By Todd Leabo
March is the time of year when many folks around here have dreams of cutting down the nets at the Final Four or having the eternal hope of Spring Training that something might actually work out for the boys in blue. But there are ton of diehards that spend this time of year scouring the internet for transactions and rumors of America’s bell-weather sport… the NFL.
A few weeks ago, Chiefs fans had visions of Peyton Manning dancing in their heads. KC had piles of cash and cap space, a new coaching staff and a young, seemingly talented roster to offer. But Peyton wouldn’t so much as allow the Chiefs a courtesy visit. Cest la vie. He’s off to the Broncos, where the AFC West will have even more reasons to hate him.
As for the Chiefs, they’ve quietly had a nice offseason. They signed a key RT in Eric Winston. That position has been a weakness ever since John Tait left for the Bears before the 2004 season. Winston should greatly improve the line and free up the Chiefs to draft elsewhere this April. The question mark is that he underwent an ankle procedure and needs time to heal.
While the Chiefs didn’t get Manning, they did sign Brady Quinn away from the Broncos. This is still Matt Cassel’s football team, but having Quinn improves the overall position. Last year, the team was stuck with Tyler Palko after Cassel got hurt. We don’t need to relive the horrible details of what it was like to have Tyler Palko take regular-season snaps for the Chiefs. Quinn has been a disappointment as a pro, but he’s familiar with KC’s staff and is excited to be here.
KC got a bargain price for RB Peyton Hillis. He’s had a 1,000-yard season and has shown promise to be a nice compliment to the speed and explosiveness of Jamaal Charles. He’s also driven to bounce back from a disappointing performance last year in Cleveland and wants to prove he can return to form.
They also added TE Kevin Boss, who ought to help the position in blocking and pass catching.
The one spot I wish they’d have done better is at cornerback. The club was unable to come to terms with either CB Brandon Carr or WR Dwayne Bowe. Getting a long-term deal with either player would’ve meant they could have used the franchise tag on the other. No deal was struck, so they chose to use the tag on Bowe and Carr became a free agent. He signed with Dallas and KC signed Stanford Routt who had been cut by the Raiders. They got Routt for a fraction of what Carr ended up getting from the Dallas Cowboys. If Routt performs well this will be great, if Carr continues to blossom, this could haunt fans for years to come.
The Chiefs still have cap space and claim to have the desire to still be active in free agency. Let’s hope they do and hope they draft well. While you’re at it, you’d better hope Matt Cassel takes a step forward and that all of their injured stars heal and return to form. There is a fresh feel at Arrowhead with Romeo Crennel at the helm and its only March… so there is hope.
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