Eleven of the Chiefs unrestricted free agents remain unsigned.
Of the 16 in-house players who entered the market with unrestricted free agent status on March 13th, Kansas City has re-signed only one: CB
“We talked to the agents shortly before the draft; some players said they wanted to wait until after the draft,” GM Scott Pioli said. “We'll sort through it, and they'll figure out where they want to be and we'll have a better idea of what we want to do.”
Let the sorting begin.
Pioli followed up his post-draft comments this week, indicating the Chiefs were still in the market for free agent help at safety and tight end.
Free agent visits by S O.J. Atogwe and TE Dallas Clark this week confirmed that outlook.
“We’d like to have another veteran tight end to add to the mix as long as it’s the right player with the right skill set,” Pioli told Sports Radio 810 WHB. “Safety is another position.”
The Chiefs already addressed tight end this offseason by signing
Pioli has been known to add respected veterans in the past, especially at positions with evolving players.
Thomas Jones joined the running back cast prior to the 2010 season and veteran LB Zach Thomas signed with the Chiefs before the 2009 campaign.
Clark was at team headquarters on Wednesday meeting with the Chiefs coaching staff. He also underwent a physical.
“I want to be clear that we’re excited about the progress we made this offseason and we feel that we’ve improved our football team, but we don’t think we’re there yet,” Pioli said. “We’re not sitting here in these offices thinking, ‘boy, we’ve got this figured out and we’ve arrived and are ready to go.’
“We are still a long way off. We’re talking about a football team that was 7-9 last year and we’ve got to get better.”
So, outside of Clark and Atogwe, who is still out there that can improve the Chiefs roster for 2012? The team currently has eight open roster spots to address post-draft needs.
Of Kansas City’s remaining in-house free agents, RB Jackie Battle, S Jon McGraw and DE Wallace Gilberry are probably the most notable unsigned players, but running back and defensive line were both addressed through the draft.
"We had talked to Wallace a number of times during the season about an extension,” Pioli said regarding Gilberry's free agent status. “We talked to him during the offseason and Wallace wasn't ready to make a move and wasn't ready to do anything. He wanted to see what the market was. We hadn't heard back from him and his people. I think both sides wanted to see what happened after the draft."
At safety, McGraw has been one of the Chiefs most consistent and active reserves for several seasons. However, injuries caught up with the 10-year pro last year and Kansas City was forced to start six different players at the safety positions.
“There are a ton of veterans still out there that could help at safety,” Adam Caplan of NFL Sirius Radio said this week on Chiefs LIVE! “I think Atogwe would be a really nice signing for one season, though he’s had a lot of injuries and he’s 30 years old.
“Chris Crocker (Browns/Falcons/Dolphins/Bengals) has had a lot of injuries, but he’s another smart football player. Jim Leonhard (Bills/Jets) could return punts too, but needs to pass his physical. Nick Collins (Packers) is also out there, but will need to pass a physical and is not ready yet.”
Adam Caplan’s Best Available Free Agents – Safety
Nick Collins | UFA: Packers | Age: 28
95 NFL starts, including five seasons which he started all 16 games. 21 career INTs. Three-time Pro Bowler. Suffered season-ending neck injury last season.
Chris Hope | UFA: Titans | Age: 31
109 NFL starts, including three consecutive 16-start seasons from 2008-10. 20 career INTs. One-time Pro Bowler. Medically cleared from a fractured forearm late last season.
O.J. Atogwe | FA: Redskins | Age: 30
83 NFL starts, including 16 games played (15 starts) in 2010 with St. Louis. 25 career INTs. NFL interception leader in 2007. Released by Washington on March 12th. Visited Chiefs this week.
Adam Caplan’s Best Available Free Agents – Tight End
Dallas Clark | FA: Colts | Age: 32
Super Bowl Champion. Two-time AFC Champion. 4,887 career receiving yards and 46 career TD receptions. 100-catch season in 2009. Pro Bowler. Released by Indianapolis on March 9th. Visited Chiefs this week.
Visanthe Shiancoe | UFA: Vikings | Age: 31
90 NFL starts. 2,677 career receiving yards and 27 career TD receptions. Red Zone target. Played in all 16 games last season.
Jeremy Shockey | UFA: Panthers | Age: 31
Super Bowl Champion. 6,143 career receiving yards and 37 career TD receptions. Former teammate of Kevin Boss with the N.Y. Giants. Appeared in 15 games (13 starts) last season, but has never played a full season.