In just a handful of moves this offseason, the Kansas City Chiefs have changed from a team that couldn’t buy a win to a team that is in win-now mode. After just two wins and a nightmarish season in 2012, the Chiefs are hoping to turn things around 180 degrees in just one year, as they strive to expedite the rebuilding process and become a competitive team in time for the 2013 season.
The first move they made was to make Andy Reid their head coach. Reid had just three losing seasons during his 14-year tenure in Philadelphia, so he’s not a coach that spends a lot of time rebuilding. He is a top coach that is used to being in the playoff hunt, so he is going to expect to win right away, and hiring him was the first sign that the Chiefs were going to go for it in 2013.
The next thing Kansas City did was to arrange a trade with San Francisco for quarterback Alex Smith. Instead of using a first or second round draft pick to take a quarterback that may or may not be ready to start in the NFL right away, the Chiefs went after the top quarterback on the trading block this offseason. Smith may not stack up well next to the elite quarterbacks in the NFL, but he’s been to a conference championship game and has proven that he’s capable of helping a team win football games. Moreover, Smith is a veteran that is still trying to live up to the expectations of being a number one overall pick, and he is running of time to do so. The window Smith has to win big as a starting quarterback isn’t that big, and since he isn’t considered the long-term solution in Kansas City, both he and the Chiefs have the mentality to win now following the trade.
Finally, with the moves Kansas City made earlier this week, it becomes even more obvious that the Chiefs are trying to make a run in the near future. The team opened up its checkbook in order to keep wide receiver Dwayne Bowe, who would have been one of the most sought after receivers on the open market. Bowe allows Smith to have a number one target to go to in the passing game and gives Reid a player to feature on offense. Giving Bowe that big contract allowed the Chiefs to use the franchise tag on starting left tackle Branden Albert, who will become Smith’s blindside protection and will remain an important part of the Kansas City offense, at least for another season. The payday for Bowe and the tagging of Albert are short-term solutions that further suggest that the Chiefs have short-term plans.
In addition to acquiring Reid and Smith and retaining Bowe and Albert, the Chiefs will return four defensive pro-bowlers and pro-bowl punter Dustin Colquitt. They also have a chance to add an impact player with the number one overall pick in the draft. By keeping the good players they did have and adding new people in positions that were essentially vacuums last season, the Chiefs are investing a lot into attempting a swift and drastic turnaround next season. Of course, whether it’ll work or not remains to be seen, but if nothing else, the new regime in Kansas City deserves some credit for having the guts to try.