News broke on Friday that the Kansas City Chiefs had made yet another offseason trade before the league’s offseason had truly even begun. After dealing starting quarterback Alex Smith to the WashingtonRedskins, the Chiefs have now agreed to trade star cornerback Marcus Peters to the Los Angeles Rams.
Chiefs head coach Andy Reid and general manager Brett Veach are obviously trying to re-make the franchise’s image after multiple failures during Reid’s tenure in Kansas City. The first step was moving on from the team’s starting quarterback of the past five seasons (the aforementioned Smith), then cutting ties with one of the best linebackers in franchise history (Derrick Johnson) and now trading a star who expressed himself a little too much for a conservative owner’s (and fan base’s) taste.
On the face of it, this trade seems dumb. But is it truly a dumb trade?
Let’s break it down by asking and answering a series of ten questions and then tallying up the score.
Question 1: Did the Chiefs Trade a Knucklehead?
Undoubtedly. Peters’ three years with the Chiefs will be remembered just as much for poor judgment as much as it will be for his great playmaking abilities. Peters could suppress a team’s best wide receiver just by lining up against him, or he could wreck the opposing quarterback’s day by intercepting a couple of passes on any given Sunday.
But he didn’t like to tackle, he committed some costly personal foul penalties, he left the field when he shouldn’t have, and he jawed with coaches a little too much.
A sub-question here is, was this all a surprise to the Chiefs? The answer there is: no, or at least, it shouldn’t have been. He faced the same types of issues while playing college ball for the Washington Huskies to the point that he got kicked off the team. Yet, his talent was so great that the Chiefs still spent a first round pick on him.
Regardless, Marcus Peters was indeed a knucklehead.
Tally: 1-0, Not Dumb
Question 2: Did the Chiefs Trade a Player in His Prime?
They sure as hell did. Peters just turned 25 last month and just completed his third season in the league. He’s played a possible 45 of 48 games. In that time, he intercepted 19 passes (two of which he returned for touchdowns), forced 5 fumbles, and recovered another 5 fumbles (one of which he turned for a touchdown).
He definitely improved from his first year to this second, and played stellar ball again in his third year. (He was 2nd Team All-Pro in 2015, 1st Team All-Pro in 2016.) Plus, he’s still on his rookie contract, so not only is he in his prime, he’s also relatively cheap.
Question 3: Did the Chiefs Trade From a Position of Strength?
To clarify, by “position of strength,” I mean the actual position. So, here, cornerback.
And the answer is no, the Chiefs did not trade from a position of strength. Had the team kept Peters, in 2018, the Chiefs would have had their top three cornerbacks be Peters, Kendall Fuller (acquired in the Alex Smith trade), and newly signed David Amerson.
But now, without Peters, it will be Fuller, Amerson, and some combination of retreads to the likes of Steven Nelson, Phillip Gaines, and Kenneth Acker.
Certainly, Eric Berry returning from injury will help the Chiefs secondary as a whole, but this trade is a big punch to the team’s depth and talent at cornerback. Peters-Fuller-Amerson was much more exciting and trust-worthy than Fuller-Amerson-Nelson/Gaines/Acker.
Tally: 2-1, Dumb
Question 4: What did the Chiefs Get Back in the Trade?
Right now, nothing has been reported, but speculation runs rampant. While the Chiefs landed a player as part of the return package in the Smith deal, that doesn’t appear to be the case here. This will be more along the lines of draft picks.
The Rams own the 23rd overall pick in the draft. The team does not have a second rounder, and its third rounder is somewhat late in the round.
The Chiefs must acquire the Rams first rounder for this deal to make any sort of sense for Kansas City. If it doesn’t, as at least one blog posits, then this trade a) won’t make any sense and b) shift this answer to “Dumb.”
But right now, the overwhelming feeling is that the Chiefs will get that first round pick. So, for the time being, this is for the “Not Dumb” category, subject to change.
Question 5: How Much Money Did the Chiefs Save?
With the prevailing thought that the Chiefs will only receive draft picks from the Rams, and not another player (which would mean more salary), then the Chiefs will save $1.71 million while eating $1.3 million.
So, even though the Chiefs won’t be saving a ton of money, relatively speaking, combined with the other compensation, this is “Not Dumb.”
Tally: 3-2, Not Dumb
Question 6: Did the Chiefs Get Stronger at Any Position?
No, they didn’t. The team targeted Robert Quinn, a defensive end who will be 28 at the start of the 2018 season, and who racked up 8.5 sacks last year (down from 19 he recorded in 2013). But the Rams said no.
Los Angeles Daily News
Which probably isn’t that bad of a thing, even though the Chiefs have struggled with the pass-rush recently.
Still, the Chiefs didn’t upgrade at any position through this trade. It may with the draft picks received, depending on what they are, but right now: a strong no. Which is dumb.
Question 7: Did the Chiefs Trade Peters to a 2018 Opponent?
Yep. Though the date hasn’t been set, the Chiefs and Rams will square off in Mexico City sometime in 2018. Pat Mahomes, beware.
Kansas City Chiefs
Tally: 4-3, Dumb
Question 8: Did the Chiefs Trade a Player Who Otherwise Would Have Been In Kansas City for the Next 5-6 Years?
As soon as the trade was reported, one report came out wherein Peters allegedly requested a trade after the team’s playoff loss to the Titans. Then, there was more Twitter chatter about how Peters made it known he would not be re-signing with the Chiefs after his contract expired. In both instances, he wanted to get closer to his hometown of Oakland.
Kansas City, it should be noted, is not near Oakland.
Question 9: Did the Chiefs Trade a Clubhouse Cancer?
Whoo, boy, what an ugly term: cancer. Very rare is the athlete that is truly a cancer in the clubhouse. While Peters may have rubbed some guys the wrong way, it would not be fair to describe him as a cancer.
And while he may not have tackled as well as some would have liked, and he may have had his moments on the field (See, Question 1), a majority of his teammates had his back, and some have expressed their dissatisfaction with this trade.
He was not a clubhouse cancer. But this question is a wash. It’s not like Peters was a team leader, either.
Tally: Still 4-4
Question 10: Was This Trade Politically Motivated?
Oh, my God, of course it was!
Teams don’t trade players who are stars, at any position, for being knuckleheads, to teams that they’ll be facing, especially if that player is on a cheap deal, trading him saves little money, the guy was not a clubhouse cancer, and the trading of that player makes the team significantly worse at his position.
The ultimate reason for Peters’ trade is fairly obvious: he was one of many athletes across multiple sports who knelt or otherwise protested during the National Anthem before a game (or games). That did not sit well with Clark Hunt, the team’s owner, or a loud minority of the team’s fans. It may not have even sat well with Reid or Veach.
Thus, Peters is traded to Los Angeles, the Chiefs save a few bucks, get worse at cornerback while strengthening a 2018 opponent but appeasing many fans who just couldn’t take someone using his publicity to take a stance that was opposite of theirs.
Perhaps a better way to appease an agitated fan base would have been to stick with the league’s best cornerback in an attempt to win the Super Bowl.
Tally: 5-4 Dumb.
Verdict: The Chiefs Trade of Marcus Peters is 55.5% Dumb.