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Chiefs make cap-clearing move on trade deadline day; AFC loads up

Rashad Fenton is now a member of the Atlanta Falcons.

Kansas City Chiefs v Indianapolis Colts Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images

Tuesday’s NFL trade deadline day has come and gone — and it passed with only a single additional move from the Kansas City Chiefs, as they sent cornerback Rashad Fenton to the Atlanta Falcons in exchange for a conditional seventh-round pick.

The deal saves the Chiefs $1.4 million in cap space, according to NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero.

Fenton, 25, was drafted by the Chiefs during the sixth round of the 2019 NFL Draft. He heads to the Falcons having appeared in 47 games (16 starts), accumulating 20 passes defensed, two interceptions and 123 tackles (95 solo). The top three Chiefs cornerbacks now project to be veteran L’Jarius Sneed, rookie first-rounder Trent McDuffie and rookie seventh-rounder Jaylen Watson.

The Chiefs traded with the New York Giants for Kadarius Toney last week.

Here were the noteworthy moves of deadline day around the league:

  • Pass rusher Bradley Chubb and a 2025 fifth-round pick were traded from the Denver Broncos to the Miami Dolphins for running back Chase Edmonds, a 2023 first-round pick and a 2024 fourth-round pick.
  • Just before the deadline, the Indianapolis Colts traded running back Nyheim Hines to the Buffalo Bills in exchange for running back Zack Moss and a conditional sixth-round pick in 2023.
  • The Bills also acquired safety Dean Marlowe from the Atlanta Falcons in exchange for a seventh-round pick.
  • Pass rusher Jacob Martin and a 2024 fifth-round pick were traded from the New York Jets to the Denver Broncos for a 2024 fourth-round pick.
  • Pass rusher Roquan Smith was traded from the Chicago Bears to the Baltimore Ravens for pass rusher AJ Klein and 2023 second and fifth-round picks.
  • Wide receiver Calvin Ridley was traded from the Falcons to the Jacksonville Jaguars for a 2023 conditional fifth-round pick and a 2024 conditional second-round pick.
  • Cornerback William Jackson III and a future late-round pick were traded from the Washington Commanders to the Pittsburgh Steelers for a future late-round pick.
  • Wide receiver Chase Claypool was traded from the Steelers to the Bears for a 2023 second-round pick.
  • Tight end T.J. Hockensen was traded from the Detroit Lions to the Minnesota Vikings for a 2023 second-round pick and a 2024 third-round pick.

Post-deadline takeaways

NFL: MAR 01 Scouting Combline Photo by Zach Bolinger/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

There had been some recent noise that the Chiefs were connected to pass rushers such as Brian Burns of the Carolina Panthers and Josh Allen of the Jacksonville Jaguars but ultimately, obviously, no trade ever materialized there.

With the Fenton move, we now estimate that the Chiefs have approximately $4.2 million in 2022 cap space, according to estimations from sites such as Spotrac and Over the Cap. Though the new space did not make a big acquisition impossible, it would still have been difficult.

The estimated cap hits for Allen and Burns, for example, would have meant general manager Brett Veach and his team would have had to be creative. It is also likely that both players may have required not only significant draft capital (apparently the Panthers turned down two first-rounders), but also new deals, like the Dolphins are reportedly working on with Chubb.

In the end, this meant the Chiefs possibly overpaying in their mind — in both draft compensation and actual compensation. So they stood pat.

What makes deadline day intriguing is that the rest of the AFC did not. The Dolphins are officially going for it; they added Chubb. So are the Ravens, who acquired Smith. Even the Bills made what would be considered a minor move, with Hines now behind Devin Singletary as a pass-catching back.

As the Cincinnati Bengals look lost after their Monday night loss to the Cleveland Browns — and even with the Bills defeating the Chiefs mere weeks ago — many of these deals translate into ways to beat Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs. Kansas City added Toney to its offense because it was affordable and they love his potential, but that move certainly feels more about 2023 production than 2022.

In the end, the Chiefs are 5-2, and though they aren’t adding to their current roster via an external acquisition, they are due to get healthy contributors back after the bye: rookie first-round cornerback Trent McDuffie and underrated pass rusher Mike Danna. Tight end Blake Bell is expected back at some point — and we’re still in we’ll-see mode on offensive lineman Lucas Niang.

Do the Chiefs still have enough to win the AFC?

Las Vegas still thinks so (the Chiefs are still the second-favorites to win the conference). But if a team like the Dolphins somehow matches up with the Chiefs in the postseason and pulls off an incredible upset, we may revisit this day.

But for now, the Chiefs are still mostly in the driver’s seat, watching afar for a Buffalo slip-up or two while taking care of their own business over the next 10 weeks.


Would you have liked to see the Chiefs make a significant deadline-day move?

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