Intrigue surrounds Chiefs' first overall pick
MAR 04, 2013 5:20p ET
Will the Chiefs still consider Texas A&M left tackle Luke Joeckel with that top pick now that they have put the franchise tag on their own free-agent left tackle Branden Albert?
Or will the Chiefs suddenly feel free to pass on Joeckel, and go after the long-term future with West Virginia quarterback Geno Smith, even though they traded last week for San Francisco quarterback Alex Smith?
Or might the Chiefs now feel they can trade out of their No. 1 pick?
The Chiefs certainly kept all those possibilities open after announcing they secured their top two free agents on Monday — Albert with the franchise tag and wideout Dwayne Bowe with a new five-year deal.
"When we first arrived, one of the first items on our agenda was signing Dwayne,” General Manager John Dorsey said. “He’s been a key player on our offense and is one of the premier players at his position. We are pleased that Dwayne will be a member of this team for years to come.”
“We’re excited to have Dwayne on the roster for the long term,” Coach Andy Reid said. “Dwayne’s a big, physical receiver who has had success in this league. He is part of the Chiefs family, and it was important to him to remain in Kansas City. I’m looking forward to working with Dwayne.”
According to Sports Radio 810 WHB in Kansas City, Bowe’s deal is believed to be in the neighborhood of $50 million, with about $24 million guaranteed.
And it is a deal that had an instant ripple effect. Without the need to put a franchise tag on Bowe, the Chiefs secured Albert with the tag, a one-year deal that will be worth $9.83 million. The Chiefs and Albert had been discussing a long-term deal, but Albert said recently the two sides were not close.
The Chiefs also were busy Monday securing their other top free agent, punter Dustin Colquitt, whom the team signed to a five-year deal reportedly worth $18.75 million ($8.9 million guaranteed), making him the highest-paid punter in the NFL.
Shortly after all those moves, Chiefs cornerback Brandon Flowers tweeted, “Man (shout out) to KC front office for makin’ them moves with the homies today ... that was big.”
Indeed they were. There had been growing concern among Chiefs fans that the team would not be able to secure a long-time deal with Bowe, who then would have been a strong candidate for the franchise tag.
That scenario likely would have forced the Chiefs to consider releasing Albert, and probably then forced Chiefs general manager John Dorsey and coach Andy Reid to go with Joeckel with their top pick.
That could still happen, of course, because Reid considers left tackle and right tackle interchangeable, and because Chiefs right tackle Eric Winston may not be a long-term solution. Winston is regarded as a far better run blocker than pass blocker and may not be suited for Reid’s pass-oriented West Coast offense.
But then again, Dorsey and Reid may shock everyone with that first overall pick by still going for a quarterback such as Geno Smith, who could mentor under Alex Smith.
Both Dorsey and Reid reportedly view Alex Smith as a high-character guy who likely wouldn’t feel threatened by the presence of a younger quarterback on the roster.
Alex Smith, after all, did not balk when he was benched in favor of Colin Kaepernick in San Francisco, and Smith’s teammates say he remained a team-first guy throughout the ordeal.
The Chiefs also could go with defense with that top pick, now that the team’s top offensive concerns have addressed this offseason.
There has been growing speculation among draft experts that the Chiefs might be coveting Alabama play-making cornerback Dee Milliner. The Chiefs are in desperate need of a corner opposite Flowers, and the team suffered in 2012 with the loss of Brandon Carr to free agency. Javier Arenas is at the top of the depth chart at the corner spot opposite Flowers, but likely is more suited as a slot corner.
Yet another option for the Chiefs is to trade out of the No. 1 pick in hopes they can pick up additional draft picks. The Chiefs gave up their second-round pick this season to acquire Alex Smith.
But trading down may be difficult because there is not the consensus No. 1 super prospect as there has been in years past.
The Raiders, Cardinals, Bills and the Jets all could be looking to get a quarterback. But it’s uncertain if any of those four teams would feel the need to give up picks for Geno Smith, who was regarded as the top quarterback prospect at the NFL Scouting Combine but who is not considered in the same class as last year’s top quarterbacks, Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III.
But one thing is certain: The Chiefs, after Monday’s moves, will keep everyone guessing regarding their top pick.
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