AFC West: Cincinnati Bengals Kansas City Chiefs

ESPN NFL financial guru Andrew Brandt offers an intriguing look at how NFL restricted free agency is dying.

The basis of restricted free agency is a team can sign a player to an offer sheet and his existing team has a week to match the offer. If the team does not match the contract, it is awarded a draft pick from a corresponding round that the existing team assigns the player via a contract tender.

The deadline for teams to give restricted free agents an offer sheet is Friday. Thus far, there have been no offer sheets executed this offseason.

The Chiefs actually visited with Cincinnati restricted free agent linebacker/special teamer Dan Skuta several weeks ago, but thus far nothing has developed. He wasn’t given a draft-round tender so if the Chiefs were to give him an offer sheet and the Bengals didn’t match, the Chiefs would not have to send the Bengals any draft compensation.

There has been a lot of speculation (and we have discussed the possibility) that Denver could make a play at Pittsburgh receiver Mike Wallace, a restricted free agent prize. The Broncos still have some cap room and the speedy Wallace would be a terrific value at No. 25. He’d also be a dandy of a welcome gift for Peyton Manning.

A Denver pursuit of Wallace still makes sense. But as Brandt’s column points out, restricted free agency simply doesn’t appear to be a focal point of teams.

AFC West mailbag

March, 21, 2009

Posted by's Bill Williamson

James from Los Angeles: hey bill, i read your blogs everyday. Do you think the Raiders will pick up either Orlando Pace, Roy Williams, Torry Holt, or MArvin HArrison?

BW: Thanks, James. I'd be surprised if Pace would come to Oakland now that Khalif Barnes has been signed. Williams is from Oakland, but he has only visited Cincinnati and both Harrison and Holt would help the Raiders. But I think those two players may consider signing with a contender first.

unklbrad from Kansas City: Not sure if the first one sent. As posted on the blog: Matt Cassel still doesn't have a number assigned, but Vrabel does. Isn't that a sign that Cassel may never don a Chiefs uni?

BW: I think it's just a housekeeping issue right now. Cassel wore No. 16 with the Patriots. Of course, that was Len Dawson's number in Kansas City and it has been retired. I wouldn't read too much into the number situation at this point.

Danny: will the chargers lock up any of their big name vetrans to extentions? Rivers, Merriman, McNiel, V.Jackson, Gates?

BW: I think they would like to get Rivers and Gates locked up this offseason. Merriman and McNeill will have to show they can come back from injuries before a deal is signed.

JD from SAN JOSE: Bill, I gotta tell ya. While Crabtree looks good, he looks over hyped. In my opinion he doesn't have the same wow factor that Williams, Johnson & Fitzgerald had. I think Oak should do the Phi trade and grab a wr like Nicks or Bay. But we all know Al doesn't trade down ;) As always, thanks for the great coverage!

BW: Thanks, JD. You know, I really like Crabtree. I keep thinking back to that play against Texas where he won the game. I think he is a man. I really think he can be special.

Joe from Arlington Heights,Il: Do you think the Chicago Bears would trade for Jay Culter? Why or Why not?

BW: First, Denver has to decide to trade him. But if that happens, I can see Chicago becoming a player. The Bears have a need and I think it could be a good fit. If Denver does start taking phone calls on Cutler, it will be a seller's market so the Bears would have to offer quite a bit to get the deal done.