Offseason? What Offseason … Valentine’s Cup O’Chiefs

The Super Bowl isn’t even 10 days gone and it’s like the NFL offseason was the day or two after the game and has been forgotten. It’s full-speed ahead in pro football. The NFL is flying towards free agency, the annual league Combine and the NFL Draft. There’s a lot of ground to cover on a lot of different fronts:

  • Free agent CB Stanford Routt (right), late of the Raiders, is set to be in Kansas City on Tuesday meeting with the Chiefs.
  • The Chiefs are getting ready to announce the hiring of Jack Bicknell Jr. as their offensive line coach.
  • NFL financial data shows that the Chiefs will have an incredible $63 million in available cap space to spend for the 2012 season.
  • Some of that money will go to cover increases in the guaranteed money going to OLB Tamba Hali and bigger base salaries that has kicked in for Tyson Jackson and Glenn Dorsey and others.
  • Yes, I said $63 million in available cap space.
  • Randy Moss said he wants to come out of retirement.
  • Peyton Manning is still working at Duke University, getting back into shape for his new home, wherever that might be.

OK, before we start, here are some important dates to remember: February 15/Bonus pay day; February 20/NFL teams can use franchise-player designation; February 24/Coin flip at NFL Combine between Chiefs and Seahawks for No. 11 spot in first-round draft order; March 8/Peyton Manning due $28 million bonus from Colts; March 13/2012 league year begins-start of free agency.

Let’s start at the top.


Stanford Routt spent Monday in Buffalo where he said he enjoyed his time with the Bills.

“Today was a good day,” Routt told the Buffalo media. “I got a chance to see the city a little bit, see the staff, met a couple of those guys and I like the atmosphere around here.

“I have a couple of more (visits) as soon as I leave here. The beauty of this situation is that it happened so early that I have a chance to take my time and look at things from a broader perspective and just make the right decision when it’s all said and done.”

Today, Routt is scheduled to meet with the Chiefs in Kansas City. How interested are Scott Pioli and Romeo Crennel? I’m sure they are interested in finding out more about this defensive back that had 17 penalties last year. However, Routt is not in the same class as Brandon Carr, who is about to become a free agent as well. Carr is who the attention should be focused on, but due diligence means checking Routt out. It’s hard to see the former Raiders choice landing at Arrowhead.

Other teams interested in Routt are Texas, Dallas and Tennessee.


Crennel continues to fill out his coaching staff, settling on Bicknell to take over the offensive line. Bicknell had been the assistant offensive line coach for the last three years with the New York Giants. His brother Bob spent three years with the Chiefs, working for Herm Edwards and Todd Haley. He’s now the tight end in Buffalo.

That leaves the assistant offensive line position and wide receivers coach spots that have not yet been filled.


Whether or not team chairman Clark Hunt actually opens the vault or not, there’s little worry of the Chiefs busting up their salary cap maximum for the 2012 season.

Under the new collective bargaining agreement, teams can take money they didn’t spend under the cap in the previous season and push it into the next season. The Chiefs have done that to the tune of $24 million and change.

Combined with the cap space they have right now for the 2012 season, and Pioli will have $62,995,000 to spend on players. No other team in the league will have that type of cap space available. Tampa Bay ($60,496,000) and Cincinnati ($60,000,000) are the next closest teams.


NFL contracts today are filled with all sorts of clauses, bonuses and accelerators that can change a player’s W-2 quite a bit, and usually for the better.

Just ask Hali, who signed a 5-year, $57.5 million contract back in early August after the owners’ lockout was lifted. Under details of the deal according to Mac’s Football Blog, Hali’s base salary for 2012 ($11.25 million) and 2013 ($12.25 million) became fully guaranteed last week. That pushed the total of guaranteed money in the contract to $39.5 million and it’s all expected to be paid in the first 2½ years of the contract.

Part of his deal was a $15 million signing bonus and on Wednesday he’ll get a $6.5 million check as part of that payment.

