It was a bittersweet day Tuesday for the Kansas City Chiefs.
It was a day where the Chiefs locked up All-Pro safety Eric Berry for most likely the rest of his career, while bidding adieu to perhaps the greatest Chief running back in history in Jamaal Charles.
The Chiefs really had no choice but to overpay for Berry. With Tamba Hali and Derrick Johnson on their last legs and perhaps not with the team next year, the Chiefs needed their heart and soul back. Berry is one of the best in the business and while he has definitely lost a step, maybe two, he makes up for it with cerebral play and a knack for coming up with the big turnover.
The Chiefs defense needs an infusion of young legs. They are old at linebacker and the defensive line has injury questions. The secondary wasn’t anything to write home about last year, but did get the stops when they needed to.
As for Charles, it was a no-brainer. Let’s face it, the running back position has been de-emphasized in the NFL over the last several years and the Chiefs already have shelled out a pretty penny for Spencer Ware, and have Chardandrick West and Knile Davis still in the fold.
Charles is 30, which by NFL standards is ancient. He’s had two torn ACLs and can’t handle a heavy workload. He supposedly is getting healthier and probably has a couple of productive years left. But the Chiefs, given their dire salary cap situation, can’t afford to have two well-paid running backs.
Charles, when healthy, was as electric of a running back as there’s ever been in the NFL. He averaged more than 5 yards a rush in his 9 years with the Chiefs and had great hands out of the backfield, something I think the Chiefs never took full advantage of. I’m sure there could be a healthy debate about the best Kansas City running back between Charles and Priest Holmes, but I’d take both of them on my team.
The Chiefs got back to the top of the AFC West this season, but they probably will be supplanted next season by Oakland and if Denver gets its quarterback situation squared away, it could drop the Chiefs to third. Kansas City has a more difficult schedule next year since it won the division and it’s a team that is trying rebuild on the fly. And there’s always the question whether or not Alex Smith is the quarterback that can get the Chiefs to the Super Bowl, but there’s really not many others out there the Chiefs want or could afford.
It should be an interesting year in KC to say the least.