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The Fast And Furious

Posted Jul 19, 2011

When the league year begins, Kansas City's roster will barely be half-full

If the start of NFL Training Camps is indeed around the corner, the Chiefs have a load of work to do in a short amount of time.

The transactions will be fast and furious in a lightning round format we’ve never experienced before. Five months of roster moves will be condensed into an extreme acceleration of the league calendar. Signings, releases, and trades. Nothing will be left out in a wild ride that all 32 NFL teams will experience simultaneously.

 By my count, the Chiefs currently have 47 players under contract for 2011. That leaves a minimum of 43 moves to make if training camp rosters expand to 90 players. Of course, it will take much more than 43 transactions to bring the roster to full capacity in time for camp’s first workout.

1)      17 In-House UFAs Hit The Market

It’s anticipated that the Chiefs will have 17 unrestricted free agents hit the market. Actually, the list now sits at 15 with the retirement of Mike Vrabel and Mark Simoneau. We’ll also leave Tamba Hali off the list as he’s been designated as Kansas City’s franchise player for 2011.

Those 15 players include: Charlie Anderson, Jackie Battle, Tim Castille, Terrance Copper, Brodie Croyle, Kevin Curtis, Travis Daniels, Rod Edwards, Jon McGraw, Corey Mays, Rudy Niswanger, Ryan O’Callaghan, Leonard Pope, Shaun Smith and Casey Wiegmann.

The Chiefs will retain some of the above UFA’s, but certainly not all of them.

Last year, the Chiefs prepared for seven players to hit unrestricted free agency and were able to re-sign three. Re-signed UFAs included Chris Chambers, Terrance Copper and Vrabel (who technically agreed to contract extension prior to the start of free agency).

Kansas City lost to unrestricted free agents to other teams in 2010 – Sean Ryan and Wade Smith. After losing Smith, the Chiefs received a compensatory pick in the 2011 draft which was used on Jerrell Powe.

2)      7 RFAs Await Tenders

You can bet that decisions regarding each of Kansas City’s seven restricted free agents have already been made. What remains is the execution.

As long as old rules apply, restricted free agents will be considered players who have three years experience. Less than three years experience would make players with expiring contracts exclusive rights free agents.

Those eight players include: Brandon Carr, Brad Cottam, Mike Cox, Wallace Gilberry, Reshard Langford (exclusive rights), Maurice Leggett and Barry Richardson.

Though reports surfaced back in February that Carr, Cox, Gilberry, Langford and Richardson all received tender offers, the Chiefs have made nothing official. Once each team announces its RFA tenders, the market will open for other club’s to offer RFAs who’ve to sign new contracts.

Last year, the Chiefs offered tenders to eight of nine players eligible for restricted free agency and retained rights to all of them. Of the eight players who received tenders, six appeared in games for the Chiefs last season.

Andy Alleman, the lone RFA to not receive a tender offer, signed with Indianapolis once free agency began.

3)      9 Draft Picks Need Contracts

We can count on 10% of the Chiefs training camp roster being occupied by this year’s draft class. Decisions here are easy. Expect a 100% signing percentage. The real question is whether or not it’s possible to have all draft choices under contract by the time training camp begins.

There will be a lot of things going on at once. Where does signing the draft class fall in the pecking order?

Obviously, the Chiefs would like each of their nine picks under contract when camp begins, but is that a realistic expectation?

At least the Chiefs aren’t in the business of negotiating with a top-five pick for a fourth-straight year.

4)      Finding Undrafted Talent (approximately 15 players)

This year’s crop of undrafted rookies is likely to increase along with the size of training camp rosters. Those final few camp bodies are almost certain to come from this group.

The Chiefs brought 12 college free agents to training camp last year with three eventually making the Opening Day 53-man roster. Expect Kansas City to sign somewhere in the ballpark of 15 rookie free agents prior to the start of camp.

5)      The Rest…

If the Chiefs execute all potential moves the above steps – re-sign its 14 non-retired UFAs, bring back each of its eight RFAs, sign all nine draft picks in time for camp and ink exactly 15 undrafted rookies – the roster would sit three players heavy with 93 under contract.

If only things were that easy.

In addition to the moves previously outlined, the Chiefs still need to restructure or release veteran players, offer to external UFA’s who hit the market, discuss a long-term contract extension with Hali and possibly even make trades. There could also be injury designations and/or settlements on the horizon as well.

Just how heavy is the total workload ahead? The Chiefs announced a total of 64 personnel moves between February 1st and the beginning of training camp last season.

Get ready for the fast and furious.

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