A potential starter at free safety eluded the Kansas City Chiefs this week when veteran Danieal Manning signed with the Cincinnati Bengals before he could make his free-agent visit to Kansas City. Manning will be 32 in August, so he wouldn't have been the long-term solution at free safety the Chiefs might have preferred. But there was obviously an interest on their part, so the Chiefs might have taken Manning as a one-year solution.
Many fans no doubt look at their seeming lack of urgency in finding a replacement for departed free agent Kendrick Lewis to be puzzling and frsutrating. I say it suggests they have a plan. That plan could be to land a free safety in the draft. Perhaps there's a safety still on a roster around the league they believe will eventually come available and they will act then.
More likely, their next starting free safety is already on their roster. In that case, the legitimate candidates are few. More than one fan has suggested to me they intend to move cornerback Brandon Flowers to free safety. Regardless of the wisdom of that move, the Chiefs would have been more aggressive in finding a new starter at cornerback if that was in their plans.
The Chiefs re-signed veteran Husain Abdullah, who quietly had a nice season for them as a backup last year. Abdullah was a starter for the Minnesota Vikings in 2010 and again for a half-season in 2011. He's a versatile player with some pass-coverage skills, so he can't be dismissed as a possibility.
A more likely scenario has the Chiefs going with Sanders Commings as their free safety. He was a fifth-round draft pick last season and impressed the Chiefs in offseason practice to the point where he was going to challenge for playing time.
Commings then broke his collarbone in the first practice at training camp, effectively ending his rookie season. Make no mistake that the Chiefs like Commings and intend to find some playing time for him, whether that's at safety or elsewhere in their secondary.
"One of the reasons we drafted Sanders Commings is because we thought he fit that positional skill," general manager John Dorsey recently said of how the Chiefs might fill their free safety spot.