Payzone asks a good question in the comments to this post: Now that Az-Zahir Hakim decided to go to the New Orleans Saints (although he reached an agreement with the Chiefs, he had not yet signed the contract), should the Chiefs go after a WR or a DT?
I'd have to say: In a perfect world, you would go for a DT.
Both areas are potential weak spots, true.
However, from the reports, it looks like they've decided to open talks with Freddie Mitchell again. That doesn't mean the coaches disagree with me as much as it means that you have to work with the opportunities you have, not the ones you want. If there were a good DT on the market who could be had for the veteran minimum, I think KC would be in contract negotiations. There are no DTs on the market of the same caliber as Mitchell right now.
The problem at DT is that we have no obvious top-tier players (much less anyone pushing for a pro-bowl slot). Lionel Dalton (despite playing well last year) is aging and historically has been only journeyman level. Ryan Sims has never played to his potential and is on the verge of being a bust. John Browning is decent, and has the additional strength of being able to play every position along the DL, but isn't really starter quality. Unless Ryan Sims finally steps up this year, the best prospect KC has at DT is Junior Siavii, a player who showed flashes of dominance last year as a rookie. He missed the mini-camp last year due to Oregon's late graduation date, and was injured later in the season by a Denver Bronco cheap shot. Normal progression would indicate he should be at least a solid starter this year. But "normal progression" indicated Ryan Sims should have played in two pro-bowls by now, so I don't like to trust that idea. Maybe improved play by the DEs and LBs will mean that we mainly just need bodies to occupy blockers at the DT position? I don't know. I'm worried about being soft against up-the-gut, line-plunge runs by big backs. DT is the one position KC hasn't addressed in any way...sure, you can't take care of everything, and DT may be the least vital position. Here's hoping.
The problem at WR is that we haven't had a true #1 WR, a go-to guy, for years.
Johnnie Morton was supposed to be that for us...but never really got there. He eventually became a pretty good 3rd-down receiver who moved the chains (reminding me somewhat of Henry Ellard), but his drops, lack of speed, and inability to make defenders pay for triple-teaming Tony Gonzales on 1st and 2nd down made him expendable for his salary levels, and he refused to restructure.
Kennison is excellent. He's got speed, and has decent hands and runs decent routes. But he's not that tall, and as has been pointed out, he doesn't make the tough catch. He's often a non-factor on many plays, and like Morton, isn't enough of a threat to make teams pay for focusing on Gonzales. And yet he still got 1000+ yards last year. Imagine what he could do if paired with a true #1 receiver!
Now, the problem isn't that we don't have other talent. The problem is we don't know what we have. We have a few candidates for #1
Mark Boerigter looked ready to take over the #1 spot last year, before being sidelined with a knee injury. Tall, strong, fast, he had 8 TDs as a rookie on only 20 catches! But is he fully recovered from his injury? Or will a year of rust cause him to revert to his 2nd-year level, in which he had no TDs on only 11 catches?
Samie Parker came on strong at the end of last year. He's got speed, runs crisp routes, and makes tough catches, even over the middle. But he's a little short (5'11"), and has only NFL catches.
Craphonso Thorpe is tall, fast, and good hands, but is coming off of a disappointing senior season after recovering from a badly-broken leg...but is that due to a reduction in his ability or sub-par QBs? Even if the latter, can he get used to NFL speed quickly enough to contribute this season? If he can contribute, could he become a starter? If he becomes a starter, can he become a true #1? That seems too much to ask.
I'm still a fan of Chris Horn, but despite developing, he's unlikely to rise higher than #3 or #4 on the depth chart. Richard Smith is still improving, but from an undrafted Rookie FA, #3 is about the highest that could be expected. Jerys MacIntyre apparently blossomed in NFL-E, and John Booth also did well, but coming from the NFL's minor league, I doubt they can be any better than a #3 WR. Nathaniel Curry is apparently tearing things up in OTAs and Training Camp, but as another undrafted Rookie FA, he'll be lucky to make the team. Dante Hall is the classic #3 WR, but they want to limit his snaps.
Add all that up, and it means we have two #2 WRs (Kennison and Parker), a couple potential #1s that will probably perform as #2s at best (Boerigter and Thorpe), and a whole host of guys trying to win the #3 or #4 post.
The thing I find intriguing about Freddie Mitchell is that he was a first-round draft choice who never met his potential. But he was playing with a QB who wasn't necessarily the classic pocket passer with pin-point accuracy (like Trent Green is). McNabb is obviously quite good, but won games with his ability to innovate, scramble, and make stuff happen himself, not necessarily helping his WRs excel. Mitchell may blossom in a different situation, with a coach like Vermeil (who can resurrect careers if the player is committed) and a QB like Green. If he signs, and if he blossoms in the new environment, he has the talent to be a true #1, someone who can win games almost by himself. If the Chiefs can get him at the veteran minimum, it's worth the gamble to shore up one possible weakness. But if they don't get him, there is enough developing talent on the team that I'm not that worried. And Kris Wilson is probably the talent that's going to punish opponents for keying on TG, anyway, not the WRs.
Bottom line: Freddie Mitchell is the best player available at the best price. Even if DT is a more pressing need than WR, you work with what's available. And that's Freddie Mitchell right now.