Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

20 Feb 2012

Chiefs Sign Stanford Routt

Adam Schefter is reporting the Kansas City Chiefs signed free agent cornerback Stanford Routt, formerly of the Oakland Raiders. The deal is apparently for 3 years, $20 million dollars. Routt also visited the Bills and Bengals. My assumption is Brandon Carr is now virtually a lock to hit free agency and Dwayne Bowe may get the franchise tag.

Posted by: Tom Gower on 20 Feb 2012

36 comments, Last at 22 Feb 2012, 6:15pm by speedegg


by sswoods (not verified) :: Mon, 02/20/2012 - 3:24pm

As a Chiefs fan, I hate this move. Absolutely hate it. I thought Routt sucked in Oakland, he was a match up I looked forward to in Chief games. I do think Carr is going to be over-valued, but I'd rather overpay Carr than have Routt on my team as anything other than a third corner. Now ... if the Chiefs plan on bringing back Carr also and making them compete, I'd completely change my take on it. But I don't think that's happening.

Please, Pioli, don't make me a Bronco fan.

by buzzorhowl (not verified) :: Mon, 02/20/2012 - 4:41pm

I have no allegiances anywhere in the AFC, and I totally agree with you. This seems like a serious downgrade.

As a Redskins fan, though, I would love to see my team sign Brandon Carr. So I'm kinda OK with it.

by The Hypno-Toad :: Mon, 02/20/2012 - 7:14pm

"Please, Pioli, don't make me a Bronco fan."
For your sake, don't let Pioli drive you to that extreme. The Broncos are essentially unwatchable.

by speedegg :: Mon, 02/20/2012 - 4:36pm

As a Chargers fan, I'm shocked. I thought the Chiefs would re-sign and develop their in-house talent and continue the Flowers-Carr duo.

As a starting corner, I thought Routt was overrated, but maybe the Chiefs saw something that fit their scheme.

by MC2 :: Mon, 02/20/2012 - 5:14pm

It's possible that they may try to resign Carr and emulate the Jets (or the Eagles). It's not a terrible strategy, given the importance of being able to stop (or at least slow down) the passing game in the modern NFL.

Having said that, $20 million over 3 years seems like an awful lot to pay a nickel corner.

by sundown (not verified) :: Mon, 02/20/2012 - 5:43pm

If that is their thinking, I've got to seriously question that strategy given the division they play in. They always say you need to build your team to win its division and Denver and Oakland are both top 10 rushing teams and Denver was 31st in passing last season. If the rest of the division looked like the Chargers, then maybe. But when stuffing the run is the first order of business against 2/3rds of your division, I'm not sure how much help it will be to have a top-flight third CB.

by ChicagoRaider :: Mon, 02/20/2012 - 7:35pm

I think the real key here is that KC gets to franchise Bowe. That is probably more important to KC than the difference between Routt and Carr. After all, what do you want to bet that Carr turned down the contract Routt got?

by BroncosGuyAgain :: Mon, 02/20/2012 - 11:35pm

While I would disagree with this strategy, I would even more vehemently disagree with a strategy of tailoring a roster for the division. While winning the division is an important first step, no really competitive organization has the goal of merely winning a division. Also, the strengths and weaknesses of teams within a division are somewhat happenstance; the strengths and emphases of a given team can change very, very quickly.

The roster should be built to maximize win potential in a football game. Whether or not my arch-rival is run-oriented is immaterial.

by ChicagoRaider :: Tue, 02/21/2012 - 12:27pm

While I would not tailor a team in the sense of putting my strength there, I would certainly avoid weaknesses that are going to be exploited four or six times a year. There was a day that Oakland and KC had to deal with Tony Gonzalez and Antonio Gates for four games a year. Making TE coverage one of the team's weakest points would have been stupid, as would have been making it a team specialty.

by Kyle D. (not verified) :: Tue, 02/21/2012 - 1:31pm

"Merely" winning the division guarantees not just the playoffs, but a home game in the playoffs. That's how success is defined and that's what keeps coaches employed. Ignoring the matchups with the teams that make up a large chunk of your schedule is not a recipe for success. If you play have four games a year vs. the Packers and Lions, you've got to be far better prepared on the coverage side than the Chiefs need to be at this time.

by Dave0 :: Tue, 02/21/2012 - 2:06pm

I think this is a lot more true in baseball than football. You play half your games in-division and you have to make the playoffs before you can even be considered likely to play against the mythical "better than league average in every way so don't bother roster tailoring" team.

by tuluse :: Tue, 02/21/2012 - 2:20pm

One, 6/16 is not half.