Turns out he’s not the only Chiefs player that will see deferred signing bonus money this week. The team owes CB Brandon Flowers, $2.5 million; WR Steve Breaston, $2.5 million; OL Rodney Hudson, $250,000; OLB Justin Houston, $121,247. All are set to be paid on Wednesday,


DE Tyson Jackson’s contract that he signed in 2009 had a not likely to be earned incentive bonus that kicked in with the 2011 season. That increased his base salary for the 2012 season from $2.505 million to $8.005 million. Plus, it triggered an increase to his 2013 base salary from $3.22 million to $14.72 million.

Also seeing accelerators kick in with their base salary for this year are DE Glenn Dorsey and LT Branden Albert. Dorsey gets an extra $1.5 million on his $4.356 base salary. Albert’s base salary went up from $1.03 million to $2.7175 million due to playing time incentives.


Given all the money the Chiefs could spend on paper, they would have enough money to throw at both Manning and Moss if they decided that was a direction they wanted to go.

The quarterback would be 36 and more than a year removed from playing in an NFL game. The receiver would be 35 and more than a year removed from playing in an NFL game.

Fans of the Chiefs shouldn’t hold their breath on seeing a No. 18 dropping a bomb on No. 81 – that’s not what Hunt has said he wants for his franchise. Details of that plan are scarce, but he’s always said he wants to develop his own players, rather than signing other team’s free agents. Certainly that’s a more economical way to go, especially with the new restrictions on what high draft choices can sign for.

The Colts have until March 8 to make a decision on Manning. They owe him a $28 million check on that day. If they don’t want to pay, they’ll have to negotiate a settlement or release him. Forget the settlement – doubt Manning or Colts owner Jimmy Irsay are in the mood to do that.

16 Responses to “Offseason? What Offseason … Valentine’s Cup O’Chiefs”

  • February 14, 2012  - ED J says:

    I can see them trying sign Manning not Moss. We have enough receivers we need improve oline. Peyton however will choose the team he wants to play for they want choose him.

  • February 14, 2012  - Chuck says:

    I really don’t want Manning. I think there are wiser choices out there to make. I still think some of these guys are WAY OVERPAID. One example would be Tyson Jackson. Thats one signing I never agreed with. Don’t even try to tell me he is worth 8 million in 2012 and 14.72 million in 2012. What a waste of money. Look at some of the other players out their that play that position and tell me with a straight face that he’s worth that kind of money. Makes me want to puke.

  • February 14, 2012  - Chuck says:

    The 14.72 from above is for 2013.

  • February 14, 2012  - Petey says:


    I’m not following…TJAX had a ‘not likely to be earned incentive bonus that kicked in.’ What was it and how in the heck did he hit it? That’s quite a jump in salary from 2.5 to 8 mil.

    Did the work ‘not’ accidently get used there?

  • February 14, 2012  - el cid says:

    We all know the Chiefs HAVE to reach a salary cap floor in 2013. Clark said he is willing to spend 20 mil extra in 2012 or 2013. But we still have Pioli running things, don’t we? He has left the team short on talent by avoiding free agency as much as possible. His drafting, to me, is hit or miss, certainly not up to his supposed skill level. Also his overall view there is always tomorrow.

    I think it will be interesting to see what happens between not and training camp. Have no idea what is ahead. As for the the money involved in contracts, could care less, I want more talent on the roster and wins.

    As for Jackson, I figure he will stick until his contract expire and move on to be a backup somewhere in the league. There is always someone out there who sees something that is not there.

  • February 14, 2012  - txchief says:

    Many thanks for the insightful football story, Bob.

    The Chiefs will pursue Routt, even if only for depth at CB. Getting Carr signed up long-term is less than certain at this point (but it will happen), and the Chiefs are pretty thin behind the two Brandons.

    There would be fewer questions along the OL if Haley hadn’t made an example of Jared Gaither, cutting him because of one penalty! Compounding Haley’s blunder is that there is not a great deal of free agent talent at OT this offseason. The Chiefs might have to take a shot at Marcus MacNeill, the man likely displaced by Gaither in San Diego, because of Barry Richardson’s atrocious pass blocking skills. The Chiefs also need another guard, as Ryan Lilja’s career seems to be winding down. Getting Carl Nicks is a fantasy, as the Saints are not going to let him go New Orleans. Fortunately, there are good prospects at guard and tackle in the draft that might be available on day two. It will be a difficult choice if KC’s first round pick boils down to Trent Richardsonor one of the top offensive linemen.

