franklin or Wimbley, the Chiefs defense gets some able bodies that mix both experience and two of the three have familiarity within the division. And those items, can't be overlooked.
By adding these or any other veterans, Pioli can do something he’s always wanted to do in Kansas City - that’s wheel and deal in the NFL draft. If he’s filled enough holes via free agency, then when the Chiefs are on the clock with the 11th overall pick in April, he can parlay that into a jackpot of gold by having teams guessing what he's going to do with that pick.
If he stands pat, he can take the best player on the board, probably Stanford Guard David DeCastro, and plug him into a starters role in 2012. With the premier college guard in tow, Pioli can use the remainder of his picks to add future starters or garner more draft picks either this year or next.
Pioli has done what most fans thought he couldn’t do and that was attracting players who wanted to become members of the Kansas City Chiefs. And based on the coaching change last December and turbulent off-season fans have had to endure, I’d say Pioli has made most of them forget what’s transpired in the past. And right now, he really does have a flesh slate with the fans and the media.
Now he needs to take advantage of that position by being greedy. If he can find a few more salary cap bucks to land more veterans, he can shore up any perceived gap between the Broncos and the Chiefs.
If he's willing to come out swinging and do just that in the next several days, then Chiefs fans (everyone of them) might just jump on his bandwagon and ride it to an AFC Championship and possibly more.
Because, as I see it, the Chiefs are much closer to that - than becoming runner-ups to the Denver Broncos in 2012.
WARPAINT ILLUSTRATED MESSAGE BOARDS:
If the Chiefs don't spend even more, can they compete with Denver?
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