The Kansas City Chiefs picked up wide receiver Jason Avant one day after losing to the Oakland Raiders on a Thursday night. It can easily be viewed as a response to injuries building in the Chiefs receiving corps, but there is more to this signing. The signing isn’t altogether surprising, but what is confusing is why this signing didn’t happen several months ago.
Avant is not a life saver for the Chiefs, but he’s better than A.J. Jenkins. He’s better than Junior Hemingway. And he’s better than the other young Chiefs receivers (right now). To be fair, I might not go as far as to say he is better than Donnie Avery right now. It is hard to ignore a lack of production by Avant this year. We can find excuses for him such as a struggling Carolina Panthers offense and the fact that he has not started a game yet this season, but he’s also only caught 50% of his targets (Edited Note: @TerezPaylor tweeted out that Cam’s accuracy to Avant has been “all over the place” and that Avant has typically made the catches he should). Still, he’s better than all of those other guys (outside of maybe Avery) right now. Here is the thing though: He was better than all of those other players when he was available 5 months ago too.
After the Chiefs receivers struggled last year, it seemed logical that they would upgrade at receiver. It also seemed likely Avant was a possibility based on his experience with coach Andy Reid during his time with the Philadelphia Eagles. Not only did the Chiefs not sign Avant, they made no moves at the receiver group (minus a failed attempt at signing Emmanuel Sanders). The Chiefs needed to make a move and they did not. Why?
Why do it now? Is it because of the injuries? It makes sense that they made the move due to this reason, but AJ Jenkins did not need to go on IR (why is he still here?) and Junior Hemingway has only been targeted 21 time this season. So I am not buying that this signing is based on the injuries. Last night I wrote that the Chiefs had to stop ignoring their weaknesses (http://www.chiefs360.com/2014/11/21/this-wasnt-a-trap-game/). I believe this is the Chiefs acknowledging this and admitting that they made a mistake not adding to this position in the offseason.
This is promising. This also is not the first time John Dorsey has admitted to a mistake. This really is something new to this organization. Hopefully this means that the wake-up call the Chiefs were handed by the Raiders last night will not be ignored. Hopefully we will see more of this. Hopefully this means the end of the Ron Parker experiment at corner. This is not to say that fans should expect wholesale changes and that a cornerback signing is imminent or necessary, but the Chiefs brass are clearly awake now.