Andy Reid is a former offensive lineman and former offensive line coach. He understands the importance of those positions. That's why it's intriguing the Chiefs are 31st among the NFL's 32 teams in salary-cap commitments for their linemen and last in cash spending. Perhaps it's part of the Chiefs' long-term planning not to sink a lot of money into their offensive linemen. It will be interesting to see not only what the Chiefs do in the draft with regard to selecting linemen, but how they handle contract situations with linemen who will soon become free agents. Center Rodney Hudson and guard/tackle Jeff Linkenbach are scheduled to become unrestricted free agents in 2015. The contracts of guard Jeff Allen and Donald Stephenson will be up the year following. The Chiefs can't continue to lose linemen at the rate of two or three a year without investing heavily in the position through the draft.
A player who led the NFL in touchdowns, was third in rushing yardage and fifth among running backs in pass receptions is a steal at a much higher price. What the Chiefs are giving to Jamaal Charles is borderline criminal. Charles' salary-cap number of $5,233,333 is 10th among NFL running backs. The closest statistical comparables to Charles last season were Philadelphia's LeSean McCoy and Chicago's Matt Forte. McCoy rushed for more yards (1,607) than Charles (1,287) but had fewer pass catches (52) and total touchdowns than Charles (70, 19). Forte had more rushing yards (1,339) and pass receptions (74) than Charles but fewer total touchdowns (12). McCoy's cap number this year is $9.7 million. Forte's is $7.9 million. In terms of cash spending, or what their teams will pay this year alone, McCoy gets $8 million, Forte gets $6.9 million and Charles $3.9 million.
The more I think about it, the stronger I feel that the Chiefs should hold on to Eric Berry. He's only 25 and won't be 26 until late December. So, in theory at least, his best years should be coming. As a strong safety, he plays a so-called non-premium position but he's still a playmaker who impacts the game.
I recently broke down the Chiefs' salary-cap situation (offense here and defense and kicking specialists here). It showed them with regard to the NFL average to be heavy spenders at certain position groups (wide receiver, linebacker, defensive back, punter, kicker) and light spenders at others (offensive and defensive lines). These priorities seem generally well placed to me. Spend money on playmakers. I'm interested in hearing what you think about this. Are the Chiefs putting their cash in the right places? Tweet me (@adamteicher) with your thoughts.