Being secretive and cryptic seems to be the standard for NFL front offices and coaching staffs. Coaches spend entire press conferences trying to say as little as possible to avoid giving away any of their game plan. General managers deliberately lie about their draft strategy to confuse other teams.
That is... except for Kansas City Chiefs general manager Brett Veach. Since March 23 — when the team traded wide receiver Tyreek Hill to the Miami Dolphins — Veach has made his approach to the team’s roster construction incredibly obvious.
The Chiefs have been telling us what their plan was since the Tyreek trade.Get younger, get cheaper and get long term control.— Price Carter (@priceacarter) November 1, 2022
Toney is the only player traded this deadline who best fit all those pentameters. They have lots of space and picks for 2023. OBJ still in play too…
What we saw around the league’s trade deadline proved yet again that Veach has a long-term plan in place — one that he won’t compromise for any individual player.
What is the plan?
In terms of roster construction, the Chiefs are currently in rarified air. There are several teams that are paying big money to quarterbacks who are at the tail end of their careers — such as the Denver Broncos, Green Bay Packers and Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Other teams are still benefitting from quarterbacks who are still playing on their rookie deals — or their final inexpensive year. These include the Dolphins, Los Angeles Chargers, Buffalo Bills and Cincinnati Bengals. Kansas City is the only team that is paying top money to an elite quarterback who is still in his prime.
This puts the Chiefs in a position where they sometimes seem to be a step ahead — or at other times, a step behind. During free agency (or at the trade deadline) it can feel like Kansas City is falling behind other more aggressive franchises — simply because the team isn’t making big splash signings or trades.
But the 2022 draft was the most active and engaging the Chiefs have had they drafted Patrick Mahomes. The Chiefs’ plan is simple: get younger, get cheaper and have long-term control. If a player doesn't fit some of those parameters, they aren’t likely to be a part of Kansas City’s plan.
After the acquisition of wide receiver Kadarius Toney from the New York Giants — and trading cornerback Rashad Fenton to the Atlanta Falcons — the Chiefs' 2022 roster is mostly set. Heading into next year’s NFL Draft, Kansas City is projected to have 12 draft picks — along with $25 million in cap space and the ability to free up a lot more with a few moves.
But the team’s future isn’t about going all-in during any one year. Instead, it’s about trying to get as many rolls of the dice as possible. In how many years of the New England Patriots’ dynasty were they truly the NFL’s best team? Maybe half of them? The last Super Bowl was a great example of the two best teams failing to make it to the final game of the year.
With the arsenal of resources the Chiefs have at their disposal, they have the option to make big moves. As some of the other key players in the AFC are busy paying the check on their quarterbacks or expensive free agents, Kansas City is locked and loaded to be a big player.
The future for the roster is bright. Veach has proven that he can move on from star players like Hill (and safety Tyrann Mathieu) and rebuild through the draft. Mahomes has proven that he can elevate players around him.
Though it can be frustrating to see other teams make big moves at the trading deadline, just remember: Kansas City’s long-term plan remains in place.