Two, I think roster construction in football is mostly about building as strong a team as you can than worrying about what your opponents will do.

by Kyle D. (not verified) :: Tue, 02/21/2012 - 9:09pm

He's referencing baseball and he was trying to agree with you.

by Aaron Brooks Go... :: Tue, 02/21/2012 - 10:42am

Oakland went 6-0 in division two years ago and still missed the playoffs.

by Kyle D. (not verified) :: Tue, 02/21/2012 - 1:10pm

I believe that was the only time in history that had ever happened.

by Aaron Brooks Go... :: Tue, 02/21/2012 - 4:21pm

The point is that it *has* happened. You need to do more than win your division. It's also rare in NFL history that a division was as weak as the 2010 AFC West.

by Kyle D. (not verified) :: Tue, 02/21/2012 - 8:59pm

Yes, and motorcyclists wearing helmets sometimes still die in crashes. Does that mean wearing a helmet is pointless? It's a known fact teams gear up to best compete in their divisions. If you're going to argue they're wrong to do so, them go ahead and lay out the case as to why. But finding a single example of something failing doesn't prove anything.

by Aaron Brooks Go... :: Wed, 02/22/2012 - 9:27am

Alright, I'll lay this out slowly.

The original argument was about tailoring your team specifically to your division, and totally ignoring the construction of the rest of the league. Much of this line of argument has pointed out that in the NFL, only 6/16 games are intra-division. I pointed out that Oakland, who used this strategy in 2010, managed to go 6-0 against the AFC West (against whom they were designed to beat),1-9 against everyone else (against whom they were not), and missed the playoffs. (Alas, they were not in the NFC West)

Contrast this with the NYG, who went 3-3 against the NFC East in 2011, 10-4 against everyone else, and won the Super Bowl.

by Kyle D. (not verified) :: Wed, 02/22/2012 - 12:19pm

The argument as I read it never mentioned totally ignoring the rest of the league, it only noted that teams tend to build themselves to match up well within their divisions since (shockingly) those games make up a significant percentage of their schedule. For some crazy reason, coaches and GMs who need to produce wins immediately to keep their jobs like being competitive against the opponents they play multiple times every year.

Obviously, everybody wants to build the strongest overall team possible, but there are a thousand different ways to get to that goal and that's a subjective goal on top of it all. Everybody would love to be deep at every position, but that's not realistic. If the Chiefs were playing the the Packers and Lions four games every season, then a great third CB would make a lot more sense than who they do currently play. They're not exactly loaded across their lineup, so I'd argue that would be a poor use of limited resources.

by sundown (not verified) :: Wed, 02/22/2012 - 1:42pm

Well, the original argument was mine and I never intended to suggest that only divisional games mattered, only that they were an important consideration. I was replying to someone who referenced the Jets and Eagles who employed the strategy of having a top-shelf third corner. I'd argue that both of those teams need one much worse given who they play than the Chiefs do. I'd also argue that their strategy doesn't really look to have been all that successful. The Jets signed Cromartie and their defense overall declined this past season. The Eagles improved some into the top 10 against the pass, but was that enough of an improvement to justify the cost? At least the Eagles play in a very pass-heavy division. But John Fox is never going to go pass-happy with the Broncos and the Raiders can be scary-good running the ball. Given limited resources available, is a great third corner really what the Chiefs most need? I'd say no.

And I'm not sure you're drawing the right conclusion from your Giants example. Coughlin was on the hot-seat about halfway through the season based largely on how poorly they'd played within the division. The headlines really started coming down hard on him coming off their home loss to the Eagles quarterbacked by Vince Young. That dropped them to 1-2 in the division including an early loss to the Redskins. To make the playoffs, they had to sweep the Cowboys by beating them twice over the last month of the season. That's another reason divisional matchups are so important because not only do you play those teams multiple times every year, but winning them assures movement in the standings as your rival can't keep pace by beating somebody else.

by ChicagoRaider :: Wed, 02/22/2012 - 4:16pm

Oakland followed a beat-your-division strategy? How? That team was built for a running game on offense and a pass rush on defense. And the choice of running game was made by the players available for the team. It may have turned out that way, but I don't think it was "design."

by sswoods (not verified) :: Mon, 02/20/2012 - 11:23pm

The more I think about the way the Chiefs do things, the way they've drafted in recent years, and recent events, the more I start thinking that they aren't going to franchise Bowe either. I know that sounds insane, but at this point I would be the only person in America who wouldn't be surprised.

