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Eventful Offseason for the Defense

More by Ed Fulda
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Regardless of whether Herman Edwards' hiring turns out to be a great move or a two-year-and-out disaster, there is no doubt that this off season will be eventful. In fact, the changes are already evident on the defensive side of the house with only Defensive Coordinator Gunther Cunningham being retained on the coaching staff. It's obvious that a new coaching staff and a new defensive philosophy (Cover 2 versus the basic 4-3) mean that player personnel changes will be coming. Some of the changes will occur quickly to help get the team under the projected salary cap and to free up funds to pursue free agents. Other changes will occur after June 1, once the team can release players and spread the cap hit over two seasons. Who stays, who goes before March and who is likely to go in June?

On the defensive line, the only three players who are sure to stay are Jared Allen, John Browning, and Eric Hicks. Allen, however, is the only one who should be in the starting line-up. Lional Dalton is a potential free agent and the team is not likely to resign him unless he's willing to ink a one- or two-year deal for the league minimum. Jimmy Wilkerson is a potential restricted FA and probably won't receive a high tender. Carlos Hall didn't do enough to warrant being resigned for anything other than the league minimum. Ryan Sims and Junior Siavii have been major disappointments but both will likely be on the roster come September if for no other reason than "potential." Neither player will be on the 2007 roster, however, if they blow it again.

Kawika Mitchell, Derrick Johnson, Keyaron Fox and Boomer Grigsby are the definite keepers at linebacker. Rich Scanlon and Kris Griffin are also likely to stay. Kendrell Bell, a major disappointment, will be released unless he agrees to a major restructuring of his contract. There simply is no way the team will pay him the huge bonus due in March. Shawn Barber and Gary Stills are likely candidates to be released because of age and cap considerations.

Wholesale changes will occur in the secondary where only Eric Warfield, Patrick Surtain and Benny Sapp are sure bets to remain. Sammy Knight will likely remain, but it is hard to see him continuing to start. DeWayne Washington may stick for one more year, but he'll be 34 before the season starts. Alphonso Hodge is young and did not get out on the field as a rookie. He will need to impress in training camp if he wants to stay. Julian Battle and William Bartee are potential free agents and few would shed a tear if they don't return. Dexter McCleon and Jerome Woods are goners; the only question is when. Don't be surprised if Greg Wesley's name appears on the waiver wire come June. Conversely, don't be surprised if Wesley is one of the starting safeties again. I suspect Wesley's fate will be determined by whether the Chiefs need to free up funds to sign a free agent or not.

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