Let Shopping Begin … Wednesday Cup O’Free Agency

John Carlson, Peyton Hillis, Michael Tolbert and Eric Winston will visit with Chiefs

Free agency began Tuesday afternoon in the NFL and it did not take long for the shopping list for the Chiefs to reveal itself.

Even as they were about to lose one of their best defensive players in CB Brandon Carr to a big-money contract in Dallas, the Chiefs focus seemed to be on the offensive side of the ball. Through the information fog the Pioli-led front office tries to throw up around what they do, it’s hard to keep it quiet in free agency when there are so many agents and players involved.

How many visits the Chiefs plan is unknown, but four leaked out and all of them are offensive players: Seattle TE John Carlson, Cleveland RB Peyton Hillis, San Diego RB Michael Tolbert and Houston RT Eric Winston.

Their interest in all four is not solitary – there are at least half-dozen teams that want to talk with all of them. Plus there’s little chance the Chiefs would sign both Hillis and Tolbert to join the backfield with Jamaal Charles.

All four fit areas of need for the Chiefs, specifically a second tight end to work with Tony Moeaki, a running back to take the load off Charles and a right tackle, who could come in and improve the level of play there from what Barry Richardson was able to do last season.

Whether the Chiefs can get all four of these guys in the front door for discussion and contract negotiations remains to be seen. As we’ve seen in the Chase for Peyton Manning, there’s a very big difference between wanting to talk with somebody and having them agree to the conversation.

There will certainly be more names that will pop up on the radar screen and there’s probably a better chance the Chiefs will be successful signing players in the second wave.

Here’s a little bit about the four guys they hope to talk with first:

TE JOHN CARLSON – he will be 28 years old in May and Carlson has played three seasons in the NFL. He missed the 2011 season because of a torn labrum in one of his shoulders that required surgery and forced him on to the injured-reserve list for the season. He’s 6-5, 251 pounds, is a native of St. Cloud, Minnesota, attended Notre Dame and was a 2nd-round choice of the Seahawks in the 2008 NFL Draft. In the three seasons that he contributed to the Seattle offense, he caught 137 passes for 1,519 yards and 13 touchdowns. His most productive season was his rookie year (2008) when he caught 55 passes for 627 yards.

RB PEYTON HILLIS – He turned 26 years old back in January and Hillis will be moving into his fifth season. A native of Arkansas, he attended Conway High School and the University of Arkansas. In four seasons, he’s appeared in 52 games, carrying the ball 512 times for 2,161 yards and 20 TDs. At 6-2, 250 pounds, he’s a power back, yet he maintains good speed and can run away from people. A 7th-round choice of the Broncos in the 2008 NFL Draft, he was traded to Cleveland in 2010.

RB MICHAEL TOLBERT – He will turn 27 years old in November and this will be his fifth NFL season. He was undrafted in 2008 and signed with the Chargers as an undrafted running back out of Coastal Carolina. A native of Georgia, he attended Douglas County High School before heading off to Coastal. In the last five seasons with San Diego, the 5-9, 250-pound Tolbert has played in 59 games while rushing for 1,410 yards on 341 carries and 20 TDs and he’s caught 109 passes for 1,012 yards and 6 TDs.

RT ERIC WINSTON – The big blocker turns 29 in November and is going into his seventh NFL season. A Texas native, Winston played at Robert E Lee High School in Midland, and then went off to college at the University of Miami. Started his college career as a tight end, but was moved by the Hurricanes coaching staff to tackle before his sophomore season. He was selected in the third round of the 2006 NFL Draft by the Texans. At 6-7, 317 pounds, he’s played in 94 games for the Texans with 88 starts. Winston was released on Monday when he failed the Texans physical due to an ankle injury. He underwent surgery back in January and is not fully healed.


CB Brandon Carr has major interest for major dollars from Dallas and San Francisco. He was with the Cowboys on Tuesday evening in Dallas. There’s a deal coming his way that will work out to somewhere between $8 and $10 per season . . . QB Kyle Orton is also scheduled to visit with the Cowboys this week in Dallas.

Both QB Tyler Palko and S Reshard Langford would have been Exclusive Rights Free agents as they are officially just two-year veterans. But the Chiefs did not make either Palko or Langford a contract tender offer and so they are now unrestricted free agents, able to negotiate with any team in the league.


2 Responses to “Let Shopping Begin … Wednesday Cup O’Free Agency”

  • March 14, 2012  - ChuckXX says:

    For some reason I think Pioli will wait a week or so and then all the truly great players will be gone. He will then “swoop in” and pick up some scraps on the worn out warriors that are leftover. Guys like Gregg, Jones, etc etc. That seems to be his style. I remember last year thats exactly what he did. If Iam wrong then why does Tolbert (my first choice) or Bush, or Soliai not even have a visit scheduled???

  • March 14, 2012  - R W says:

    If the Chief’s front office bad reputation is known around the league as I think it IS, then only the lower tier guys looking for a big payday will give KC a looksee. Let’s see then, we have Carlson in demand. Forget him.
    Winston? No way.
    Hillis is a head case of sorts so there might be a shot with him, i.e., tainted goods. Tolbert? Others want him so he won’t be a Chief.

    It’s sad to come down to this but the franchise only has themselves and the Jr.Hunt/Pioli piss-in-the-well combo to blame.

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