The Chiefs have the cap room to keep both Carr and Bowe. This is not a decision of either/or.

by BroncosGuyAgain :: Mon, 02/20/2012 - 11:34pm

I agree. The decision on Bowe is simply a decision on Bowe. Bowe is a nice player, but its not like the Chiefs would be devastated by his loss. The franchise decision on Bowe is, simply, "what is this guy worth to us?". It is not a given that the Chiefs have to franchise one of their big name guys. If, in their view, the money does not equate to the value, it is their prerogative to let all one or any go.

by Kyle D. (not verified) :: Tue, 02/21/2012 - 1:18pm

Is Bowe one of the top 5 receivers in the league? Because franchising him gives him that kind of money. I think it's rather funny how guys get upset about being franchised, because frequently they make out far better than they probably should because of it.

by tuluse :: Tue, 02/21/2012 - 1:33pm

It's not that simple. It's about long term committed money. In a multi-year deal Bowe will easily get 20-30 million guaranteed. With a franchise tender, he's looking at about 9 million.

by zach (not verified) :: Tue, 02/21/2012 - 5:42pm

dirty secret patriots darfting has improved exponetially since pioli left

by Passing Through (not verified) :: Tue, 02/21/2012 - 12:08am

Niner/UVA fan here. No affiliation with the AFC West (except for the brief Montana thing). My two thoughts on this deal are:

1. The Chiefs have raided the only NFL-quality corner that I know of on the Raiders. Seems like a good way to build your team if your objective is to win the division.

2. 3 years for $20M seems like a LOT for a 3rd corner (Chefs would probably start Arenas and VT-alum Flowers, right?). Especially after watching the niners pay $6M for Carlos Rodgers and Dashon Goldson together.

Other thoughts: Bowe isn't worth a franchise pick. And my head would explode if the Pats got Brandon Lloyd. They're like the new Miami Heat: all of the washed up stars go there to win a ring.

by Eggwasp (not verified) :: Tue, 02/21/2012 - 10:48am

Well, the Chiefs haven't raided Oakland for Routt, Oakland didn't want him. And with good reason at that price. Nnamdi leaves town and we become one of the worst pass defenses in the league despite so-called talent on the DL (hmmm...). And few offenses had reason to throw Stanford's way last year given the collection of rookies & past-it veterans who were on the other side. I guess your stats don't look so good when you don't qualify for as much safety help cos the shutdown guy on the other side has left town.

Routt's not awful but he's not worth the money Al paid him last year. Of course, better some NFL quality CBs than none, but I'm hopeful the FY11 class will have some talent - Al knew how to find CB talent till the end. I disagree with Al that it was the best way to build a defense from the sidelines-inwards. I would far rather we spent money on Mario Williams or Carr/Finnegan etc.

by Jimmy :: Tue, 02/21/2012 - 2:40pm

I don't think that it helps that they probably have the heaviest linebackers in the league (despite playing mostly with a 40 front - or they did when I watched them) and none are much use in coverage.

by BucNasty :: Tue, 02/21/2012 - 12:16pm


by Theo :: Tue, 02/21/2012 - 7:01pm

The "." is new to me.
Is that a shorter version of "period" that people say when they state their opinion as a fact?
Example: x is the best ever, period.

by Dean :: Wed, 02/22/2012 - 12:25pm

I was thinking it was either him being too lazy to type "+1" (which in turn is being too lazy to actually contribute anything other than shorthand) or he had a post he wanted to delete so just replaced it with a period.

by Matt Malek (not verified) :: Tue, 02/21/2012 - 1:29am

If My Lions Signed Routt for 6 Mil plus a year I would probably have had a nervous breakdown. My guess is that Carr wants 8-9 a year. Is he worth 2-3 mil more than Routt? Ahhhh.....YA. But hey 3 Million got a player like Stephen Tulloch last year. Maybe 2 for 1. I would not be happy as a Chiefs fan. Wow.....to be a Lions fan and feel sorry for another team. Amazing. Maybe 2012 is the end of the world.

by Displaced Bolthead (not verified) :: Tue, 02/21/2012 - 12:19pm

I think Pioli let his ego smacked his common sense around. Just don't see the logic behind this based on performance, why break up the dynamic duo?

On the other hand, is Carr a problem in the locker room? Is he worse than Cromartie? If he isn't worth the problems, let him go, but I have my doubts.

Wonder if the Chargers would be interested in Carr.

by Dave0 :: Tue, 02/21/2012 - 2:08pm

Carr would make a great addition so I don't think AJ is interested.

by speedegg :: Wed, 02/22/2012 - 6:15pm

OMG, +1.

Seems so true in the last years of AJ's regime.