Both Denver and Kansas City have made strong plays in the free-agent market, while the Raiders and Chargers are looking for some bargains because of salary-cap restraints.
Some thoughts I have regarding the AFC West after this signing:
Great passing-game battle twice a year: The Smith signing gives the Chiefs a cornerback trio of Brandon Flowers, Dunta Robinson and Smith. Robinson, signed Friday, will likely play a lot of nickel and could play safety in some situations.
I asked Matt Williamson of Scouts Inc. if this is the best trio of cornerbacks in the NFL. This is what he had to say: “What stands out right away is just how physical these three are. Flowers certainly can mix it up versus the run or pass. Smith is gigantic and can really bang receivers around in press and through the route. Robinson is a big hitter who is quick to insert in the run game and throw his body around. I see Robinson in somewhat of a Charles Woodson cornerback/safety hybrid -- and he could do that very well. I wouldn’t say that overall this group has great speed, but it is tough to come up with another cornerback threesome that is their equal off the top of my head.”
Of course, the Chiefs finalized this group after Denver sealed what is likely the NFL’s best receiving group when it added slot star Wes Welker to its already effective duo of Demaryius Thomas and Eric Decker.
So the NFL’s best receiving trio will face perhaps the league’s best group of cornerbacks twice a season. How fun is that going to be?
Don’t call it a dream team: Detractors are comparing the Chiefs’ offseason to the “dream team” new Kansas City coach Andy Reid assembled two years ago in Philadelphia. The Eagles spent wildly and it didn’t work. This is different: None of these deals is out of whack. The Chiefs are spending smart and building a roster -- doing it the right way.
Raiders can get a solid cornerback: The Raiders were the last team to drop out of the Smith sweepstakes before the Chiefs signed him. There are still some good cornerbacks out there; Oakland’s pursuit of Smith shows that it is open to spending big on a cornerback despite other needs.
Smith connection in Kansas City: One of the reasons why Smith was attracted to Kansas City was the presence of former NFL player Al Harris on the Chiefs’ coaching staff. He was on the Dolphins’ staff last season with Smith.