No need to dig through the history books ladies and gents. This is the real deal. Two 2-14 teams sought, after a disastrous 2012 regular season, to improve their rosters and become playoff relevant. Both have New GMs. Both have new HCs. Both are 2-14. Neither are cap strapped. Starting on Tuesday, March 12th, 2013 the experiment began.
Two fundamentally different regimes. One believes that they are only a few pieces away. They have been very aggressive in free agency. I am of course speaking of the Kansas City Chiefs. Here is a list of their moves in no particular order:
- Traded for QB Alex Smith
- Signed WR Dwayne Bowe
- OT Branden Albert franchised
- Signed CB Dunta Robinson
- Signed TE Anthony Fasano
- Signed QB Chase Daniel
- Signed WR Donnie Avery
- Signed DE Mike DeVito
- Signed CB Sean Smith
- Signed P Dustin Colquitt
Andy Reid is building The Dream Team Part Deuce and my goodness it’s impressive. Players lost (in no particular order):
- QB Matt Cassel (released, signed with Minnesota)
- OT Eric Winston (released)
- WR Steve Breaston (released)
- DE Glenn Dorsey (signed with 49ers)
- TE Kevin Boss (released)
They were able to add pieces at premium positions. Kansas City is taking a win now approach, and who can argue about the bevy of players they have signed? The Chiefs went big, and with the number one overall pick in this year’s draft, look out!
The Jaguars are…well…doing the exact opposite. They are building for the long term, and believe that a team is better built via the draft and college free agency using FA as a supplement only. Here is a list of their moves (in no particular order)
- Signed LB Geno Hayes
That is the only free agent the Jaguars have signed so far, but it’s a possibility they sign more. They’ll almost have to, but it won’t be a big splash like the Chiefs have made.
Following is a list of players lost:
- WR Laurent Robinson (waived)
- S Dawaan Landry (released)
- CB Rashean Mathis (not offered contract)
- CB Derek Cox (signed with Chargers)
- DT Terrance Knighton (signed with Broncos)
- CB Aaron Ross (released then signed with Giants)
To be fair to both teams, I’m not including all the free agents that both the Jaguars and Chiefs will let walk. The Chiefs signed a few and are letting a number hit the free market and I know Jacksonville is letting all of theirs go. I’m not including more possible cuts either (see Cassel, Matt 3/14).
Jacksonville is planning on building through the draft, and I’m sure Kansas City is as well. Kansas City, however, is built to win now. Can they sustain long term success while accomplishing short term goals? It will definitely be interesting to see.
Some teams go heavy in FA while others rely more on the draft. All teams do both, and both are important. It’s just there’s no denying that some front offices have a particular preference over the other.
The Jaguars will have to draft not just effectively, but brilliantly.
So really what I’m getting at is which is more effective? Free agency or the draft? We won’t be able to tell with either team until about 3-4 years down the road, but it will certainly be interesting to see. I know that a lot can happen in that time span. Maybe the Jaguars become active in the free agency frenzy one year. Who knows? Both teams will have to stay on their current path for this “experiment” to work. If KC remain FA big money ballers and if JAX stays on the draft and develop course, then this has all the makings of being the best tortoise and hare story ever told.
-David R. Johns