    If truly recovered, Peyton Manning would instantly improve the Chiefs chances of a championship, but Charles and Moeaki must return healthy. Even though the NFL pundits say otherwise, the Chiefs might actually be one of the few teams with the financial resources to bring in Peyton and retain all of their other offensive weapons at the same time. I don’t believe Dwayne Bowe is going elsewhere. He’ll sign or be franchised. Dwayne has shown flashes of brilliance, but has had up and down play throughout his career. No doubt some of his inconsistency was due to the team’s coaching and QB situations, but he was quite the poorly motivated knucklehead his first couple of years in the league. I couldn’t imagine the Chiefs even considering Randy Moss given his mental makeup. With Bowe back and the other receivers healthy, the Chiefs don’t have a terribly pressing need at wideout. They do need another TE badly.

    Offensive free agents that the Chiefs need to target include Jermichael Finley (TE), Vincent Jackson (WR), Mike Tolbert (RB), Marshawn Lynch (RB), Scott Wells (C), and Chris Myers (C). Scott Pioli wisely will not take an extremely expensive flyer on Matt Flynn, and unless the organization wants to make a huge move up to get Robert Griffin III, the Chiefs’ 2012 draft will not yield a franchise QB. It is monstrously frustrating that in the entire history of the franchise, the Texans/Chiefs have NEVER been able to draft a true franchise QB.

    I would contend there is more uncertainty along the Chiefs defensive line than anywhere else on the team. Clark Hunt is writing huge checks to Glenn Dorsey and Tyson Jackson, and they’re playing well below their pay grade. Both are probably better suited to play DE in a 4-3 scheme, and trading one or both for draft picks or players at other positions of need would be a dream come true. Kelly Gregg is probably gone, leaving a promising Allen Bailey at DE and the virtually unseen Jerrell Powe at NT. The good news is that while expensive, there are top shelf defensive line free agents such as Calais Campbell (DE), Paul Soliai (DT), Broderick Bunkley (DT) and Red Bryant (DE)available. The draft appears relatively deep for DT and DE in the early rounds as well.

    Assuming Brandon Siler returns, the team could let Jovan Belcher go in free agency and stand pat at linebacker. Imagine if Brandon Bair starts at DE, there could be four defensive Brandons on the field at one time for the Chiefs. Does anyone besides me rememeber KC’s “all Richardson” offensive back field of 1996?

    Pioli has a great deal of cap space to spend, and 2012 is the year to do it. The Chiefs really are only a few key players away from being a strongly contending team. I’m sure that Pioli and Hunt knew what the finances would be this year. Perhaps that’s why they didn’t overspend during an abbreviated 2011 free agent season. I am hoping to be pleasantly surprised with what happens over the next few months. If the Chiefs organization doesn’t utilize its’ favorable 2012 cap situation to retain and acquire substantial talent, the fan base and season ticket holders such as myself will be absolutely furious, and management will be left with few, if any, excuses.

  • February 14, 2012  - Niblick says:

    I’m wondering the same thing about Jackson. Was there a typo and he actually did earn the bonus. I didn’t realize without the 24MM carried over, we wold have had only had another 39MM available this year. I guess some teams have little if any cap space, if I understand the numbers correctly.

  • February 14, 2012  - Rick says:

    Jackson is much better than you guys are giving him credit for, especially against the run. It’s hard to get flashy numbers as a 3-4 DE, especially when your boss wants his linebackers to be able to run free.

    Clark has absolutely no excuse for not signing both Bowe and Carr.

    Moss, no.

    Routt, no.

    Manning, won’t be interested in playing in KC, bank it.

  • February 14, 2012  - PAChiefsFan says:

    I agree Rick. If Hunt’s philosophy is to grown his own players then he better get deals done with both Bowe and Carr.

