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Chiefs have several needs as free-agent signing period opens

  • The Kansas City Star
  • Published Monday, March 11, 2013, at 8:20 p.m.
  • Updated Friday, April 19, 2013, at 6:24 p.m.

Before he accepted the job as the Chiefs’ head coach, Andy Reid did a quick video review of his new team. The Chiefs won just two games in 2012, but what he saw wasn’t enough to scare him away.

“There’s a good nucleus of players here,” Reid said after he accepted Clark Hunt’s offer and had a chance to settle into his new job. “I believe that. It’s obvious that other people believe that, because they voted many guys into the Pro Bowl. It’s important that we continue to evaluate because while we have a good nucleus, we need to add to it.”

Though the Chiefs have been busy reworking their roster, the process can begin for real starting today with the opening of the NFL’s free-agent signing period. The Chiefs have already made a couple of key acquisitions, agreeing on a trade with San Francisco for quarterback Alex Smith and signing Dunta Robinson, an experienced player who could help in a variety of areas in their defensive backfield.

Their other major moves were internal. The Chiefs re-signed wide receiver Dwayne Bowe and punter Dustin Colquitt and effectively kept left tackle Branden Albert off the free-agent market by designating him as their franchise player.

The Chiefs also released three veterans: offensive tackle Eric Winston, tight end Kevin Boss and wide receiver Steve Breaston.

The result is a roster still in flux. Despite re-signing Bowe, the Chiefs are in need of another productive wide receiver. They could use a running back to provide relief for Jamaal Charles. And the release of Boss leaves the Chiefs with only Tony Moeaki at tight end.

On defense, the Chiefs are thin on the line, need a starter at one inside linebacker spot and could use more capable bodies in their secondary.

They probably won’t get around to all of this in free agency. But their goal is to reach the draft in late April at a point where they can select with the top overall pick the player they think has the most potential regardless of position.

“By doing the moves we did, it gives us great flexibility,” general manager John Dorsey said. “That’s first and foremost. We can do many different options as the league year begins and as free agency begins. It gives us options when the draft comes along.”

The Chiefs’ list of potential unrestricted free agents includes two starters, defensive lineman Glenn Dorsey and offensive lineman Ryan Lilja, though Lilja said at the end of last season he would retire.

The others are quarterback Brady Quinn; running back Peyton Hillis; tight ends Jake O’Connell and Martin Rucker; offensive lineman Russ Hochstein; defensive linemen Ropati Pitoitua and Shaun Smith; linebackers Edgar Jones, Brandon Siler and Leon Williams; defensive backs Travis Daniels and Abe Elam; and long snapper Thomas Gafford.

Defensive back Kyle McCarthy could be a restricted free agent and tight end Steve Maneri and offensive lineman Bryan Mattison could be exclusive-rights free agents, but only if the Chiefs make them minimum qualifying contract offers.

To reach Adam Teicher, call 816-234-4875 or send email to ateicher@kcstar.com. Follow him at Twitter.com/adamteicher.

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