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Insider Blog: Far From Done

Posted Apr 27, 2010

The Chiefs reported ties to veteran John Henderson put Scott Pioli's words into action

The room had already begun to clear on Saturday afternoon before Chiefs general manager Scott Pioli once again shifted the attention to the front table. Pioli and head coach Todd Haley’s press conference had just concluded, but Pioli wanted to remind everyone in the room of something that he had forgotten to mention while the Q&A session was in progress.

“I just want to remind everyone that this process is not over,” Pioli said.

He then offered everyone in the room a friendly reminder that the Chiefs wouldn’t open training camp for another three months, and that he planned to continue to search for talent up to and through that date.

Judging by the news that popped up on Monday, it sure didn’t take Pioli long to jump back into the free agency market. Kansas City hasn’t signed an external free agent since G Ryan Lilja inked a contract on March 16th, but Monday’s report that Pro Bowl DT John Henderson will be making a visit to Arrowhead points as proof to Pioli’s claim that the Chiefs are far from done collecting players.

Multiple reports have Henderson scheduled to visit Kansas City on Wednesday.

A former Pro Bowler, Henderson was a top-10 pick of the Jaguars in 2002 and has never played for another team. At 6’7, 330, he is built to play the 3-4 nose position, but manning a five-technique at an end position wouldn’t be out of the question either. If he were to sign and play end, speculation would immediately return its focus on the possibility of Glenn Dorsey moving inside.

Having played in 14 or more games during each of his eight professional seasons Henderson is a durable performer, but he became expendable when the Jaguars used their top two draft selections on DTs Tyson Alualau and D'Anthony Smith. His background is that of a 4-3 defensive tackle, but the Jaguars showed a handful of 3-4 fronts last season with Henderson at the nose.

Earlier this off-season the Chiefs signed free agent Shaun Smith to compete for a position in the nose tackle rotation with 2009 starter Ron Edwards and a bundle of younger players. Kansas City hasn’t signed any defensive ends this off-season and no position on the defensive line was addressed in this past weekend’s draft outside the signing of rookie free agent Garrett Brown.

Acquiring veteran talent at positions of need is nothing new for the Chiefs, although it’s easy to forget that a new pool of free agents typically comes available following the draft. The same can be said for the period of time that follows the final cut-down date at the conclusion of training camps this summer as well.

A year ago, the Chiefs finished the season in Denver with 14 players who weren’t even on the roster for the season opener at Baltimore. The Chiefs were active in free agency both before and after the draft a season ago and this year shouldn’t be any different when it comes to acquiring depth and filling needs. Kansas City’s front office indicated that they were happy with the progress made over draft weekend, but they also acknowledged that it isn’t possible to fix all the depth issues of a four-win team over a three-day period.

Outside of Henderson, a number of other veterans have come on the market in recent days and are gaining immediate attention across the league. Former Patriots LB Adalius Thomas, Buccaneers DT Chris Hovan and N.Y. Jets G Alan Faneca are other notable veterans who have recently become free agents, but the Chiefs only have ties to Henderson at the moment.

Another phase of free agency has opened and once again, the Chiefs appear to be active participants.

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