  • February 14, 2012  - el cid says:

    Rick is correct about signings. Unless Bowe and Carr want to test the waters first. Other than fans, not sure who loves who between Bowe, Carr, coaches and management. I keep repeating Pioli’s quote, it takes two to make a marriage.

    Still do not see Jackson but if Crennel wants him, fine by me.

  • February 14, 2012  - Niblick says:

    Rick -I agree with you on Bowe and Carr. We have plenty of cap space to francise one of them and sign the other to a long term deal. That’s only if we can’t get long term deals done for both. We have an advantage over many teams in this regard. I read the Packers wanted to francise Flynn, but did not have the cap space to do so. They can’t work a trade for him like the Pats did with Cassell or we did with Allen.

  • February 14, 2012  - Johnfromwichita says:

    Never got excited about off-seasons but after watching a season without one has totally changed my mind. I remember how woefully unprepared they looked against Detriot and Buffalo. Go off-season!

  • February 14, 2012  - Michael says:

    Many of the free agents mentioned here are technically available, but their teams aren’t going to let them go anywhere in the end. The Chiefs should stand pat with Dorsey and Jackson for now. Jackson is a prototypical 3-4 end, and would not be better in a 4-3. He has and will continue to get better where he is. Dorsey is a natural 4-3 DT, but is a good run defender in the 3-4. Run-defending and allowing LB’s room to operate is the first job of 3-4 ends, and that’s what they do. For long down and distance, they can bring in pass rushers, as they do with Bailey and Gilberry, with their sub nickel package. Unfortunately, they are among the last of the groups of rookies who came in with the gigantic contracts before the new CBA. At some point, KC might have to think about re-negotiating their contracts. The player’s option is to then sign and stay, sign and be traded or don’t sign and get released. That’s going to happen to a lot of guys who came in with the last of the big money rookie contracts.

    No argument with EL Cid, though. The team needs more talent, and will have to spend much, much more to get what is needed.

  • February 15, 2012  - brainsmasher says:

    You know what would put fan’s butts in the seats? Sign Manning and Moss to one year contracts with an option year. Resign Kyle Orton. Resign Brandon Carr. Sign or draft the best nose guard available. Sign two free agent tackles.

    Or, instead of signing Moss get Vincent Jackson. sign Marshawn Lynch.

    The Chiefs are not going to get everything on their list; but there is no reason except being cheap not to come away with 3 or 4 of the best free agents at their position.

  • February 15, 2012  - Johnfromwichita says:

    This is going to be the year when we find out if Clark is going to be cheap. They rolled over the left over cap money to next year. Is he going to spend it? What worries me is Clark has too much hair. Seen his picture? Not having any, I don’t trust people with too much. I just hope he spends, and wisely, and build a better team. And please sign Carr.

  • February 15, 2012  - ED J says:

    Going to be interesting offseason. Don’t see Orton coming back I really think he’s going get starting job somewhere else where he doesn’t have to compete. Then their is Bowe and Carr. I think Bowe will get paid, but fact Carr hasn’t agreed to deal yet makes me think he’s asking for more money than Brandon Flowers. Which explains why we’re entertaining bringing in Stanford Routt. Routt not going get kind of contract Oakland gave him he would come in at much cheaper price. I hope Carr comes back but he has to be realist in that he’s not going to make more than Flowers. He may go somewhere else get more money but may not have same success in different defense on a different team.

    Now as for rest of free agency we really need go after some of these tight ends to add depth. John Carlson from Seahawks would be good pick up. I like speed and atheleticism of kid from Redskins Fred Davis even over paying a little for Jarmichael Finley would be good. I think also some decent nose tackle out there that could help our team. And we definately need look at adding better depth behind Berry and Lewis.

    Draft wise we need to stock pile offensive lineman. This is one of the deepest draft in recent history with depth at oline position. We need go oline the first 3 rounds in my opinion. To me if we’re going fix oline not much in free agency outside of Carl Nicks and he may end up back in New Orleans outside of that nothing out there. Draft going to be way to go to build this oline.

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