Home > NFL > Are the Kansas City Chiefs going to need to Rebuild under Andy Reid?

Are the Kansas City Chiefs going to need to Rebuild under Andy Reid?

For a football team that’s as close to contention as some would argue the Chiefs are, and as close as they need to be to make trading draft picks for a 29 year old quarterback make sense, the Chiefs sure were an awful football team last year.

The Chiefs had two main problems that would keep them from competing in the near term future.  First off: they couldn’t throw the ball at all.  Smith is being brought in to fix that, but for it to be completely “fixed”, it’s going to take more than just Smith.

The Chiefs had strong offensive line play in 2012, but due to the expiration of LT Brandon Albert’s contract, it’s possible that the Chiefs will be using the first overall pick to replace Albert, creating a short term net zero on the offensive line.  Without a second round pick now, the Chiefs might not be immediately improving on last year’s 2014 effort.

Rebuilding is about building your team around contracts you are comfortable with: manageable deals to players who you can leave the building to.  That is, in part, why the Chiefs are looking to move on from Branden Albert, and replace him with Texas A&M’s Luke Joeckel. It just doesn’t explain Alex Smith.  The Chiefs will surely be re-doing his contract, but the second round pick (plus) it took to acquire him become the very glue of the roster.  The Chiefs other actions: releases of Steve Breaston and Kevin Boss, suggest the opposite approach: moving towards players who will be with the Chiefs for the long term.

These conflicts in intent raise questions as to exactly what the Chiefs see in Alex Smith.  There’s plenty to like here: Smith still has his prime years ahead of him, and is coming off a legitimately great half-season with the 49ers.  His positive contributions have been very reminiscent of Matt Cassel’s 2010 season.

Sorry.

Smith is not capable of raising Dwayne Bowe’s production, and the Kansas City receiver’s inability to match his down to down production with his ability to make plays both before receiving and with the football is one of the biggest reasons the Chiefs couldn’t throw last year.  Beyond Bowe, the Chiefs wideouts were dreadful last season, perhaps among the worst groups in the NFL.  The Chiefs are going to be limited in how they can address this position as free agent wide receivers often create more problems than they solve, and go against the grain of rebuilding.

The only way the Smith move makes sense is if Reid can win on the fly, without having to rebuild.  But when you take a look at the defensive side of the ball, the Chiefs have edge rushers and little else.  They have large contracts in the secondary with Eric Berry and Brandon Flowers.  They have contracts on the defensive line that are either expiring (Glenn Dorsey) or in the process of being shed (Tyson Jackson).  Many of the best contracts the team has from Tamba Hali to Bowe to Flowers, Albert and Jamaal Charles are now in the process of surviving a second regime change.

Scott Pioli didn’t handle contracts very well in his time with the Chiefs.  His biggest contracts given out were to Berry and Jackson (high first round draft picks), Cassel (acquired in a trade), Charles (who got injured almost immediately), and a big extensions to Hali (who had a down year in 2012) and Derrick Johnson (which looks good).  His best free agent pickup was Eric Winston.  He failed to get Dwayne Bowe, Brandon Carr, or Branden Albert under long term contract.

Maybe my biggest question for the Chiefs is whether or not it makes sense to acquire an $8 million per year quarterback when the franchise’s left tackle and top receiver are set to hit free agency.  Even if the Chiefs had no quarterbacks rated in the top ten, it would still have made more sense for a rebuilding team to take the top quarterback on the board at first overall than it does to trade for a veteran at the height of his value.

Perhaps the Chiefs can go and win right from day one under Andy Reid.  That appears to be the operative plan, but the execution to date by Reid and GM John Dorsey has been inconsistent.  At least one of the principles in this article favors a “win now!” mentality:

With Smith in the fold, the Chiefs will throw the ball around in 2012.  To whom? How many points will they need to score if their defense can’t stop anyone?  We’ll find out starting in the third round of this year’s draft.

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