Kansas City Chiefs: Devin Hester

On the surface, Devin Hester joining the Kansas City Chiefs made too much sense for it not to happen.

After losing Dexter McCluster and Quintin Demps to free agency, the Chiefs need a return specialist. Hester, perhaps the greatest return specialist in NFL history after being set free by the Chicago Bears, needed a job. Then there was the angle of Hester being reunited in Kansas City with his special teams coach for much of his time with the Bears, Dave Toub.

But as with many things, money got in the way. Hester's price tag was too much for the Chiefs, who may have taken Hester at a lower cost. But Hester's price was met by the Atlanta Falcons, removing him from the pool of available free agents. Hester and the Falcons agreed on a three-year contract.

Chiefs coach Andy Reid also prefers his return specialist do another job whether as a running back, wide receiver or defensive back. That probably wouldn't have been a deal breaker in bringing Hester to Kansas City but may have been a factor as to why the Chiefs weren't more aggressive in pursuing him.

With Hester out of the picture, the Chiefs are still in the market for a return specialist. They reportedly met with journeyman Micheal Spurlock but appear to prefer using a rookie, perhaps in combination with the players they already have.

Odell Beckham Jr. of LSU is one of the better return specialists available in the draft and can also fulfill Reid's preference for the returner to help elsewhere. Beckham could also help the Chiefs as a wide receiver. The problem is that Beckham may not still be available by the time the Chiefs make their first choice, 23rd overall.

The leading in-house candidates are running backs Joe McKnight and Knile Davis and slot receiver Weston Dressler.

Chiefs back to square one at WR

March, 16, 2014
Mar 16
Crazy stuff from the NFL Network on how wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders and his agent apparently stiffed the Kansas City Chiefs after initially agreeing to their contract offer. The report suggests Sanders' agent took the deal he received from the Chiefs and continued to ship it around, finally agreeing on an supposedly better deal from the Denver Broncos.

Whatever you think about the ethics of the situation, it's not prohibited under NFL rules. A deal isn't a deal until signatures have been put to a contract. Assuming Sanders signs with the Broncos, he's their player and will play against the Chiefs next season instead of for them.

An unusual situation but probably not unprecedented. Funny things happen sometimes. Some years ago, a prominent Chiefs player agreed to contract terms shortly before he was to become a free agent. But when he walked in to sign the contract, some of the terms weren't exactly what the sides has agreed upon. He of course refused to sign until the contract was fixed.

Regardless of how it happened with Sanders, the Chiefs are so far without a free agent wide receiver. In fact, their net is minus-one since Dexter McCluster signed with the Tennessee Titans. The Chiefs have indicated some interest in former Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Jason Avant. They have also explored signing former Chicago Bear Devin Hester, though it's unclear whether he's more than a kick return specialist at this point of his career.

The Chiefs did sign CFL veteran Weston Dressler, who will be given a chance to take McCluster's spot as the slot receiver. But the Chiefs gave him a minimum contract, indicating expectations for him aren't very high. There are also a few people in the Chiefs organization who believe he will have trouble making the leap to the NFL.

Even had they signed Sanders, the Chiefs might have drafted a receiver. Without him, that prospect looks more likely.
A quick Kansas City Chiefs free-agency update:
  • Left tackle Branden Albert and receiver/punt returner Dexter McCluster, defensive end Tyson Jackson and guard Jon Asamoah agreed to contract terms as soon as the free-agent market opened this afternoon. Albert went as expected to the Miami Dolphins for five years and $46 million, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter. McCluster went to the Tennessee Titans for three years and $12 million, also according to Schefter. Jackson and Asamoah agreed to terms with the Atlanta Falcons, according to media reports. With the Falcons, they will be reunited with Scott Pioli. The general manager of the Chiefs when Jackson and Asamoah were drafted, Pioli is now Atlanta's assistant GM.
  • Guard Geoff Schwartz will visit with the New York Giants and has had discussions with the St. Louis Rams.
  • The Chiefs may be in the market for a kick return specialist, given the loss of McCluster. They have interest in Devin Hester, formerly of the Bears, but his price would have to come down for him to sign in Kansas City.
On to this week's questions for the Kansas City Chiefs mailbag (@adamteicher):