The Kansas City Chiefs signed WR Sammy Watkins and LB Anthony Hitchens in free agency this week but they wanted to trade for both of them last year and tried to do so. Chiefs general manager Brett Veach spoke to the media on Wednesday and had a very cool answer, as in it’s cool that a GM is telling the fans more details about the trade process.
Veach was asked if they would have traded for Sammy Watkins if Alex Smith was still their quarterback. He said they probably couldn’t have afforded him. The reporter then asked if money weren’t an issue.
“It is interesting,” Veach said. “And we will talk about this tomorrow, but when I took over in July (after John Dorsey was fired), I got with (Chiefs director of player personnel) Mike Borgonzi and the first call I made was to Dallas about Anthony Hitchens.
“We went into last camp and there is only so much you can do once you get to July. It is here. What can you do? There is not a lot of space and rosters are set. I knew that Derrick (Johnson) was coming off another injury and just knew that we would have some potential depth issues and some issues up there.
“We went through all the teams that had linebackers with one year left on their deal. Those are teams that if they haven’t reached a deal with their player, they are on their last year so maybe they will move them. You have to resign them and it is always dangerous in free agency.
“So we identified the Christian Kirkseys, the Preston Browns, the Anthony Hitchens. But the first call we made as a new staff was to Dallas, Will McClay, and we wanted Anthony Hitchens, but they said they weren’t going to move him.
“Then we went on and a month later when it was made aware that Sammy was going to be dealt from Buffalo, I talked to (Bills GM) Brandon Beane about doing a trade. I remember being at St. Joe calling Brandon trying to get him there.
“Problem is, he wanted a (second round pick), and being a first year GM, then going into the draft without a (first round pick) or a (second round pick) I would have put myself in a bind. We offered a (third round pick) and it didn’t get it done. The Rams offered a (second round pick), but here we are full circle and the guys we signed were the guys, Anthony Hitchens who we called about first week on the job and then one of the first trade calls I made was to Brandon about Sammy.
“So, yeah, long winded answer, yeah. We would have liked to have had Sammy last year.”
So ... that answer is kinda awesome. That’s a lot of detail that I find really interesting in how the Chiefs approached this. I hope this level of detail and transparency will be part of the Veach regime.