Because he was released from his contract, the former Raider cornerback Stanford Routt was the first big free agent to hit the open market. Routt is coming off a disappointing season in his first year as the top corner on the Raiders' roster, but he is still a talented player and can really thrive when he is not forced to cover the opponet's top receiver every game.
The Raiders thought Routt would emerge as an elite corner after Nnamdi Asomugha's departure, and paid him like such. Stanford never quite played on that level, and was thus a causality of thee new-look Raiders front office that is determined to rid the franchise of its bad contracts. Even if Routt played at a high level, there would have been a good chance he was let go because of the horrendous cap situation in Oakland.
For the Chiefs, this move makes a lot of sense. With on cornerback spot held down by Brandon Flowers, Brandon Carr's eventual departure via free agency gives Routt a great opportunity to step in and be a number two corner, which is a position in which he has proved to be very effective in the past.
The Chiefs are also known to use a high amount of man coverage, which is just another reason as to why Routt will be able to step in and produce right off the bat. The Raiders probably have used more man to man concepts than any other team in the league over the past few seasons.
When you compare the production of Brandon Carr and Stanford Routt in 2011, Carr may have been the better player. But Routt was in the more difficult position with worse players around him in the secondary. To me, Routt is the superior talent and should experience a boom in production and efficiency in 2012 in Romeo Crennel's defense.
Rather than spending top dollar for Routt's services, the Chiefs are able to get him for just under seven million per season. For comparison, that is the same ballpark as someone like Antonio Cromartie makes, who is probably a slightly better player. Unlike the deal he signed with the Raiders, the value is fair for both sides.
When you look at this Chiefs defense with Routt in the fold, they have a good chance to become of the best in the NFL next season. They will be getting their budding star at safety, Eric Berry, back after spending nearly the entire season on injured reserve. They have their edge rushers in Tamba Hali and Justin Houston, and a tackling machine in the middle in Derrick Johnson.
The real question for the Chiefs will be whether or not they can survive the transition of Romeo Crennel becoming head coach. Without him calling all of the plays or being as hands-on as he normally is, can Kansas City still be good on defense?
We will find out the answer to that question when the season is underway, but for now, this Chiefs defense looks about as good as any in the NFL on paper.