Previewing Free Agency: Skill Positions

February 19th, 2013

There are a lot of local fans that would love to see Alexander in KC. (Photo: J. Meric, Getty Images)

KCCD Staff Writer: Sam Mitchell

With NFL free agency kicking off in just a few weeks, attention among Chiefs fans is beginning to turn to what positions the Chiefs should target in free agency and who KC should sign in the coming weeks. A lot of what the Chiefs will do as far as acquiring talent from other teams will likely be influenced by what they choose to do with their own free agents leading up to the start of free agency on March 12. Will Bowe or Albert be retained long term? Who will receive the franchise tag? Who among the lower level role players will be re-signed? The answers to these questions and many more will affect the players the Chiefs plans for free agency.

At this point there are a number of solid players who are likely to hit the open market in just under a month that could fill important roles for the Chiefs and create a much more well-rounded roster. In this installment I’ll cover some of the offensive ‘skill player’ free agents that could be nice additions to the Chiefs’ roster and fill important roles for the team this upcoming season. Most of the players mentioned below are not ‘big name’ players or guys who will demand huge contracts but they are nice players that can increase the overall talent and depth of the roster.

Matt Moore, QB, Miami: At this point no one outside of the organization seems to have any real idea where the Chiefs will find their next quarterback. I’m not suggesting that Moore is the answer at quarterback for the Chiefs going forward, but he is a solid player who could bring some stability to the position. The perfect number 2 quarterback, Moore is good enough to come in and start a game without hurting the team. Matt Moore has a nice arm, decent mobility in the pocket, and seems to be a good locker room influence as he took his demotion this season in stride and didn’t cause any issues. All three of the Chiefs’ 2012 quarterbacks have huge question marks and none are guaranteed a roster spot next year, so the whole position could be turned over this offseason. Matt Moore would be a great addition to the group who could bridge the gap for a young quarterback or provide very solid depth for a veteran going forward.

Drew Stanton, QB, Indianapolis: While not an ultra-productive NFL player, Stanton is a smart clipboard holder who has been on an NFL roster for five seasons. I would prefer to have a younger draft pick with more potential as the third quarterback on the roster, but if the Chiefs draft a quarterback to groom as the long term starter, I doubt they would spend a second pick on the position. Stanton could be a nice number 3 quarterback who would be a steady influence in the quarterback meeting room and would always be prepared to play in a pinch.

Mike Goodson, RB, Oakland: Jamaal Charles is the premier offensive player for the Chiefs and that shouldn’t change any time soon. He is such a critical asset moving forward that the Chiefs cannot wear him down with the entire backfield workload. The number 2 running back could already be on the roster with Shaun Draughn or Cyrus Gray who both have interesting skillsets, and Peyton Hillis could even be retained, but if not Goodson offers a great backfield compliment to Charles. While not a pure power back, Goodson can be effective on both inside and outside runs and was very productive in Oakland’s zone blocking scheme last season. Goodson is also a decent blocker and a great receiver out of the backfield. Having a balanced number 2 option that would not tip the offense’s hand and could contribute in both the passing and running game would be a great option for the offense.

Jonathan Dwyer/Isaac Redman, RB, Pittsburgh: Both of these backs are restricted free agents so neither may even be a real option for the Chiefs if tendered by the Steelers, but either, if allowed to hit the open market, would make a great addition to the KC backfield. Both players are big powerful backs, who also have nimble feet and enough quickness to make defenders miss. Redman, and Dwyer to a lesser extent, is a fantastic receiving option out of the backfield who can make plays in the passing game. Redman and Dwyer are also relatively young runners with very little accumulated wear.

Dominek Hixon, WR, New York Giants: The Chiefs have tons of questions at the receiver position going into the offseason. Will top target Dwayne Bowe be back? What, if anything, do they have in Baldwin? Will Steve Breaston see the field or even be on the team in 2013? Will Devon Wylie or Dexter McCluster become the consistent slot receiver that the Chiefs’ new quarterback will need? With all of these questions the Chiefs could really benefit from a safe, reliable receiver like Hixon. At times overlooked in New York’s offense loaded with talented, young receivers, Hixon made big plays in critical times during his tenure in New York. Injuries are the only thing that has really held Hixon back over his career as he has the hands, speed, and route running ability to be a safe receiving option from both outside positions and out of the slot. Hixon would be an excellent insurance policy if any of the Chiefs’ receiving options don’t pan out. Hixon has also been an excellent special teams player in a number of different roles with the Giants.

Danario Alexander, WR, San Diego: It’s hard to see a situation where the Chargers let Alexander go without a fight as he was the vertical threat that they needed down the stretch last season with free agent addition Robert Meachem not panning out. But if Alexander is allowed to hit the open market the Chiefs should strongly consider bidding for his services. There is really no true vertical threat on this Chiefs offense right now and Alexander could bring the deep speed to threaten the top of a defense and keep safeties out of the box. There is an inherent risk with Alexander due to his injury history, but he may be well worth the risk as he has always been a playmaker when on the healthy.

Jared Cook, TE, Tennessee: The Chiefs’ offseason plan at tight end will be determined by how the new regime views Kevin Boss’ concussion situation. With the NFL now becoming a two tight end league, if the medical staff deems Kevin Boss as unable to play again, tight end will become a major offseason need. Even if Boss is able to play next season though, I still see tight end as a position that could be upgraded as far as depth is concerned. The more tight ends you have, and the more diversity that those players have, the more versatile the offense becomes. Jared Cook is not an amazing all-around tight end, but he does have nice athletic ability and can make some plays in the passing game. Cook can stretch the seam with good vertical speed and be a matchup issue in the slot and out wide. A tight end that could be moved all around the offense to create mismatches would be a nice weapon in the passing game and a good asset for the offense. Tony Moeaki has a lot of versatility to play the ‘F’ slot tight end position, the more traditional ‘Y’ inline position, and the H Back position, which gives the team a lot of roster flexibility as to which type of tight end the team goes after. Cook and Moeaki would provide a lot of flexibility and playmaking ability from the tight end position as both players could be moved all around the formation and could fill a multitude of roles.

Anthony Fasano, TE, Miami: Fasano would only be a fit in KC if Boss was not coming back. Fasano is purely an inline tight end, but is a very solid player who would help out in the receiving game and as a run and pass blocker. While not the fastest player, Fasano is a very smooth mover who can get open and has very solid, dependable hands, similar to Boss in a lot of ways. Fasano is also a red zone target with his large frame. But Fasano’s blocking is what sets him apart from other inline tight ends as he is more than efficient in this area. With Fasano on the field, Moeaki would be freed up to be motioned into lots of different positions, where he could create mismatches with his size and athleticism.

Tags: 2013 NFL Free Agency

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