Bob Glauber's NFL hot reads: Kansas City Chiefs having a remarkable offseason rebuild
The long list of teams that have tried and failed to build through free agency is ample proof that you can't buy a championship in the NFL. But with the remarkable makeover the Chiefs have completed during the last few weeks, capped by a flurry of transactions the past few days, you have to believe that this team will at least be capable of a swift turnaround from last year's 2-14 calamity.
Championship run? Let's hold off on that level of hyperbole for now. But newly hired coach Andy Reid and newly hired general manager John Dorsey orchestrated a series of stunningly effective moves to bolster a roster that was reflective of its woeful 2012 record.
It started with an agreement late last month with the 49ers to make a trade for quarterback Alex Smith, who was replaced by Colin Kaepernick last season. Smith was enjoying a second straight impressive season before suffering a concussion and ultimately losing his job to Kaepernick, so you have to believe the Chiefs are much better off with him over Matt Cassel, who was released and subsequently signed by Minnesota.
Then came the avalanche of transactions:
Wide receiver Dwayne Bowe was re-signed to a long-term deal. Ditto for Pro Bowl punter Dustin Colquitt.
Re-signing Bowe allowed the Chiefs to place the franchise designation on left tackle Branden Albert and keep him in Kansas City for at least another season.
Just before the start of free agency, the Chiefs signed former Falcons cornerback Dunta Robinson.
Once the signing period began, they wasted little time in signing Jets free-agent defensive tackle Mike DeVito, Dolphins free-agent tight end Anthony Fasano, Saints backup quarterback Chase Daniel, former Colts and Rams receiver Donnie Avery and cornerback Sean Smith, a former Dolphins defender widely regarded as the top cornerback on the open market.
"I think we got the types of players we wanted to get here," Dorsey said. "We didn't get flashy players. We got solid, foundational players."
Oh, and one more thing: The Chiefs still own the No. 1 overall pick in next month's draft.
Dream Team Lite
The 2011 Eagles were one of those teams figuring a free-agency splurge might turn into a championship, but they were sadly mistaken. After signing the likes of Nnamdi Asomugha, Cullen Jenkins, Jason Babin, Vince Young and Ronnie Brown, the Eagles finished 8-8.
This year, the Eagles are using free agency in a far more responsible fashion, and rookie coach Chip Kelly hopes the results are more encouraging. The haul so far: cornerbacks Cary Williams, an underrated talent, and Bradley Fletcher; former Giants safety Kenny Phillips and former Patriots safety Patrick Chung; linebacker Jason Phillips, and defensive lineman Isaac Sopoaga. The Eagles also traded for Bucs receiver Arrelious Benn, a former second-round pick who can return kicks.
It's a promising series of additions, and certainly a more economically responsible one compared with the high-priced and mostly ill-fated free-agent signings from the 2011 "Dream Team."
Tweet of the week
With NFL owners likely to eliminate the controversial "tuck rule" at their meetings in Arizona this week, the official Twitter feed of the Raiders -- @Raiders -- offered this gem Thursday:
"Tuck Rule? It's been 11 years, 1 month and 23 days . . . but who's counting?"
The tweet included a picture of former Raiders cornerback Charles Woodson knocking the ball out of Tom Brady's hands in a playoff game after the 2001 season. Brady apparently fumbled on the play, and the ball was recovered by the Raiders. But officials disallowed the fumble, saying that Brady had pumped his arm and was trying to bring the ball back toward his chest. The world knew then what the tuck rule was.
The Raiders have never forgotten. They lost the game, and the Patriots went on to win their first of three Super Bowl championships.
Bottom falls out of cornerback market
One of the most stunning developments in this year's free-agency class was the lack of big-money contracts awarded to cornerbacks, a position generally coveted by NFL teams. Cortland Finnegan of the Rams struck a monster deal at the start of free agency last year, signing a five-year, $50-million contract, but the high end of the market this year was Sean Smith's three-year, $18-million contract, a drop of $4 million per season. Former first-round pick Antoine Cason of the Chargers took only a one-year, $2 million deal in Arizona. The best former Eagles cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie could do was a one-year, $5 million deal with the Broncos. And Aqib Talib took a one-year deal with the Patriots.
And Darrelle Revis is thinking about $15 million a year coming off a knee injury?
Plenty of angst in New England about letting slot receiver Wes Welker go to Denver on a two-year deal and signing Danny Amendola to a five-year contract. Welker certainly is one of the most productive receivers, but Bill Belichick doesn't like keeping 30-something players unless they're named Tom Brady. Think we need to give the coach who has been to five Super Bowls since 2001 the benefit of the doubt on this one.
I like what the Cardinals have done with their roster so far. Quarterback Drew Stanton is at least a stopgap until coach Bruce Arians develops a young starter -- perhaps a first-round pick next month -- and getting cornerback Antoine Cason, running back Rashard Mendenhall and wide receiver/returner Josh Cribbs was smart.
Give Dolphins owner Stephen Ross credit for investing heavily and -- in most cases -- wisely in free agency. Wide receiver Mike Wallace was the top talent on the open market, and the Dolphins wasted no time signing him to a five-year, $60-million deal. That follows the re-signing of wideout Brian Hartline and the addition of three free agents: Ravens linebackers Dannell Ellerbe and Philip Wheeler and Jets tight end Dustin Keller.
I love what the Colts have done by adding Jets safety LaRon Landry, who will help plug a leaky run defense, and rising talents such as 49ers defensive lineman Ricky Jean-Francois and Cardinals cornerback Greg Toler.
Reggie Bush will help the Lions' awful running game, but Detroit can't grind him as an every-down back. They need to give Mikel Leshoure a good chunk of carries.
Haven't seen anything quite like the Elvis Dumervil fiasco in Denver. Dumervil agreed to a $4 million paycut from this year's salary, but his paperwork wasn't filed with the Broncos by a 4 pm Eastern deadline so Denver had to release him due to salary cap concerns. Dumervil is now a free agent, and there's no guarantee he winds up back with the Broncos.