AFC West: Dan Skuta

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.
Gary Kubiak has backed up and coached John Elway. He has been a long-time competitor of Peyton Manning.

Kubiak is worried about Elway and Manning combining forces in Denver, where the veteran quarterback signed last week. Here is what Kubiak, head coach of the Houston Texans, thinks of the pairing:

"That's a hell of a combination there,” Kubiak said the NFL owners meetings. “That's powerful. It's great for their organization. It's a big move by John and the organization on this guy, probably the greatest quarterback ever to play the game. He seems healthy, ready to go, so it's a big move by them. They've got a good football team already. They're sitting in the playoffs last year. Their defense played well over the course of the season.

“I think everybody had better worry about it. It's a very powerful combination."

Other AFC West news:

ESPN’s John Clayton reports that the Chargers are continuing to talk to their free-agent defensive tackle Antonio Garay.

Chiefs coach Romeo Crennel told the Kansas City Star that his team has no glaring holes and will wait until after the draft to see where it stands at nose tackle.

San Diego coach Norv Turner likes being under the radar in the AFC West chase.

Unless there is a dramatic change, it appears Cincinnati defensive end/linebacker Manny Lawson will not be signing with the Raiders. Oakland is looking for a starting strongside linebacker, and may wait for the draft to get one. Another player in whom Oakland has reportedly shown interest, Giants defensive end Dave Tollefson, reportedly will visit the Packers.

Adam Caplan reports that Cincinnati backup linebacker and special-teams player Dan Skuta visited the Chiefs. He is a restricted free agent, but Kansas City would not owe the Bengals any compensation if the Chiefs signed him to one because he was an undrafted free agent.

The Raiders will reportedly have a pre-draft visit with Alabama defensive tackle Josh Chapman, a good run-stuffer from a great defense. All teams typically conduct several pre-draft meetings, so a visit with a college player might not necessarily mean much.

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AFC WEST SCOREBOARD

Saturday, 12/20
Sunday, 12/21
Monday, 12/22