John Dorsey hasn’t wasted any time since he was hired to replace Scott Pioli as the general manager of the Kansas City Chiefs, making a series of bold moves to shore up the roster.
Dorsey said in a phone interview with The Associated Press late Wednesday that the decision to sign wide receiver Dwayne Bowe and punter Dustin Colquitt to long-term deals, and place the franchise tag on left tackle Branden Albert, are all part of a plan he set out upon his arrival.
“We have some talented players on this roster,” Dorsey said. “We’ve been able to retain them because it made sense from an organizational perspective. This was the way we felt it made sense to move forward to the next phase of the plan.”
Dorsey wouldn’t discuss the next phase of the plan, of course.
He’s holding his cards close to the chest when it comes to the NFL draft, where the Chiefs have the No. 1 pick, and unrestricted free agency, which begins in earnest next week.
Along with the moves announced earlier this week, the Chiefs have also sent their second-round pick and a conditional choice next year to the 49ers for quarterback Alex Smith, and were able to restructure the contract of defensive end Tyson Jackson to free up salary cap space.
Dorsey couldn’t comment on either of the moves because the new league year doesn’t start until Tuesday, but he did acknowledge strides have been taken to help solidify the team.
“All along, I think from an organizational perspective, we said we were going to create a plan, develop a plan, and these just happen to be the first details of the plan,” Dorsey said.
The biggest move may have been to sign Bowe, whom the Chiefs franchised last season, to a five-year, $56 million contract that reportedly includes $26 million guaranteed.
The first-round pick of the Chiefs in 2007, Bowe has already become one of the most prolific pass-catchers in team history. He’s started 82 games over the past six seasons, with 415 catches for 5,728 yards and 39 touchdowns — 15 coming in 2010, when he made the Pro Bowl.
Colquitt, who made his first Pro Bowl last season, signed a five-year deal worth $18.75 million, making him the highest-paid punter in the league, while Albert received the franchise tag and will make $9.828 million — unless the two sides work out a long-term deal for him, too.
“I mean, when you get in that type of situation, and you have talented players like that, it almost does become a puzzle,” Dorsey said, “and you figure out the best way to retain the assets of those players. And we thought many hours and many days how best to do this.”
There are still plenty of moves to be made — it’s almost a certainty that quarterback Matt Cassel will be released — but the Chiefs now have some flexibility as they begin discussing free agents and consider what to do with the most valuable pick in the draft.
Dorsey spent much of Wednesday in meetings as the Chiefs hammer out their next step.
The longtime Packers executive, who helped put together some of their most successful drafts, said all the moves he’s made since taking over as GM wouldn’t have been possible without support from Chiefs owner Clark Hunt, who has said he’ll take a more hands-on role with the team.
It was Hunt who landed former Eagles coach Andy Reid to replace the fired Romeo Crennel in January, and who managed to lure Dorsey to the Chiefs when he had turned down other suitors.
“Let’s not forget about ownership, the ability of Clark to give us resources to make these types of moves,” Dorsey said. “When you have ownership the likes of Clark Hunt, that’s why guys come to organizations like the Chiefs. It’s because of owners like Clark Hunt.”