KANSAS CITY, Mo. — NFL free agency formally begins after 3 p.m. local time on March 13 and the Kansas City Chiefs almost certainly will be scouring the market for impact defensive players, but the teams has other needs and some players fit better than others.
Nick Jacobs and the 4th and 1 podcast crew are exploring the Chiefs' options in free agency at positions of need entering the 2019 offseason.
[Feb. 28 — Nick Jacobs: Chiefs' biggest offseason needs ]
[Feb. 28 — Tod Palmer: Chiefs' biggest offseason needs ]
[March 6 — Nick Jacobs: Free-agent defensive backs targets ]
[March 7 — Nick Jacobs: Free-agent edge rusher targets ]
[March 8 — Nick Jacobs: Free-agent linebacker targets ]
[March 9 — Nick Jacobs: Free-agent wide receiver targets ]
[March 10 — Tight ends]
[Gallery: Grading the Chiefs' use of the franchise tag through the years ]
While it's true the Chiefs don't necessarily need a tight end, the expected inflation of the wide receivers market could force Kansas City to look at the position as a way to enhance the overall offense.
Travis Kelce turns 30 years old in October and the team lacks a protégé behind him or injury insurance.
Here are some tight ends who could help create a mismatch in the offense and force teams to come up with a new gameplan rather than copying the New England Patriots' AFC Championship Game blue print:
TE Jared Cook, Oakland Raiders
Age (2019 season): 32 — Height: 6-5 — Weight: 254
Cook's price tag may be too rich for the Chiefs, but he was the Raiders' offense in 2018.
Despite his advancing years, he still had the athletic ability to gain significant separation from defenders. Cook was a mismatch for safeties and linebackers.
He and Kelce would cause some serious damage over the middle.
TE C.J. Uzomah, Cincinnati Bengals
Age (2019 season): 26 — Height: 6-6 — Weight: 265
Uzomah has the athletic ability to replace Demetrius Harris and complement Kelce. He attacks the football and has an impressive vertical to go up after it.
Additionally, Uzomah has good body control and looks comfortable running in the open field. He would be an immediate mismatch for linebackers and safeties.
TE Jesse James, Pittsburgh Steelers
Age (2019 season): 25 — Height: 6-7 — Weight: 261
James has experienced a lot of big moments in recent years. He is a reliable receiver and very athletic and explosive for his size.
On top of that, James is a really good blocker, but his biggest asset is his understanding of the voids in coverage and how to set them up along with attacking them. He already has experience in a high-octane offense.
TE Jeff Heuerman, Denver Broncos
Age (2019 season): 27 — Height: 6-5 — Weight: 255
Heuerman is a tight end who has some speed when he get free releases off the line of scrimmage, but he doesn't have the same top-end speed as Kelce.
He's also a solid blocker but not elite.
The options will be limited at the tight end position in free agency but the quality is there if the Chiefs are willing to pay. On Monday, March 11th, Teams can begin entering into contract negotiations with certified agents of pending unrestricted free agents whose contracts are set to expire on March 13th. Free agency formally begins on Wednesday, March 13th at 3:00pm CT.
Although it might be the offseason, you can listen to the "4th and 1" podcast each week with Tod Palmer and Nick Jacobs on iTunes [itunes.apple.com] , Stitcher , Spotify and TuneIn [tunein.com] . You can also find Nick on twitter @Jacobs71 .
You can also find all of the 41 Action News podcasts. including "The 41 Files" and "Chew Diligence" here: https://www.kshb.com/news/podcasts