Chiefs adding Stanford Routt makes sense

Is Stanford Routt a better player than Brandon Carr?

It depends on whom you talk to and what you want from your cornerback. Routt is 28 and Carr is 25 and both are considered high-level No. 2 cornerbacks. The Carr-Routt debate really is a matter of preference, but I can see why the Chiefs chose to go with Routt as their new No. 2 cornerback to pair with No. 1 starter Brandon Flowers.

By signing Routt, who can play man-to-man defense, the Chiefs took care of one of their two biggest questions in free agency on Monday. Kansas City’s top free agents are receiver Dwayne Bowe and Carr. The Routt signing, of course, means Carr will be walking as a free agent.

Routt signed a three-year deal worth $19.6 million with Kansas City, bypassing offers from several other teams. Last year, Flowers signed a five-year, $52 million deal. Carr will likely get in the $7-9 million range in free agency. There is no way the Chiefs will pay three cornerbacks premium money.

By choosing Routt over Carr, the Chiefs also solved another problem. There was a question whether the Chiefs, who are well under the salary cap, would give the franchise tag to Bowe or Carr. Now, they can give Bowe the franchise tag to keep him off the open market with Carr no longer being a priority.

Starting free agency with a player of Routt’s caliber and securing Bowe would be a great start for the Chiefs.

I give Kansas City general manager Scott Pioli a lot of credit for making this move. Routt will fit well with Flowers, and I expect him to be closer to the player he was in Oakland in 2010 than the 2011 version. Routt was solid as the No. 2 cornerback to Nnamdi Asomugha. But after Asomugha went to Philadelphia in free agency last season, Routt struggled as the Raiders’ No. 1 cornerback. He had 17 penalties and gave up eight touchdowns, which was tied for the most in the NFL by a cornerback last season.

Routt, who signed a huge deal in Oakland last year, was cut by the Raiders earlier this month. Playing opposite Flowers should help Routt, and I think he will fit in well in Romeo Crennel’s defense.

The Chiefs have a young, exciting roster and the resources to get better this offseason. By signing Routt, they have a fine head start on becoming a better team in 2012.