The Kansas City Chiefs have yet to do much in free agency and now they have lost one of their most consistent players. The Carolina Panthers have swooped in and signed NT Ron Edwards to a three-year deal worth $8.25 million.
Edwards was one of the few players to survive the Herm-to-Haley conversion and was solid as a rock. He has played in all 16 games each of his five seasons in Kansas City and even at 32 Edwards had 32 tackles and the most sacks (2) since 2007.
His departure also begs the question: who will start in the middle of Romeo Crennel’s defense?
Aubrayo Franklin is still available, but Scott Pioli has shown he’s in no hurry to go out and spend a lot on one player. With so many teams having a ton of cash to spend, that could mean he isn’t an option for the Chiefs.
Even if the Chiefs are able to re-sign Shaun Smith, they will still need to find another veteran with more experience playing in the middle of a 3-4. But if Pioli felt just north of $8 million was too rich for Edwards, what will they be willing to spend on Smith?
One person to watch is sixth round pick Jerrell Powe. Chiefs fans have seen as much as anyone how rough the learning curve is along the defensive line, but Powe isn’t your normal rookie. At 24 years old, his body is much more developed than a lot of rookies two or three years his junior. It’s unfair to expect anything close to Edwars consistency, but he should be able to contribute.
All of a sudden, Crennel’s defense could find themselves with a leadership problem. Mike Vrabel and Edwards, the two most veteran starters, are gone and Tamba Hali — the unit’s best player — has still yet to sign his franchise tender, meaning there’s no way to know when he will make it to camp.